Hr and L&D teams working collaboratively to develop a skills strategy

Webinar: Mind the gap: aligning HR and L&D for better skills development

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Mind the (skills) gap: aligning HR and L&D skills-development strategies through technology

Skills development and talent retention are major (and often disconnected) discussion points across organisations of all sizes, in every industry. With increasing resignations, ‘quiet quitting’, and a labour market grappling with hard-to-fill vacancies, businesses need to seek innovative and effective ways to develop and retain their people.

Could the solution to these challenges be closer collaboration between HR and L&D teams?

Discover the possibilities behind an aligned skills strategy, and explore how HR and L&D teams can work together to improve employee engagement and retention.

You can look forward to discovering:

  1. The state of skills strategies: where have people teams traditionally focused?
  2. What does the ‘people strategy of the future’ look like?
  3. Technology’s role in synchronising HR and L&D skills strategies

Hosted by LMS sales manager, Andrea Matkin, and Digits’ head of learning, Bradley Burgoyne, this promises to be an insightful webinar with ideas to guide your people strategy, and the people behind it.



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Webinar transcript


Bradley Burgoyne, Andrea Matkin, Cathryn Newbery, all Ciphr Group/Digits

Cathryn Newbery: 00:00
Hello and welcome to today's webinar hosted by Digits: "Mind the (skills) gap: aligning HR and L&D skills-development strategies. I'm Cathryn Newbury and I'm head of content here at Digits. I'm joined today by my colleague Andrea Matkin who's head of LMS sales, and Bradley Burgoyne who's head of talent here at Ciphr group. Welcome, Andrea and Bradley. It's great to have you with us today. Especially since it's such a hot topic today - Bradley, you were just saying that to us offline, that this is something that you're dealing with day to day in your role here at Ciphr Group.

Bradley Burgoyne: 0:33
Absolutely. And I think every peer in my role is dealing with the same challenge. So really looking forward to going through this webinar today.

Cathryn Newbery:
If you're new to Digits, a little bit about us to begin with: Digits is a digital learning provider of LMS and bespoke learning content, and with more than three decades of experience in the industry, our award-winning LMS, Digits LMS, is used by household names such as B&Q and Kia. And we also create bespoke learning content for a range of clients. Digits became part of the Ciphr Group in 2020. And here's our agenda for today: we'll look at how L&D strategies are changing, six reasons for HR and L&D professionals to work together. I'm conscious that we have a mix of HR and L&D professionals on the call today. So it's great to have you on with this. We'll also look at technology's role in synchronising HR and L&D strategies, and ask: "Can your LMS help you deliver a strong people strategy?" Finally, at the end, Andrea and Bradley will be taking your questions. So if you have any questions for them, please send them in using the control panel that you'll see on your screen. This webinar is being recorded and the recording will be sent to you automatically.

This webinar marks the launch of a new report from Digits with the same title, "Mind the (skills) gap,” you can download that from the webinar control panel right now. Or you can go to the landing page on our website, which is at's packed full of expert insight. And we'll dive into the themes that we talked about today in a bit more detail. So do take a look at that and download your copy. Before I hand over to Bradley and Andrea, I just want to kick us off with a poll today. What's the status of your skills strategy? Would you say that technology is essential to delivering your skills strategy, you'd like to make greater use of technology to deliver your skill strategy. You perhaps you have a skills strategy, but technology doesn't play a role yet in it. Perhaps you've started creating a skills strategy, but haven't implemented it fully. Or you don't have a formal skills strategy at all. So Bradley, we talked about how skills as at the front of everyone's mind at the moment, and from your experience talking to peers - where are organisations tending to be at in these points that we're talking about here?

Bradley Burgoyne: 02:50
Having attended lots of the Learning Technology forums recently, many of the conversations we were having were people are at the point where they don't necessarily have the technology or the tool to support them. They have the plan and the strategy in terms of where they want to take it. And then now we're looking at what tools are out there to support me in building and delivering my skills strategy. Many organisations have the plan, but they don't necessarily have the complementing tool to enable them to deliver it.

Cathryn Newbery, Ciphr: 03:24
Okay, fair enough. So we're going to share the results now. So 30% of you joining us today for that technology is essential to delivering a skills strategy. It's great to see that so many of you are sort of at the vanguard of using technology. 20% would like to make greater use of technology to deliver their skills strategy. And around a third actually don't have a formal skills strategy at all. There's a few of you that have some work to do probably in the coming months as we kind of start to address those skills gaps that we're seeing within organisations. That's all really interesting stuff. I am going to hand over to Bradley now to take us through the first portion of our presentation looking at how L&D strategies are changing.

Bradley Burgoyne: 04:06
Thank you, Cathryn. So yeah, let's start with that question of “How are L&D strategies training changing?” And I guess to get a clearer picture of where L&D is heading. Let's just take a quick look at the current state of kind of workplace training as it exists today. So these statistics that you see up here on screen, they'll give you a good sense of the L&D industry today and the extent to which our hard work in this space is paying off. So let's start with that first one there — over 40% of workers seriously considering leaving their jobs in the following 6-12 months. That's reported by Microsoft in 2021 Work Trend Index, and a trend that I'm sure most employers have felt as we've gone into 2022. Reporting on skills vacancies in the financial services sector, a 2022 Financial Services Skills Commission report found that it can cost up to £50,000 more to fill a vacancy than to upskill and retain an existing employee. At a time where costs, all costs are rising, not just for businesses, but personally, that's money that you can ill afford to spend. Meanwhile, there's evidence that training isn't being made available to all workers of all demographics. A third of over 55s have not had any formal workplace training in the last 10 years according to a study, that was a recent study last year by City and Guilds group. So guess if we used to take these steps as a whole, they kind of suggests that the answer to our question in terms of “how much is our hard work paying off?” is a bit of a resounding no, really, because training strategies on this evidence that just not working. And I guess what we'd like to explore is why is that, and what's causing that underlying issue? That would differ from organisation to organisation, I guess. But some common causes could be insufficient training opportunities for colleagues. I guess that the over 55s category in this survey evidence is that we all know that we have certain vacancies that are hard to fill, which puts pressure on hiring teams. And therefore and you know, we're providing limited voluntary L&D opportunities. The effects of decades of having limited or in some cases and non-existent training. We know through these tough times that budget restrictions can kick in. And also time restrictions is there's more pressure put on colleagues across the organisation.

So we've nearly half the workforce contemplating their resignation, and another half having missed out on a decade worth of training, and the cost of filling vacancies now more than double the annual living wage in London (which is £23,300 as of September) - it's the perfect storm for a major skills deficit unless we act now.

So plainly put, I guess the answer to “Is our strategy working?” plainly put is “no.” Existing training strategies are not working and L&D plans that don't involve some elements of skills development are just not going to cut it in the current economic climate, labour markets, or in the skills market as we move forward. So that's, I guess, a little bit of where we are today. And that's why we've seen savvy, switched-on organisations switch their L&D focus from the must-haves of health and safety and compliance to offering real value-added learning activities that give employees the opportunity to grow and develop without having to go out and always find new employees for those gaps that open up those job vacancies that open up. And organisations are looking beyond just mandatory and compliance training, which is always going to be needed. But organisations are looking beyond that as to how they can improve the employee experience. Creating a real ‘pull’ towards learning by offering relevant training and meaningful career development opportunities is where those real opportunities lie as we move forward. And creating a culture of learning is the foundation of talent retention. A study released earlier this year by LinkedIn found that 72% of organisations are currently focused on skills development, and a further 45% said they wanted to focus on leadership and management training. In fact, research into skills in the workplace carried out by Digits in 2022 revealed that leadership is one of the most important skills for managers to possess. So while there's a big focus on and need for upskilling, soft skills development remains a crucial part of L&D. So where does that focus on skills come from though, and what's driving this?

Skills development has the power to completely transform L&D, but it's hard - it's not easy. A robust workplace training programme that incorporates skills development can have multiple benefits. So you can see them up here on the screen in terms of it creates internal career development opportunities, which really helps us you to retain the top talent within your organisation and saves the cost of hiring and training new workers, whilst keeping you competitive in a very, very volatile labour market that we experience today. And there's going to be with us for the foreseeable future. It means that we can attract skill seekers - workers who are actively looking to work in organisations where their professional development is prioritised and valued, will be attracted to organisations that have a robust learning curriculum, and they put that at the core of their strategy. This type of employee can be absolutely invaluable. Constantly looking to upskill, constantly looking to develop. We all want that type of person working within our team, someone who's always looking to push themselves.

A great workplace culture can be hard to cultivate. LinkedIn Workplace Learning report of 2022 cited “opportunities to learn and grow” as the number one driver for a great workplace culture. So it really is important to say colleagues across various organisations, it seems almost too good to be true. Is it that easy to attract and retain top talent and create a great work environment? All we need to do is offer skills development.

But there are some notable challenges L&D teams face. And if we can tackle those, a robust skills strategy can become all the more achievable. So let's look at some of those challenges that we may well face. Hiring strategies have been forced to shift to more of a focus on retention, which was very much prompted by the ‘great resignation’. As more and more workers leave their current roles, HR teams are forced to prioritise filling vacancies, a very reactive approach to the ongoing issue.

Let's delve into why are these people leaving, and what can be done to keep them on board. More money is one option, but as I'm sure many of us have experienced - that that's not sustainable in the long term, we can't just keep increasing base salaries or bonuses.

Another far more viable option is to offer skills development opportunities. You know, how many times have you yourself saw a new role because you wanted a fresh challenge? And are we as the organisation providing those fresh challenges to our people? Identifying skill gaps on an individual and company level can be time-consuming, it can be a big task creating competency frameworks to base these skill gaps on. Here at Digits, when we speak to our clients and customers, they share that creating those competency frameworks in the first place can be the biggest barrier they have to getting into the skills gap analysis piece that needs to follow. Knowing who needs training is only the first step; delivering the right training, at the right time, in the right format, adds another layer of complexity. But since we know that watching online videos is now the preferred method of learning for those aged 18 to 54, closely followed by online learning courses, could technology hold the key to all of this?

Solving the challenges can't be the sole responsibility of a single department. HR and L&D teams have unique objectives and insights into their remit; joining these two functions together will shape the “people strategy of tomorrow”. It's so important HR and L&D are working hand in hand on this, but they all need the help of the fourth point on your screen to the right - ‘technology’.

Digital learning technology provides opportunities for personalisation, microlearning, and mobile learning as well as tools to help people and teams refine and develop their overall training and skills strategy. So now we have a better understanding of how L&D strategies are changing - let's move on to consider how HR and L&D teams can work more closely in achieving a watertight skills strategy, and how the right technology can make all of that possible.

Let's look at the six reasons why HR and L&D must work together. Reason number one: you'll retain and attract top talent. ‘Buying’ in talent is unsustainable right now, it's so competitive and it's only going to become harder in the months and years ahead.

How HR teams can provide the competency frameworks needed for skills gaps analysis, and you can uncover a literal world of possibilities here identifying underutilised strengths and skills in your existing workforce and highlighting critical skill gaps in the short and long term.

Develop robust succession plans to ensure continuity regardless of the economic climate, and create a skills development plan that allows your top talent to progress their careers within your organisation without ever needing to look elsewhere.

Reduced talent management costs - spending a fortune hiring, training and paying top dollar for key positions. Rather than putting a proverbial plaster over the problem, a collaboration between HR and L&D teams can get to the root cause of those issues.

HR can make more strategic hires to move the organisation closer to its key objectives. Rather than frantically hiring to plug vital roles, L&D can use HR-provided insights to shape skills development plans, and both teams can work together to provide tangible career development opportunities to newly up-skilled and cross-skilled employees.

You'll achieve your strategic goals. We briefly touched on this in the previous point. By eliminating the hiring crisis, you can free up valuable time within your team to formulate better plans to align your people with your business goals. A clear career pathway with real development opportunities to advance colleagues’ careers is one of the most reliable ways to encourage your employees to develop their skills and put them to use where they're needed within your organisation.

Your employees will be happier. Employees want to feel valued, they want the chance to shape their careers without needing to look outside of your organisation. Providing these opportunities to learn and grow, and providing real career maps not only fosters great workplace culture, but also enhances employee happiness. Happy employees are more conducive to helping and building your great employer brand, demonstrating innovation, which can really move you closer to your strategic goals.

And of course, the most important thing, it helps them stay within your organisation for longer. Your employee brand will improve. People speak to each other, and to other businesses to friends. Are you making sure that they are saying something good about your organisation? Improving career prospects for your employees will enhance engagement and create a better employee experience. While this is a less tangible metric, it's worth an awful lot. You'll benefit from a competitive edge. It goes without saying that you're only as good as the people that you have, and more innovation, skills, and more innovative thinking from motivated employees equals a better product or service offering.

By proactively developing your people and their abilities, you can place yourself in a pole position to outperform competitors.

This all sounds great in theory, but realising these benefits will absolutely require the right technology. Let’s take a look at the role of tech in aligning your HR and L&D teams, and how it can help you identify and plug skill gaps across your organisation.

I'm going to hand over now. To discuss technology’s role of all of this, I'm going to hand it over to my colleague Andrea, who will talk to you about that.

Andrea Matkin: 19:03
Great, thanks for that, Bradley. So lots of really interesting insights there that set the scene a little bit about the importance of focusing on skills areas, and thinking about having the right technology which is going to be really crucial in making or breaking that skills strategy. It very much is a critical component that forms the foundation of every aspect of your skills plans. This could be anything from identifying those skills gaps to recommending learning to the right employees at the right time. And then, of course, the all-important monitoring of their development and tracking that progress. An LMS with the skills gap analysis functionality can really leverage those competency frameworks to intelligently identify the skills your people need to develop, where they might be skill gaps, and also underutilised skills - which is just as important - and where you then need to focus on improving skills moving forward across your workforce. Not only does the right LMS help you to bridge that skills gap, but it also expertly bridges the gap between HR and L&D.

So as we've seen that it's really important to have that collaboration in place. Having that sort of data transparency, that access, and more importantly, the relevance of learning, some of the key features of a modern LMS that can really help inform and shape those skills strategies more effectively.

The ability then also to integrate your LMS with other key software, including your HR system can ensure that data integrity is key across every stage of that employee lifecycle. So we're going to have a look at a few more of these bits a little bit more closely now.

How can a modern LMS help? Well, not only will a good LMS provide a great user experience in terms of functionality and design (that's kind of a given these days), but it also provides that better employee experience overall. Integrating your LMS with your HR software can provide incredible insights, it helps shape how you upskill and promote your employees. But it can also allow that frictionless experience. Single sign-on (SSO) means that there are fewer barriers to success for employees, they can simply log on and get to all those sorts of training opportunities that you've made available to them straight away.

We hear a lot about creating a learning culture by embedding it into the every day or into the ‘flow of work’ - you've probably heard that term quite often lately. By making learning fun and functional, by making that access easy to both voluntary training, as well as mandatory training, and rewarding skill seekers that Bradley was referring to before, you can be using things like gamification techniques, which include badges, leaderboards, rewards, that can then invoke a healthy sense of competition, but also enhance learner skills and provide that motivation that some learners might need.

Think about those levels of expertise that you have across your organisation as well. How can you share that through social learning interventions, fostering peer-to-peer connections based on mutual interests, as well as providing coaching and mentoring opportunities which will ill allow your subject matter experts to share that knowledge with their fellow employees and make sure that there is that wealth of exchange across the entire workforce?

Having unparalleled data and insights provided by sophisticated reporting and analytics functionality can also help you assess the success of your training programmes. This will help you make more informed decisions on future learning activities, and also provide that really meaningful information to your C-suite who are looking for more demonstrable ROI, looking at that impact of learning, and looking at how this is actually benefiting your organisation moving forward.

I speak with clients every day. A lot of the HR practitioners I've spoken to have mentioned how cumbersome competency frameworks can be, they are a bit of a beast to set up, but they're so powerful once they're in place. So rather than depending on disjointed, or clunky legacy systems, an LMS can allow you to upload those documents, so you can really make them quite powerful and use them to shape skills development plans; it kind of does the heavy lifting for you, essentially. It can help you identify easily which skills are abundant, and which perhaps are lacking. And you can then start drilling that down on an individual, across a team, or even across your organisation just to see where the main priorities might need to lie.

By having those tools at your fingertips can then free up all that time that you might normally be spending on that admin of actually trying to dissect that information to really focus on the more important tasks, which is bridging those skill gaps and looking at the strategy moving forward.

So, an LMS can obviously be used as a standalone product, but it can also be used in conjunction with your existing people software. Some of the most popular integrations with LMSs can often be with your HR system, as well as communication tools like MS Teams and other systems across the organisation. Having these integrations linked up with your HR system is going to be critical for data accuracy. Being able to automatically set up profiles in your LMS, manage your audiences via their training groups/roles/business functions, so that they get access to the right training at the right time, but also have a seamless user experience across your communication tools like MS Teams or Zoom.

You can set up virtual workshops easily. You can mark attendance automatically, those kinds of things save a bit of time. But it's not just about HR software and communication tools. What’s critical when it comes to integrations is that your organisation will potentially have a wide-ranging ecosystem of platforms, technology platforms and services that could really benefit from integrating with your LMS.

These could include things like MI tools such as PowerBI, so referring back to that ROI point, have a think about calibrating some of your training results and data with other business metrics - that could be customer NPS scores, it could be quality metrics, it could be sales results, and so on, to see how impactful that training is.

To really content consistently sort of reinforced the value of the training, you can also think about linking up with your Active Directory to facilitate seamless secure logins and data feeds. You just continually add that layer of quality to the employee experience as well. And then in terms of demonstrating that value of learning - that is going to be really critical and ongoing, so obviously, there's a big piece when you're looking at any sort of new systems and looking at putting that investment in place.

Measuring that ROI, making the case for why this is valuable, and measuring the metrics that matter once you've got solutions in place is critical. That could be looking at everything from engagement rates – are my employees actually engaging with this? Are they embracing the learning? Are they getting value out of what we're putting out there, both in terms of the delivery of the learning, but the learning itself, you can be looking at completion rates, you can be looking at scores progression, and that kind of thing, as well. So there's lots of metrics in there that it's going to be up to you to decide which ones are going to be most important for your business.

Having more comprehensive data has the power, then to inform those strategic decisions that goes without saying that, but, you know, I think it's useful to remind us of how powerful having that data at your fingertips is not only just to kind of support your learners across the organisation, but also to demonstrate that that return on investment, which we've seen time and time, again, can be a bit of a blocker for L&D teams who know the value of having a good learning suite in whether you know, in content, but it's kind of convincing the business to get that investment. So having that data to kind of back you up is going to be really key.

Then finally, just having an array of robust data can help prove that worth of learning. So highlighting that retention, increasing productivity amongst your employees, and making sure that that learning is landing and being impactful to deliver on your business objectives moving forward. So data is obviously a big key thing. And that's a scenario that can help L&D and HR teams work collaboratively to deliver on those business goals.

But if we return back to the concept of the competency frameworks that we were talking about earlier, as well, this is another tool, obviously, that's going to help identify their skill gaps, and do that analysis to understand where further development might be needed.

So are you already using those frameworks? If not, there are some really compelling reasons to use them. So they can be crucial in helping your organisation to identify their skill gaps and uncover those hidden talents. Like we've mentioned before. These can also then help to shape and inform your skills development strategy, which can lead into all those wonderful things that Bradley was talking about earlier in terms of talent retention, talent, attraction, motivation, productivity, all that great stuff that can come out of those development plans.

It can help you to mobilise your talent as well during difficult times such as restructures, and you know, the elephant in the room - a lot of organisations are going through this at the moment within the current climate. Restructures are becoming more and more common, but you’ve still got a job to do you’ve still got a business to run. How can you redeploy those skills across your workforce, and still give people the opportunity to progress their careers within your organisation?

By identifying staff with those transferable skills that can be redeployed to alternative roles, can actually open up opportunities in challenging times. Those frameworks can also help you to retain that top talent by creating clear career maps, as we talked about earlier, and through delivering more relevant and timely training. Giving employees that vision of where they can progress within your organisation will give them motivation to continue with you to stay loyal and build their skills with you and work towards greater goals in their time with your with your company.

As I said before, competency frameworks are quite a beast. How do you go about creating them? They need to be guided by business objectives, first and foremost. And then used as the foundation of conducting those skills gap analyses, your LMS can also help you gather and analyse the data you generate through these exercises.

A competency framework; what exactly is it? It broadly describes performance excellence within an organisation. These frameworks will usually include specific competencies that are applied to a variety of roles. And depending on what's relevant for your organisation, these frameworks can be based on different types of competencies, which could include core competencies, specific, leadership, and meta competencies. So what's right for your organisation and the specific functions within your business will of course vary. It’s up to you to make these relevant to your context. You can see on the screen, there's a short link there to one of the CIPD resources. So that's a good starting point, if you haven't really thought about, you know, building, building the frameworks just to give you a bit of an idea of where to start and how to start building those.

Andrea Matkin: 29:57
So, how can technology help you leverage those competency frameworks?

Using an LMS, such as what we have in Digits here, it has an in-built skills analysis tool that can help you identify those skill gaps to enable talent retention in a competitive labour market. You can create really clear competency frameworks for key roles, a big project and yourself like we've talked about but a vital foundation for analysing skills and competencies across your organisation.

There's a variety of tools there to assess the skill gaps, which include 180-, and 360-reviews. So you then get an objective view of where the skill gaps and talents lie as well as providing a bit of a compass, that conversation starter for those kinds of reviews, one-to-one meetings that a person might have with their manager. The powerful bit is when you can start connecting this to training interventions to facilitate enrolled development.

This is where you can highlight where their skill gaps are, use the LMS to automatically recommend some of those training interventions, and then use that not even just for enrolled development, but it could be for succession planning, so give someone the framework for the next step up in their career, see which areas they're strong in and see which areas they might need to work on. And that then starts to form the basis of their development plan to ready themselves for that next step in their career. But equally on the flip side, it could be used for a performance improvement plan as well. So it gives us really nice tangible, objective results that can you know, sort of help an employee understand where they need to improve, what's the next steps for them, and what kind of training is going to be most relevant to help them to get where they need to be.

By comparing these analyses periodically to track development, whether they be quarterly or annually, depending on the pace of your business and requirements can give you that sort of ongoing view of you know, how an employee is progressing, and helps them to take a bit of ownership of their learning as well.

So if we just have a very quick example, one of our customers - The Telegraph - has used the skills analysis previously. They created a unique competency tool that enabled The Telegraph to assess their employees’ skills, and recommend learning for career development based on that competency framework. So after piloting the new tool, The Telegraph asked the apprentices to rate their experience of CareerBuilder overall, and they received really positive feedback. There was real engagement from this from the get-go because the apprentices could see the value of the information that they were getting as a result of participating in this exercise. The feature enabled learners to request reviews and gain feedback from their colleagues for either 180- or 360-reviews was particularly valuable, with 80% saying that the career insights were applicable to their day-to-day job.

Having that relevance was so key as part of that exercise. Any good LMS will also have an important role to play in your career mapping and succession planning activity. So we've talked about that briefly, you know, giving those sort of competency frameworks for that next step up, showing where the gaps are. So anything you can do to empower your employees to explore those progression pathways will really help increase that staff retention and create sort of long-standing careers within your organisation. So having an LMS that link to your skills analysis tool, and the outputs makes it really easy for the employees then to engage with relevant training, but also for those HR and L&D teams to collaborate on succession planning, and have the data at their fingertips to help them make those right decisions for what support is needed.

We've gone into a lot of detail about how technology can help HR and L&D has great skill strategies that future proof their organisations. The question now is, do you have the right LMS in place to support these activities, and help you achieve your goals? Here are some of the prompts to think about when considering if your system is right for you.

Does it push out engaging relevant learning at the right time to the right people cannot help you report on that tangible activity and data to inform your next steps and strategy easily? Automation is key. Can it automate a lot of processes and notifications to help reduce admin and provide more time for those productive tasks? And can it also highlight areas for development to inform talent retention and succession planning strategies? The ability to provide to future-proof your workforce to weather those ongoing changes is also critical. Is your LMS flexible enough to enable you to do that? Can it help your employees explore new opportunities as and when they need to? And ultimately, does it motivate your people to learn? If the answer of to one or more of these questions is no, then it might be time to explore a different solution.

Remember, not only do you want to find the right platform you also need to find the right vendor to work with. Do they understand your skills development needs and your organisation and your goals? Will they work with you to bring your vision to life and realise that to deliver the best impact for your employees? If you need more help deciding if it's time to switch around the mess download our free guide using the address on this screen. It's also available on the webinar control panel. And I'm now going to hand back to Cathryn now for a quick recap. Thank you.

Cathryn Newbery, Ciphr: 35:09
Thanks so much, Andrea. Great. Let me just offer up that recap. So just want to go over a couple of the key points because we've covered a lot of ground in the past 40 minutes. And now is the time though, if you have questions for our experts, then the menus in the control panel on your screen, and we'll get to those in a moment once I've just gone through this slide.

So essentially, the point where I've been today is that there's never been a more important time for HR and L&D teams to work together collaboratively. We've seen that people's strategies evolved, they are less focused on compliance and more about value added learning. The shift to a digital first approach to learning is well and truly underway, and there's no signs of slowing down. There's also a greater focus on talent retention and recruitment. The benefits of HR and L&D teams working collaboratively to develop skills required for the future of work are far reaching great technology we believe what underpin this successful collaboration.

These include things like integrations to boost efficiency of skills, gap analysis tools are especially critical. Be honest with yourself, is your LMS working with you or against you. That's the question you need to think about today. But more insight, I've heard from Digits about skills gaps and how to plug them, you can download the full report, which covers the things we've spoken about today in more detail using this the address on your screen now, which is picked up these last Digit skills, it's also available in the Control Panel, and after this webinar will send out a recording of the broadcast. And that email will also have all of the short links that we provide to you today. So you can go back and download any of the guides that we've talked about or access to case studies, for example. And so that's all of our slides for today. Thank you for being so attentive, it's now time to send your questions in if you have any.

We’ve covered a lot of ground today. And it's a big challenge for organisations that haven't really started looking at skills strategy, and probably other time professional like, what's the one starting point for that is if you've got nothing in place yet, and you don't have an understanding of what your individual skills or team skills are like?

Bradley Burgoyne: 37:28
I think I think the number one starting place is asking “Do you understand your organization's key objectives over the next 12 to 24 months?” Because without that understanding, you don't know what direction to start going in. So first and foremost, what wat are the key objectives? What's the organisation trying to achieve? And then it's, it's getting out and doing that analysis of every role within the organisation talking to people managers, really getting a thorough understanding of based on those key objectives is everyone in my organisation equipped with the skills, knowledge behaviours for the organisation to go and achieve those key objectives? And that's, for me, that's kind of the starting point. Because otherwise, there are so many different frameworks, there's so many different competencies that you could pick. But it's about understanding where your organisation is at before you can start applying the appropriate skills framework and competency framework for your business.

Cathryn Newbery:
Given that organisations can be so large and so complex, and this, this type of project takes a lot of time and energy, is there a case for doing like a pilot and starting small and working within like a specific team or department? Or is it something that really needs to be done on a broader basis?

I've seen both approaches work. And I think that's going to be very contingent on what comes back once you've done that analysis of your business. So you may well find that actually, broadly, all of your teams are in a really good place. And that might give you the confidence to kind of go more company-wide. You may also find that there's pockets there might be particular pockets where there's a challenge and that maybe is a test case to go right let's do we start with those pockets first and get something that's working because that's where the more urgent need is, I guess the challenge is, if you look across your organisation, and the whole thing is the particular challenge that may then start to be well, where do I start with this? And, you know, I'm always in favour of if you've got a big, big task on your hands, break that down into smaller manageable chunks and maybe start with a pilot in one particular team, demonstrate that approach works before then getting the buy-in to gain that commitment from other teams.

Cathryn Newbery: 39:47
Yeah, that makes sense. It's always a bit daunting to have a big project that seems insurmountable when you break it down it kind of you can kind of chip away at it over time. And actually, we talked a bit about the skills tool in Digits.

Andrea Matkin: 40:00
It helps people to understand what skills are present. And the next stage for that would obviously be plugging those skills gap and recommending content. And perhaps there's a bit content journeys. Can you talk about how Digits LMS can assist with that aspect of plugging the skills gap? So moving on from we have an understanding of what the gaps are, and now let's actually start to address it.

There's tools there that we can do that assessment first, and it is about, you know, sort of identifying where the gaps are, you can then curate content that will flag up to the learner, in line with those skills gaps as a kind of starting point. But having things like a fully sort of detailed report that the learner can then take him with, you know, to their manager for one-to-one conversations, they can then work together to put together a sort of development plan in other areas, and there's and there's a variety of tools in there that can help them do that. It's not just about going off and doing some eLearning. But it could be about how they're applying that learning in their role. So doing some mentoring and coaching, capturing those conversations, doing some on-the-job observations, capturing those sort of that sort of feedback and, and sort of progression on that. So it really is kind of a starting point for those conversations that should be fed into the wider sort of performance and talent management sort of process that the learner and the manager would work through.

Cathryn Newbery: 41:15
How can we go about getting manager buy-in to having these skills and performance conversations? Because that's the link between a talent that people in L&D team and actually making an impact for the individual, the team on the ground?

Bradley Burgoyne: 41:32
Yeah, I think I think that's a really good question, Cathryn. And I guess it's understanding what's in it for the manager? What's in it for them? And, you know, any line manager - of their biggest headaches is when people leave their team, and they've got to, they've got to re-recruit, right? So how can we demonstrate that taking a proactive approach to skills development and career development will minimise the impact of people wanting to lead their team and then having to go through that re-recruitment headache, there's a big what's in it for them in that because we all know, when someone leaves the pressure that then puts on the wider team until we fill that vacancy.

And at the moment, the facts are, it's not easy to fill that vacancy, so that pressure can happen, you know, can sustain itself over quite a long period of time, if we don't fill it, so an investment to prevent that from happening in the first place is well worthwhile. And I think, you know, one of the things I wanted to add to the conversation, Cathryn, is that it's also thinking more holistically about this as well. So it's not just about the colleagues that currently work in your business, and what can we do more of to improve their skills, it's how can we apply the skills and competency frameworks to the process of recruiting new employees as well. So when we do recruit them, we already understand what percentage fit their skill set is for our business. And we also understand where the gaps are. So quite quickly, we can pull together a really nice personal development plan as part of their onboarding, that really makes them feel valued, as soon as they start within the organisation and kind of increases that speak to competencies. So these frameworks and not just useful for the purpose of existing colleagues, they can equally be applied to the talent acquisition strategy, and how are we recruiting the right people with the right skills to come in and then supporting them when they do come in.

And so it's, it's far-reaching a project like this, and there are so many benefits to be had by embarking upon it. And it will also feed into succession planning projects as well. Yeah, absolutely. It's how do you know, what's your mechanism for identifying that talent bench and making sure that talent bench has got the right skill set that when it is required to move into those roles, the skills already exist, and it's really easy to move that talent in. So it really is that whole, you know, employee cycle of, you know, find develop, keep, it kind of struggles in three of those key areas.

Andrea Matkin: 44:10
And I think even thinking about that sort of data piece as well. So leveraging those statistics, so looking at, you know, we've got X number of employees who started us, you know, we've got X percentage of these have progressed into their careers. They've been with us for five years plus, I've had two different roles, that kind of, you know, that information is stuff that you can start to feed into your sort of recruitment strategies have done on your career site, just to really put some tangible metrics against that, that development opportunity, the proofs in the pudding to say, you know, here's, here's some of our longest standing employees and the journey that they've taken as a result of this programme. So, and that's really powerful because so many people are looking for those development opportunities when they're looking for a new role as well.

Bradley Burgoyne: 44:49
To add to that as well in terms of thinking about skills from a different aspect. Many, many colleagues that I speak with and peers that I speak with, you know, DE&I are strategies are becoming more of an integral part of people, teams HR functions. And actually, the investment in a skills framework can really complement your DE&I strategy because it starts to look at what colleagues can bring, and what skills they have, rather than other aspects that then all the unconscious biases start to kick in around who's suitable for a role and who isn't the kind of if you can embed this the skill start to speak for themselves, and all of a sudden, it can create opportunities for people where previously they may have been overlooked, or they may not have been considered because their skills stand in their own merit.

So it really is complementary to other strategies that are really important to the people team as well. Yeah, I think that's a really good point, especially when you're thinking about assessing candidates’ skills, and you sort of combine that with blind recruitment, then you're starting to really suss out the right people to be interviewing and progressing through your recruitment process, rather than the people that might, you might have assumed would be the right people to progress. There’s been plenty of instances, we found this ourselves recently, where, if you look at someone's CV, based on their experience, they may not seem to be suitable for the role. But the minute you put them through a skills analysis tool, when you really understand the skills they have, what you haven't seen is that actually the jobs they've had, although they don't seem relevant, have equipped them with the skills they need to be successful. But we've had instances where hiring managers may not have considered that individual, but now all of a sudden you focus on skills they become, they become a critical candidate. And anything like that, at the moment in this particular talent marketplace that we're in, is going to be beneficial just to open up the pool of candidates that could be suitable. And those candidates, by the way, could be internal as well as external when we talk about career development, etc. So it's, it's, you know, so much more far-reaching the some of the points we've covered today.

Cathryn Newbery: 47:08
And the question that I was going to ask is something that we pretty much haven't talked about today is about remote and hybrid working, because it's kind of a given now that many companies work with people who they're individuals who are not working on-site or time. Does it fit that not having the visibility of people in the office or a site particular site makes it more important that we have visibility of data about them, so that we can understand that network of people within an organisation?

Andrea Matkin: 47:47
Just because we're not visibly interacting with people every day, is it more important that we do these kinds of tasks and these projects to understand the skills so that we may not be seeing the skills evident in daily working? Because we're working through MS Teams calls or on Zoom? We're not side by side with somebody? Yeah, 100%, I think that's where the sort of digital space can obviously help with that to kind of highlight, you know, sort of untapped skills.

Because yeah, you're not sitting next to someone at a desk and hearing the conversations or, you know, looking at how they approach a project. So I think it is quite vital to leverage some of those tools to make sure that there is that visibility, both across office-based workers, and remote workers. So that it's a level playing field, really, across all employees, because I think there is a concern about some employees, if I adopt a remote only, it's a bit about out of sight, out of mind mentality. And it really, it needs to be processes and methodologies in place to give them that assurance that they'll get almost equal treatment by being a remote employee, they'll have the same level of learning opportunities, the same level of development opportunities, and there's kind of tools and processes in place to enable that visibility for that to happen.

Cathryn Newbery: 48:59
Okay, great. So we didn't get any questions. I hope that means we've answered the ball. Or maybe you've just covered so much that you need a bit of thinking time, which is fine. So we'll just move on to the wrap up. So thanks, everyone, for attending today, and giving us your attention. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bradley, and Andrea, for sharing your expertise. And we've learned a lot today. So that's awesome. Thank you so much. And if you want to find out more about Digit LMS, you can opt in using the exit survey you'll see on your screen after this webinar ends, or you can drop Andrea a line directly or her email addresses on the screen now. And that feedback survey will ask you also just for a little bit of feedback about how we've done today. If you enjoyed the webinar, there are other things you'd like to see from us. We are always appreciative of any feedback that you can offer us there. Our next webinar is on Tuesday the 17th January and we'll be looking at how to choose an LMS so if you are in the market for a new LMS where you think you might be switching LMS providers soon or even choosing your first LMS you won't want to miss that one - we'll be sharing hints and tips on choosing the right solution for your organisation. So it just remains for me to say thank you once again for joining us thank you Bradley and Andrea and we hope you have a fantastic rest of your day thanks so much take care.

Digits – part of the Ciphr Group – has more than 25 years’ experience developing award-winning learning management systems (LMS) and designing bespoke, accessible-anywhere learning content for mid- and enterprise-size organisations. Three million courses are completed via Digits LMS every year.

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