The skills gap in the United States is increasing. While many individuals struggle to find companies that will hire them with their existing expertise, there are a host of businesses who are fighting to find employees who have the necessary skills to fill the jobs they have available. In fact, 2015 and 2016, it has become increasingly common to see more job openings than there are people hired across the United States.

Skills gaps in the workplace creates major problems for businesses and employees alike, including:

  • An inability to fill open jobs because of the absence of applicants who have the skills to fill them.
  • A long hiring process that leaves potential employees wondering whether or not they’re ever going to get a job and companies struggling to take care of the duties of open positions until the positions are filled.
  • Competition to keep employees who have vital job skills.
  • An increased willingness to retain employees who are a poor fit for the company because of the difficulty of replacing them.
  • A vicious cycle in which employees are unable to gain the skills they need to be competitive in their fields, while organizations struggle to find highly skilled talent to fill open job positions.

If you resonate with these challenges, you can rest assured that you’re not alone. Virtually every organization struggles to attract and maintain highly skilled workers—especially in a time where talent is scarce and opportunity is plentiful. What can your organization do to close the skill gaps that exist in your workplace? The answer is fairly simple: invest in your people.

One of the most scalable and cost-effective ways of doing this is by leveraging the power of e-learning to foster a culture of corporate training and development. Here are three ways e-learning can help you close skill gaps:

eLearning Allows You to Choose Candidates, Not Skills

The candidate you interviewed yesterday would make a great edition to your team. His personal mission matched that of your organization’s, his track record of success aligns with what you’re looking for in this particular role, and he even alluded to shared similar hobbies and interests with other members of the team. Overall, the candidate appeared to have all the qualities you’re looking for in a new employee. There’s just one problem: he’s never worked with the software program that everyone on the team is expected to use on a daily basis.

That’s where custom e-learning development comes in. If you have a solid training infrastructure in place, you can provide employees with the instruction they need to build the skill set required for the position in question. Hard skills, like learning how to use a software program, can be taught to new employees, while soft skills, like emotional intelligence, are much harder to cultivate. With the introduction of e-learning, you can hire employees based on their aptitude to learn, succeed, and lead in your organization, versus just hiring based on their initial competencies.

E-learning Offers Increased In-Office Promotion Opportunities

Some of the best hiring decisions you’ll ever make will come by promoting from within. That individual who is motivated, driven, and highly interested in the field, but hasn’t ever had the funds to pursue further education or certification, might be the best fit for an open position higher up the ladder. Unfortunately, there’s been no opportunity throughout the course of the business day for them to pick up those skills.

Once again, e-learning can help fill the gap. E-learning solutions offer you two options. You can choose to promote those individuals that you feel would be good fits for the position, then provide them with the training they need: the traditional style of training many employees for new positions. Alternatively, you can allow that employee to take the training, providing them with those skills and determining how well they do as grounds for advancement in the future. Promoting from within becomes easier than ever when you have custom e-learning solutions available at any given time.

Elearning Keeps the Office Up-to-Date

Many industries are experiencing exponential growth, particularly in the realm of technology. Employees who actively stay at the cutting edge of that technology can keep up. Other employees—especially those from older generations—may struggle to learn fast enough to remain competitive in the industry. You need your employees to be able to keep up with the changes in your industry for your business as a whole to remain competitive, not to mention enabling employees to stand in the gap for others who are on vacation, sick, or who have moved on to new positions.

Providing e-learning solutions for your employees is the perfect way to keep the entire office at the forefront of your industry. Regular training encourages everyone in the building to pick up those vital technology skills that will shape your office and change the way you do business. Even better, eLearning offers the instruction in a way that is more likely to be retained by every employee, which means that even if an employee doesn’t use that information for a while, they’ll still be likely to remember it.

Offer Flexible Training Opportunities

Finding time to offer training to your employees can be a challenge. At any given moment, they’re working on a variety of projects, in important meetings, and engaged in other tasks that keep your business running smoothly. ELearning, however, allows your employees to complete their modules when it’s convenient for them. They can work on their own time and utilize breaks for modules that are designed for career advancement or devote work hours to training that will help them do their current jobs better.

With custom eLearning development, your organization can provide vital skills to every employee. Providing your employees with these skills means that your office will suffer less from the skills gap—and even better, you’ll be able to lower the unemployment rate, decrease your unfilled jobs, and provide your employees with the training they need.

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