Tech Skills Development

How to instil a sustainable, long-term growth culture through learning and development

In the latest blog from our tech skills development series, Stuart Martin, Chief Client Officer at QA, the UK’s leading technology skills and talent organisation, looks at how a cohesive learning and development strategy can be a key pillar of growth for any business.

Much of learning and development in business is, more often than not, focused on short-term wins or one-off interventions. This is a holdover from a different era, one in which the speed of development within specific business fields was slower and the competition for talent less fierce.

Now, however, we are in an age where technology is advancing every day, bringing forth the need to constantly update knowledge and skills. In this context, traditional one-off interventions and day courses can only be one facet of a broader strategy if companies are to foster a successful growth and development approach.

Long-term upskilling and reskilling

Instead, business leaders must take steps to instil a more sustainable and ingrained growth mindset within teams and individuals. This must be a culture in which upskilling and reskilling is prioritised as a strategic action to ensure that new talent and legacy employees are able to grow continually and apply new skills to ensure that the organisation also achieves continuous growth – something we are dedicated to at QA.

Forbes emphasises the importance of this imperative: "As upskilling and reskilling are increasingly part of the workplace conversation, business leaders need to approach these programmes as far more than short-term campaigns with perks to attract employees in a tight labour market. Advancing employees’ skills should be viewed through the lens of their business objectives."

McKinsey, meanwhile, highlights the economic case for reskilling in the UK. Their latest research estimates that reskilling would bring an economic benefit to businesses in over 75% of cases. However, there is currently a shortfall of businesses realising the full benefits of reskilling:

"Our analysis also reveals that, if workers are to realise the full benefits of reskilling over the next decade, more than 90% of the UK workforce will need to be trained. Yet reality currently falls short of potential: according to a UK government survey, 62% of workers received workplace training in 2017."

How to transform the growth culture of your business

Such a culture must be driven into the fabric of a business from the top-down, achieving buy-in from C-suite and team leaders before being disseminated to front-line employees. It augments the more traditional single-session courses with an innovative and holistic suite of bespoke programs, apprenticeships, work-based learning and reskilling bootcamps, which create highly effective teams and working practices with a curiosity to learn.

These things are easier said than realised, however; many business leaders lack the time or resources to implement such comprehensive skills and growth programmes.

However, there are a few simple steps that can be taken when transforming the growth culture of a business, nicely summarised with these four components from Harvard Business Review:

  1. A safe working environment in which leaders are willing to role model as well as take responsibility for shortcomings and errors.
  2. A focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity and transparency, in place of judgment, certainty and self-protection.
  3. Time-limited, manageable experiments with new behaviours in order to test our unconscious assumption that changing the status quo is dangerous and likely to have negative consequences.
  4. Continuous feedback – up, down and across the organisation – grounded in a shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.

The benefits of an independent learning and development partner 

The effectiveness and sustainability of such a long-term strategy can be boosted by partnering with an independent, consultative growth partner. By bringing a learning and development expert into the mix, companies can ensure they have access not only to objective and independent consultation, but to the full range of talent resources necessary to reskill and upskill existing workers, while identifying and acquiring new talent in a competitive market.

QA help many of the world’s leading companies to build their tech and digital capabilities via our leading range of skills development courses, reskilling bootcamps, and work-based learning programmes and apprenticeships. An expert-led, independent approach can help firms create and maintain a development culture encompassing growth and aspiration, starting by mapping potential to needs in order to unlock the next level for the business and for its people.

As companies of all kinds continue their digital transformation, the key to successfully migrating away from legacy technology environments lies in the development and nurture of various skills at the top level, all of which QA can help provide, from cloud to project management.

Accumulative challenges need depth and breadth in solutions. QA’s portfolio of solutions is specifically designed to instil this long-term growth culture and can be tailored to the unique needs of any workforce, with a focus on "learning to learn", improving the delivery of tech-based services now and well into the future.

While there are certainly steps business leaders can take internally – starting with the four-point list above – the consultative expertise of proven collaborators can help extract even greater and more sustainable value from learning and development, ensuring that both existing and potential talent is able to operate at optimum performance even as new skills, behaviours and practices update on a daily basis.

The requirement to create and leverage a growth mindset culture that is continually learning and evolving has become a key ingredient of competitive advantage. Whether through bespoke programmes, new apprenticeships or even hiring new talent, QA can offer seamless collaboration to help business leaders best identify and solve workforce pain points. Whatever the challenge, the focus is on your success.

QA has a genuine, rigorous focus on where the businesses they partner with need to get to, understanding the "why" in order to provide the "how". We take on your most difficult challenges; our expertise and experience are coupled with our high-impact, outcomes-driven approach to create future-focused, long-term solutions. QA supports businesses to develop skills strategies that align capabilities to goals, bringing new insight and innovation to the discussion.

To find out more, contact us to speak to a QA expert today.


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