Academies Must Be Capabilities-Focused to Prepare Employees for the Future of Work

CEOs and learning professionals agree that upskilling and reskilling their workforce at scale and at the speed of business is paramount. The strategy around upskilling and reskilling is to develop an organization’s workforce capabilities and abilities while improving the learning agility of the organization as a whole. The focus area is to build a variety of skills, including hard, soft and digital. 

Organizations seek new and innovative ways to close the skills gaps within their workforce. Those that invested in upskilling and reskilling programs not only improved their learning but improved employee engagement, retention, mobility and promotability. A high degree of competency in a workforce positions an organization to tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by the future of work. The future of work requires employees to be at their peak levels of knowledge and skills to perform their roles and deliver breakthrough performance in ever-changing work conditions. The ability to significantly increase the capabilities of a workforce means blending knowledge and skills to position employees to adapt to future work needs. 

To achieve the goal of workforce readiness for the future of work, organizations must evolve from the traditional competency and skills models to a capabilities-model approach. A focus on development of organizational capabilities rather than individual competency and skill progression requires fostering connections among employees to stimulate thinking and generate new ideas. A capabilities-model approach opens the door for organizations to tap into the full potential of their workforce and positions them to meet and exceed their business objectives. 

Progressive organizations are now moving toward rethinking their corporate university settings and academy models. Many corporate universities do not provide opportunities for learners to interact peer-to-peer and coach-to-mentor to develop the requisite talent capabilities to perform work at its highest level. 

Most corporate academy models focus on traditional skills training and knowledge-sharing through a subject matter expertise-only delivery methodology. New academy models that focus on building workforce capabilities focus on creating an inviting environment that puts the learner experience first. The learning processes leveraged in these new academies draw from a culture of continuous, lifelong learning rather than training for today. These new academy models look at capabilities development as an investment in the complete set of competencies and skills employees need to do their job today and tomorrow. 

High-performing organizations are investing in learning environments where learners can gain knowledge, share ideas and develop their capabilities as a community. An important distinguishing feature of these academies is their emphasis on creating a digital learning experience. They provide the opportunity to be immersed in a wealth of knowledge — not just from courses but from peers and experts. The academy that focuses on capabilities rather than individual competency and skill sets creates a much stronger alignment between learning and business outcomes and learning and individual performance support.

Academies built around workforce capabilities improvement promote and foster the integration of key business objectives with learning. Traditional training programs that focus on individual skill development fall short. The focus of this new academy strategy is to provide innovative learning experiences that leverage learning content developed inside and outside the organization, sourced by the learners and experts alike and supported through social and collaborative mentoring and coaching within the organization. The academy that focuses on capabilities moves away from being merely a repository of content and creates an immersive learning environment where employees feel they are learning what they need to know to do their jobs and advance in their professions.

A critical element for creating a successful academy is the use of advanced learning technology. NovoEd’s collaborative learning platform is a leader in that space in supporting capabilities-focused academies. NovoEd’s platform enables organizations to develop and deliver high-impact multimodal learning to improve the learner experience, build modern capabilities across the workforce and achieve breakthrough performance for the organization. NovoEd provides a cutting-edge approach to developing workforce capabilities through “practice and application, coaching and mentorship, and group collaboration.”

NovoEd has a long-standing level of success with organizations around the globe, supporting their need to connect learners with peers, coaches, mentors, subject matter experts and leaders in a highly immersive and interactive digital learning environment. Organizations that partner with NovoEd achieve a demonstrable impact on developing enterprise-wide capabilities in their workforce and achieving significant improvements in business performance.

Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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