Importance of Skill-Focused Learning

In an attempt to gather better data for decision-making, enable efficient and sustainable technology, and scale digital skills among netizens, the UK government is taking necessary steps to end its longstanding reliance on legacy applications by 2025, according to the Roadmap for digital and data, 2022 to 2025 policy paper.

By 1940, 40-hour work weeks became the law in the US. Decades later, there’s a heavy case against it and employees worldwide feel like the hours should be reduced, giving birth to four-day work weeks across many companies. Microsoft’s Japan subsidiary experimented with a four-day work week and the results were astounding. Productivity increased by 40% and the time spent in meetings was reduced by a staggering 50%, according to Microsoft Japan (2019b)’s Work Life Choice Challenge four-day workweek experiment.

Companies across the world are placing their employees at the centre again, but this time with a more empathetic approach and a focus on skill-focused learning. Employee-centric policies like permanent work-from-home contracts, flexible work hours, inclusivity, volunteer time off initiatives, and access to mental health specialists are only some of the ways that organisations are putting their best forward. 

You might also be interested to read: Lifelong Learners: An Asset For Companies

Leadership teams are now expected to lead with heart, with empathy. A skill that’s often overlooked and is a pressing need in today’s times. All of this only goes to show one thing. The workplace is transforming. What it leaves behind as we pick up the pieces is a cavernous skills gap. 

Skills shortage: a serious threat

  • According to a Deloitte Report, 94% of CEOs expect to see talent shortages for particular roles. 
  • A Korn Ferry report shows that 85 million jobs may go unfilled by 2030 owing to a lack of skilled people. 
  • In a Salesforce survey, two-thirds of respondents said they’re unprepared for social media skills that the workplace will require over the next five years.

What can HR and leadership teams and organisations do then? 

Empower the workforce with skill-focused learning, of course. 

Skill-focused learning: Ways to upskill your workforce

Evaluate the current skill set: Employees now expect their place of employment to provide them with upskilling opportunities. Start by assessing the skill set your workforce brings to the table today. Use this data as the standard and build upon it. Map skills and ascertain where the gap lies and then chart out which areas need upskilling.

Plan for the future: The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020 emphasises the numerous coveted careers in cloud computing, marketing, people and culture, content production, data and AI, product development, engineering, and sales in the years to come. Align business goals with employee upskilling to forge forth. Design a plan that will carry the organisation for the next five years keeping a pulse on the changing industry trends.

Set tangible goals: Measure your employees’ growth and progress every step of the way and set achievable goals. As every employee is unique, it is important to create skill-focused learning programs that are also adaptable. Ensure that goals set are challenging, motivating, specific, and also time-bound. Allow employees the benefit of error and learning from mistakes committed. 

Involve employees: Employees should be able to choose the medium of upskilling. Through one-on-one interviews, surveys, and other data collection methods, employees can decide whether they want the upskilling to take place through instructor-led training, peer-to-peer learning, employee-mentor training, or even self-learning. 

For companies to grow and thrive, the only way forward is to upskill and fill the skills gap across organisations and verticals. Helping employees gain new skills is an excellent way to invest in them and improve the organisation’s business avenues.


  • Policy paper Roadmap for digital and data, 2022 to 2025 | GOV.UK | June 09, 2022 
  • 40-hour work week: The history and evolution | Culture Amp 
  • Four-Day Workweek: The Microsoft Japan Experience | Courtney Gatlin-Keener, MBA University of the Incarnate Word Ryan Lunsford, PhD University of the Incarnate Word 
  • Fall 2022 Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey | Deloitte  
  • The $8.5 Trillion Talent Shortage | Korn Ferry
  • Salesforce Launches Global Digital Skills Index: In-Depth Insights from 23,000 Workers | Salesforce | January 27, 2022 
  • The Future of Jobs Report 2020 | World Economic Forum | October, 2020
  • The complete 8-step guide on how to upskill your employees successfully | Learnit

You might also be interested to read: Lifelong Learners: An Asset For Companies

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