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Workforce Development

Basia Skudrzyk

· employment,workforce,development,leadership,training

Workforce development is an on-going people investment. It’s definitely not a one and done approach. When you invest in people, it’s a successful routine process that allows people to advance in their training and career. Understanding that workforce is the first step in developing talent and building partnerships sustainably is crucial.

By definition, “Workforce” means “the total number of people employed or employable.”

“Development” means “the act or process of developing; growth; progress.”

Without a workforce, we do not have growth. Without development, we do not have people who can be employable and grow.

Workforce development takes a “people-first” approach to business development. This means being intentional about reaching out to populations that need assistance to become successful in their job role. Through this approach strategies can be implemented to improve a person’s potential in the workplace and their career track. Workforce not only stimulates opportunity in a person’s life, but this investment yields to downstream benefits for the employer, the community and the person’s home. Part of a strong community is a growing and thriving workforce.

A recent study conducted by Accenture found that 62 percent of C-level executives were unsure how to develop their workforce in an increasingly digital economy. In fact, the authors of the report state that over $3 trillion of future revenues may be lost due to inefficient or ineffective workforce development.

Whether your workforce is on a manufacturing floor, auto garage, medical clinic, or office tower, you must continually invest in training your employees. Otherwise, you may find that they’re unequipped to handle the problems of the future. We can all attest to how Covid has impacted the workflow and communication process of the entire world! As a result, patients, customers, vendors, and or clients may take their business to a more forward-facing firm. What we are learning is that successful companies who have been able to navigate and adapt to change, are able to think more openly due to a people-centric approach.

By developing a person, the employee gains more skillsets to be effective on the job; and in turn, the employer benefits by having a higher-skilled team. In addition to the reciprocity, other outcomes result from providing the appropriate structure and skills training to prepare and or be on the job:

  • Fluent communication
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Lower turnover rate
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Improved productivity
  • Enhancements in innovative thinking
  • Proactive, not reactive, problem solving

An empowered workforce is one which feels like an asset to their employer. However, when an employee feels neglected or ignored by their management team, they may start looking for employment elsewhere. When an employer provides the platform to communicate with their staff about best practices and how they can move forward in the industry together, they grow together.


At its core, workforce development is about maximizing the potential of its employees and providing them with the opportunities to effectively handle problems. When an employee feels like they’re valued and trusted, they’re more likely to stay with their employer long-term.

So where can we start?

If your workforce primarily consists of members of at-risk groups, then it might make sense to host regular workshops based on developing interpersonal skills. Knowing how to resolve conflict, communicate clearly, manage stress, and empathize with others can go a long way toward boosting employee morale and overall job satisfaction. Creating healthy behavioral patterns is key.

Many successful companies, from thriving small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations, invest in their loyal employees’ continuing education. Employers can show their employees that they are valued by offering to subsidize the cost of work-related certificates, diplomas, degrees, and other relevant credentials.

The best workforce development programs have a well-thought-out strategy for training employees in the most efficient and user-friendly way possible. You have to build trust.

You don’t have to tackle workforce development alone. Bring in experts to leverage the workforce development experience. It’s wonderful when we can lean on established industry experts who can walk us through how to retain and retool our workforce for superior results correctly. Many firms offer workforce development solutions to help you bring in new talent and HR professionals who can train your workforce to meet the demands of tomorrow.

Remember that workforce development is built around learning rather than training. Typically, when you announce to your employees that they must undergo mandatory training you will receive sighs and a general lack of enthusiasm. However, positioning developmental education as a learning opportunity often yields higher engagement.

Communication and transparency is essential. From the beginning, make sure you transparently communicate your expectations for the development program with your employees. If you spring additional training on your workforce without clearly explaining why, the program may backfire and leave your team distrustful of management’s long-term plans.

Explaining how long the development program will last, what people can expect, and, most importantly, what the benefits are for their development is important. Also, let your employees know that you’re receptive to feedback and want to find out whether the program made a tangible impact on their performance.

A study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that 40 percent of American business leaders are experiencing difficulty finding employees with in-demand skills, even for entry-level positions. An additional 20 percent of employers claim that most of their new talent is underprepared for the job that they’re entering.

The discrepancy between the demand for skilled talent and the supply of talent available represents a “skills gap.” This gap has widespread negative effects on economic growth. However, harnessing the power of this untapped resource can be the difference-maker in your business’s future success.

Research shows that employees are feeling more unsettled about their jobs than ever before. For instance, a recent study by Deloitte found that 71 percent of Millennial and Gen-Zers plan to leave their jobs in the next two years due to discontent with how their leadership skills are being developed.

By investing in ongoing workforce development, you can retain your top talent and improve your business’s standing in our ever-changing economic landscape. But remember, it’s crucial that you keep your employees—the learners—at the center of the development program by letting them choose where, how, and what to learn.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin