This article was updated on Sept. 19, 2018.

The pace of change is happening at a high rate, prompting organizations to offer internal training for talent retention and organizational performance to keep up. This should lead organizations to constantly assess whether they are doing enough to encourage the development of new skills to both remain competitive in the marketplace and retain and engage their talent.

According to the ADP Research Institute® report, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workforce, 53 percent of surveyed employees believe that in today's business environment, "constant role changing will require learning new skills quickly," and 43 percent indicate that they believe this trend will impact them in the future.

Determine Skills Needed

The good news is 65 percent have a positive reaction to this trend, but the bad news is a full 93 percent say they will work wherever skills are needed, per the ADP report. Therefore, organizations have a two-part challenge. On one hand, they need a process in place to determine what skills are needed and how to develop those skills and measure the outcomes. On the other hand, employees with newly developed skills could be a flight risk. CFOs need a process for evaluating skill needs and the resulting performance outcomes. That system is human performance technology (HPT).

Evaluate Training Needs and Performance Outcomes

According to the International Society for Performance Improvement, HPT focuses on people performance in organizations — it's a system for diagnosing performance gaps, implementing targeted solutions and evaluating the outcome of those decisions. Though it's much broader than focusing on skills as a solution to performance gaps, it can be a systematic means by which CFOs can work with CHROs to evaluate employee development needs and the resulting performance outcomes.

Here's how HPT could be used for this purpose.

Performance Analysis

In the performance analysis phase, leaders use their internal data and input from management to identify performance gaps and causes. Then, they formulate desired outcomes and goals. HPT is focused on business performance, so an example of a performance gap would be a low number of new products being developed or a technological skills gap.

Design the Solution

In the second phase, leaders select and develop a solution. For example, if you have identified that you need to develop new technology skills, you would work with HR to formulate training programs that would fill the skills gap you have identified above.

Implement the Intervention

Once the internal training is created, it's rolled out. During this phase, interdepartmental communication will be paramount, as you try to maximize the value of this solution and get the word out to employees of this new training option.

Evaluate Results

After solutions are implemented, leaders should evaluate outcomes against the original goals of the program and make an assessment of the effectiveness of the solution. Investments in performance solutions — in particular, employee development programs — can be high so it's important to understand and track your positive ROI to inform future strategic decision-making.

In addition to the financial returns that can be realized from employee development programs, there are employee retention implications. Organizations that don't invest in employee development might find that they have a problem retaining their best talent. Employees will take their skills wherever they're needed — and people will go wherever they can grow those skills and learn new ones.

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