As a workforce author, researcher, and consultant, I observed many organizations that were concerned about a labor shortage brought about by baby boomer retirement. This shortage, and the skills gaps that went along with it, was partially delayed in part by the financial crisis and subsequent recession, because many baby boomers lost savings and were working past traditional retirement age1.
Many baby boomers, born 1946-64, are now in their 70s, and the time has come for them to exit the workforce. According to a recent report by the Federal Reserve2, industrialized nations like the U.S. are facing a shortage of working-aged professionals, and employers need enough qualified employees to survive.
In my experience working with dozens of companies over the last decade, I’ve seen that corporate training and development can be an effective solution to this problem. As more senior roles are vacated, corporate training, particularly for succession planning, may be a good vehicle for mid-level professionals to master skills like team leadership, business acumen, strategic planning, conflict resolution, and decision-making.
All Employees, All Levels
One of the topics I write about most is increasing automation and machine participation3, and given this trend, I believe that even employees who will not become senior leaders must continuously upskill or reskill to maintain their value within the organization. The days of having one degree and one corresponding skillset may be numbered, because if that skillset is automated, what then? Corporate training provides one way to diversify what each individual employee can contribute and the variety of roles he or she can hold.
There are other benefits besides skill acquisition. I’ve written that despite technological advances, productivity in most organizations is lagging4. Corporate training is one method for adjusting your processes, targeting efficiency so employees can better perform tasks and focus their energies more specifically on company goals. I have personally seen that many organizations with solid corporate training initiatives keep their people longer because the employees appreciate the investment in their development. And, I’ve observed that organizations that do right by their people are perceived as having strong brands that customers want to support.
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