logo image

Professional Partner Content

How to Build Your Own Incubator of Emerging Skills

Published Wed Jun 03 2020


This year has brought unexpected challenges almost every aspect of our lives Through this experience, it has become clear that we cannot plan for the future. But we can focus on developing the type of skills and business agility that will allow us to quickly and fluidly respond to future challenges with a workforce that can move easily across projects, teams, and work.

In a recent MIT study, two-thirds of respondents felt that updating working practices and skills-along with adding new technologies-was key to managing disruption. How can you ensure your people have the skills for today and for what’s next? Forward-thinking companies are redesigning their approach to employee learning to continuously uncover and cultivate emerging skills.

We’ve noticed while working closely with our clients that the companies most committed to building emerging skills do five things differently:

1. Build Skills From the Ground Up

The search for emerging skills demands collaboration among learning, talent, and operating units to foster a bottom-up approach to skill-building. Agile companies get input from their workers and line managers to discover what’s needed for future projects, goals, and jobs. From there, they use those insights to form the basis of internal learning and upskilling.

2. Tap Into New Skills Where They Emerge Organically

Just as identifying emerging skills requires recognition, so should training for those emerging skills. That means going to the source: the everyday work of employees.

Qualcomm flipped the traditional top-down corporate learning model into a system mirroring how people consume information in their daily lives-through social networks, mobile devices, and curated content. Qualcomm’s learning center pushed employees to chart their own learning path to become experts and gave them new tools to develop more fluidly. Now employees regularly recommend and discuss content with colleagues.

3. Give Experts a Platform to Spread Their Knowledge

An employee-driven upskilling program flourishes when employees have a say in shaping the learning experience and helping their peers grow. By giving employees a stake in their own career development and the future of the company, you’re supporting internal mobility structures, creating an opportunity for mentorship programs, and building channels to share critical knowledge.

4. Give Feedback About Progress

Although informal employee-driven learning sounds attractive, it shouldn’t be a free-for-all. The best way to provide structure to this type of learning is to measure individual progress, confirm new skills, and refocus on what’s next. The idea should be mutually beneficial: each employee undergoes valuable, continuous improvement, which, in turn value for the organization.

5. Mining Data to Identify Emerging Skills

Learning and talent leaders can also strike emerging skills gold by mining data for trends. If you can’t do it yourself, government and commercial data sets like O\*NET, or labor market analytics tools like Burning Glass and TalentNeuron, find emerging skills by analyzing daily job listings.

If you can pinpoint these skills early, they will help indicate those that can help keep your workforce on the cutting edge of new ideas, processes, tools, and abilities and keep you ahead of your competitors. Start by monitoring areas of your business that are most prone to disruption so you can quickly respond to patterns and changes in skills.

Want to learn more about how to cultivate emerging skills at your organization? Download our full guide here!

You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In

Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy