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The Case For Precision Skill Development

Omer Glass is the Co-Founder and CEO at Growthspace.

One of the perks of my role as CEO and co-founder of Growthspace is the opportunity to meet with seasoned HR professionals worldwide. Their insights have shaped our technology and underscored a critical concept at the heart of our operations: precision skill development. This approach is about honing specific skills at the individual level, which is essential—not just beneficial—for organizational success.

The pivotal role of talent in an organization’s success cannot be overstated, which is why businesses must focus on both acquiring and developing top talent. While the former can be unpredictable because of external factors like brand reputation and industry trends, enhancing existing talent is something impactful that we can directly influence.

Defining Precision Skill Development

When HR leaders adopt a precision skill development approach, they aim to match an individual or a cohort with a subject matter expert for a development sprint. This shifts the approach to employees’ growth from a generalist view to a specialist one. Understanding the specific skills needed—be it delegation, storytelling or strategic marketing—and matching the learner with an expert in that exact field is crucial. Think of it this way: If you needed treatment for a skin condition, you’d want to see a dermatologist, not a general practitioner.

The essence of precision skill development lies in its human-to-human, tailored approach. Suppose your CEO is preparing for a significant industry keynote. The best support would involve pairing them with a top-notch keynote trainer for dedicated sessions until they’re fully prepared. This kind of personalized method ensures the skills developed are precisely what an employee needs to advance their career and, concurrently, propel the business forward.

Why Precision Matters In Skill Development

As the workplace evolves, the need for precision in skill development becomes more apparent. It’s not enough to engage in generic training programs. Employee development must align with specific skills gaps and business goals.

For example, early in my management consulting career, I saw individual contributors rise among the ranks based on their outcomes, regardless of whether they actually had the soft skills needed to be a strong leader. The result was far from ideal. Brilliant professionals turned out to be terrible managers who didn’t delegate or mentor their employees. Those of us at the individual contributor level knew who the good managers were, and we did our best to join their projects. While I was one of the lucky ones, in some cases, employees got so frustrated with their managers that they left the firm.

We’ve come a long way since then, with most organizations offering online learning opportunities to develop employees and future leaders. But a one-size-fits-all approach can fall short because it doesn’t cater to individual learning styles or specific areas where different people need more help. When everyone gets the same material, their unique cultural and professional backgrounds aren’t taken into account, making the content feel less accessible. Without a personalized learning experience that fits each person’s needs, these programs can fail to resonate with many employees. This diminishes the overall impact of the training and can lead to people avoiding opportunities for learning entirely.

Giving employees—particularly leaders—the ability to cultivate and possess vital skills is what creates cultures that retain and engage talent. For instance, as artificial intelligence becomes more integrated into our workplaces, the demand for human-centric capabilities will escalate. Skills like critical thinking, emotional intelligence and creative problem-solving will become more valuable because they require nuances that AI cannot replicate easily. By investing in precise skill enhancement, organizations empower their workforce to both complement AI advancements and leverage these technologies to drive innovation and maintain competitive advantage. This ensures relevance and sustainability in career growth and organizational success.

How To Approach Precision Skill Development

Adopting precision skill development requires several key components. First, HR leaders will need a deep understanding of the current skills landscape. To effectively assess this, they should adopt a practical, dynamic approach that starts with conducting regular assessments that invite employee feedback on real-life examples. For instance, instead of getting generalized comments about communication skills, ask about specific interactions to identify areas for improvement.

Predicting future skills needs is also key. Aligning skill development initiatives with an organization’s strategic goals means understanding upcoming challenges—like preparing for an IPO or building a stronger management team—and identifying what’s needed to meet these challenges. By focusing on the organization’s future direction, HR can ensure skill development is proactively driving the company forward. Developing a robust assessment framework can then help measure the effectiveness of training initiatives.

Precision skill development requires a cultural shift. Employees must value continuous learning and integrate professional development into daily workflows. HR leaders can foster these values by making learning both accessible and automated. Simplifying access to learning opportunities through user-friendly platforms can allow employees to easily sign up for sessions, workshops or mentoring relevant to their roles. Personalization can also help team members find the learning they need quickly and effortlessly. Then automated learning triggers can be based on key career milestones like promotions or role changes. This ensures learning is continuous, tailored and integrated naturally into employees’ workflows. By making learning easy and embedding it into everyday work, HR can foster a culture of ongoing development and growth.

Final Thoughts

Looking forward, the emphasis on targeted skill development that aligns individual growth with organizational goals is crucial. A strategic approach that addresses current skills gaps and prepares for future challenges is how you can sustain success in today’s competitive environment.

By adopting precision skill development, you ensure that training is not just a check-the-box exercise. It will serve as a fundamental driver of both personal and organizational growth. Again and again, I’ve seen how personalized learning helps professionals get better at what they do. And when they get better, companies get better.

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