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Workforce Development

Basia Skudrzyk

· opportunity,mentorship,leadership,strategic planning,workforce

An increasing number of disruptions are stressing workforce environments through supply chain shortages; impacting business performance and employee retention. External pressures from stakeholders are also driving operations management and strategy leaders to seek workforce development and supply chain solutions to help them become more resilient, sustainable, secure and transparent. 

With workforce development, we elaborate and explore the potential of a person and develop specialized and unique approaches that can help each person achieve their fullest potential from the center of their core.  If we use this concept and exchange the word “music” for “human,” we can apply a similar process to workforce development.  

With workforce development, we elaborate and explore the potential of a person and develop specialized and unique approaches that can help each person achieve their fullest potential from the center of their core. 

Workforce development takes a “people-first” approach to business development. This approach offers strategies to improve an individual’s potential in the workplace and their career trajectory. Workforce development not only improves a person’s prospects in life, but it also leads to downstream benefits for businesses and communities.  

Workforce development leads to many positive outcomes. With appropriate training, employees become more effective, businesses as a result become prosperous and this investment in people translates to positive outputs improving environments. By training and upskilling people, the workforce and employers can enjoy happier staff, lower turnover, and exciting growth opportunities — not to mention support growth for the economy as a whole. 

Some examples of workforce development include up-skilling, re-skilling and retention. Upskilling is a workplace trend that facilitates continuous learning by providing training programs and development opportunities that expand an employee's abilities and minimize skill gaps. Upskilling includes utilizing skillsets that a person may have working in another sector of the industry and utilizing those skillsets in a new career pathway.  

For example, a stay at home parent may have never worked in a corporate environment.  However, she has strong communication skills, is organized, manages a full household with many schedules and anticipated changes – these types of skillsets can be essential and applied to a field in a company that requires attention to detail with multi-faceted job roles and being able to perform under pressure. Since the person already possesses the foundational skills needed to take on the new job responsibilities, it would make sense to consider this person with an opportunity that compliments those skillsets.  

Here's a great graph on what re-skilling looks like:

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Retention means providing training services to incumbent employees and developing on-the-job and workplace training. Through an effective workforce development training program, employee retention can be supported by offering services such as transportation, childcare assistance, and mentoring programs to individuals engaged in training. A support network is crucial to the success of a person because it improves the ability to cope with stressful situations, promotes lifelong good mental health, enhances self-esteem, lowers cardiovascular risks, such as lowering blood pressure and promotes healthy lifestyle behaviors.  In addition, it creates quality and loyal employees that grow within in the company versus having to switch positions in order to achieve their next milestone. 

In addition to workforce development, workforce education enables workers to advance or change industries which not only reduces income inequality, but also supports domestic innovation. 

Workforce development isn’t a “one and done” initiative to train employees or people who are looking to reenter or reframe their workforce pathway. Rather, it’s an ongoing process of educating and empowering people so that they can tackle the workplace problems of tomorrow. 

The best workforce development programs have a well-thought-out strategy for training employees in the most efficient and user-friendly way possible. Transparency is essential to the success of the program. From the beginning, companies should transparently communicate their expectations for the development program with their employees. If information is presented with no strategy or confusion on your workforce without clearly explaining why, the program may backfire and leave the team distrustful of management’s long-term plans. 

In addition to development programs, it's important to look introspectively at the organization. When senior leaders sponsor a junior employee, showing support and advocacy provides benefits to both parties and the organization as a whole. Having good mentors allow people to expand their worldview and also helps fill gaps around skillset anad knowledge. These benefits may lead to promotions, stretch assignments, but ultimately a fulfillment of the work the person does within their organization which is key to having a positive work environment.

Some best practices to consider when implementing workforce development strategies are to explain how long the development program will last, what they can expect, and, most importantly, letting people know that they will be compensated for their time. Allowing employees to know that management is receptive to feedback and wants to find out whether the program made a tangible impact on their performance makes the whole system even stronger. Just as in development and training, communication is a key ingredient to ensuring workforce development allows for each movement to move in synch through authenticity and trust for development to achieve its fullest potential.

If you don't have a healthy workforce, you can't develop economically.  And if you don't have a well-educated and healthy workforce, that is a huge constraint on your development. - Bruce Wilkinson