According to recent research from the Association for Talent Development (ATD), 83 percent of organizations have a skills gap. This has significant implications not only for the economy but for employee acquisition, engagement and retention. An organization with significant skills gaps risks not meeting customer demand, may not be able to grow or compete, and is not prepared for the future of work.

In February 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were nearly 7.3 million open jobs and the unemployment rate was at 4 percent. Clearly there are jobs to fill and people to fill them, but how do employers bridge that gap? And how would such efforts benefit employees?

A changing corporate landscape

Companies are faced with more change, disruptors and market competition than ever before. In general, the workforce needs complex skills to survive and thrive, but many employees and job seekers lack these necessary skills. Because the shelf life of many skills in today’s dynamic business environment is shrinking, organizations need to be in a constant state of reskilling and upskilling employees.

The good news is that research shows investing in talent development helps drive engagement and market performance. In short, committing to a robust and enterprise-wide talent development strategy is worth it.

Market leaders like Mastercard and Intuit know this. Job rotations and career paths, as well as developing and promoting from within are some of the best practices these companies employ. IBM used digital badging as part of a broad strategy to bring digital transformation to its employees.

Home-grown talent

Talent development plays a critical role for any organization. Success requires C-suite leaders to view investments in talent development as non-negotiable, and to see the learning function as a strategic partner in guiding company growth and success.

Talent development professionals are uniquely qualified business partners in bridging and closing skills gaps.