Inside Jobs: Four Technologies for Internal Career Development

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What technologies can HR departments use to improve employee career development — and how can they effectively implement them?

Because of the uncertainty in today's economy and job market, many companies looking to hire may have a greater supply of talent to choose from. But finding candidates with the right skills and experience for your needs isn't always easy. In addition, hiring costs money, and the current economic climate has many businesses looking to streamline operations and reduce costs.

Wherever possible, it's ideal to retrain rather than recruit, to build up skills instead of bringing in new staff. But improving internal career development takes more than recognizing that talent drives business success. The right technologies are required to bridge the gap between existing workforces and new expectations.

Let's break down four of the top-performing technological processes that can positively influence career development for inside jobs.

1. Running the numbers: Benchmark data

The first step in effectively reskilling staff and improving their internal career potential is making sure they don't jump ship for other opportunities. Here, data is critical; employees need to know where they stand in relation to other offers and what they stand to gain by staying.

Workforce analytics solutions can help organizations skip the time required to conduct surveys at scale — for example, by combining internal data with aggregated anonymous data from more than 30 million U.S. workers across 90,000 organizations to create benchmarks on-demand. From workforce changes to demographics to attendance records and compensation, organizations can see how they stack up against other businesses in their industry, share that data with staff and make necessary changes that could incentivize employees to stay with the organization when considering a new job.

This data can also provide the foundation for meaningful organizational evolution. Businesses can garner significant goodwill by identifying workforce issues and laying out clear plans for change.

2. Recognizing the need: Artificial intelligence

The growing need for 21st-century technology has birthed a generation of tech training programs across primary and post-secondary schools. By preparing the next generation of employees for the mobile-driven, cloud-first nature of business, these programs are helping to bridge the skills gap and ensure businesses have the depth of talent necessary to leverage emerging IT solutions.

One area of expertise that is lacking in the workforce is emotional intelligence (EQ) — the key qualities of compassion, empathy and effective leadership are now in high demand. Artificial intelligence offers a technology-based solution to an inherently non-technical problem: New workforce AI tools can help identify key personality traits or emotional aptitudes that are missing across current project teams or the corporate culture at large, and then leverage human resources (HR) data to find best-fit staff solutions.

Using a combination of existing employee profiles, hiring data and regular employee-evaluation data, AI offers the potential to generate roadmaps for improved EQ. It can also help managers identify effective ways of communicating with individual staff members, in turn reducing the risk of employee churn.

3. Identifying the next iteration: Predictive analytics

What skills will your organization need in a year? Five? Ten? What positions will be created to help your business stay competitive? Here, organizations can help prioritize the development of key staff skills by leveraging advanced predictive analytics. By examining your current workforce trends (including overtime pay, turnover rates and compensation) and integrating aggregate data from other corporations at scale, it's possible to identify key employment trends and develop new protocols to help staff prepare for them.

Consider the evolving use of AI tools for automation in the workplace. While the pessimistic prediction that intelligent machines will replace human workers won't come to pass, staff shifts will occur. "Soft skills" — such as the emotional intelligence noted above — paired with the ability to work alongside AI-driven tools will modify some job descriptions, entirely eliminate others and create a new class of opportunities.

Effective internal career development depends on getting out in front of these trends with predictive analytics. By helping employees prepare for the next iteration of workplace innovation, organizations can help safeguard skilled staff retention.

4. Training the new workforce: On-the-Job education

Recognizing the need for new skills isn't enough; organizations must start training staff today for the jobs of tomorrow. A recent report from research firm McKinsey highlights the urgency of this need: 87% of organizations surveyed "say they either are experiencing (skills) gaps now or expect them within a few years."

Therefore, it's critical for organizations to leverage talent activation tools designed to drive enhanced employee performance through strength-based engagement. To hit the mark with training for new, technology-focused positions, three functions are critical:

  • Strengths assessment: Where do employees excel? Where do they need additional support? By pairing current data with evolving expectations, businesses can design staff-specific training plans.
  • Ongoing engagement: Gone are the days of the yearly performance review. Now, employees are better-served by weekly, light-touch conversations that focus on near-term work and immediate goal success. Over time, these weekly meetings form the foundation for ongoing, engaged employee training.
  • Issue management: Training doesn't always go as planned. Data-driven insights can help identify areas where staff may be struggling and suggest key steps to remediate any issues, reducing frustration on both sides and enhancing employee satisfaction.

Internal career development now drives long-term employee retention, especially amid recent economic and workforce challenges. Fortunately, organizations can streamline staff improvement and reduce churn by leveraging data benchmarking, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and talent-activation technologies.

Learn more about how you can transform your organization's talent management.