Developing Business Skills for Organizational Success

Most of us would ascribe to the notion that workforce development is essential for a competitive organization, but how many of us actually contemplate what that means?  The U.S. Department of Labor suggests that the essential skills for success in the workplace are:

  • Resource management skills
  • Information management skills
  • Personal interaction skills
  • Systems behavior and performance skills
  • Technology utilization skills

As we contemplate what this means for each of our organizations, resource management skills might relate to time management skills, or managing physical waste.  If we are pondering what information management skills are referring to, we might be considering data interpretation skills or critical thinking skills.  Personal interaction skills might have one thinking about how our team members work and play together.  Systems behavior and performance skills may have us contemplating cause and effect relationships.  Technology utilization skills such as troubleshooting or leveraging technology.  All of these skills are important and have a direct impact on our decision-making, which influences our organizations.

We know that objective knowledge acquisition and skill development are interrelated.  The process for learning can include structured or experiential activities as an individual or group.  The process works like this, the employee engages in an individual or group-structured activity and systematically reviews that activity, which leads to new or modified knowledge.  If learning and skill development occurs this way, a self-correcting element to learning occurs through the modification of the employee knowledge and skills over time.  Key to these knowledge acquisition and skill development efforts is the individual employee.  Employees need to be a willing participants and vessels in the acquisition of knowledge and skill development.

For knowledge and skill enhancement to be effective the employee must accept responsibility for their own behavior, actions, and learning.  There needs to be some accountability and measurement of levels of success.  A group or an organization cannot learn for its individual members.

Second, each employee must actively participate in the individual or group-structured activities.  In a group setting participation is very important in the knowledge enhancement process and the skill development process.  Everyone has different interpretations and experiences which contribute to group and organizational knowledge, especially in our diverse world.  In group settings is where much of the self-correcting benefits are reaped.

Third, each employee must be open to new information, new skills, new ideas, and experimentation.  This requires an open attitude that is accepting of change, which is derived through the learning process.

A well-structured knowledge and skill development program takes time and money to develop, but can have significant positive impacts on organizational behavior by creating more fulfilled employees and groups.  I often hear business owner complain about the cost to develop knowledge, but consider this.  What is the costs of employees who are not motivated?  What is the cost of employees missing work?  What is the cost of employee turnover?  What is the cost of poor customer service?  Perhaps these costs do not show up on our financial statements as line item expenses, but I want to assure you that they exist.

A few final questions, the Association for Talent Development compiled its 2016 State of the Industry Report based on what organizations spent on training and development per employee in 2015.  The dollar amount was $1,252 per employee.  Where do you fall compared to this national statistic?  What percent of your annual budget is dedicated to training and development?

As always, if you have questions or comments please e-mail mquaintance@keiseruniversity.edu or call me at (239) 277-1336.

Mike “Q” Quaintance, MBA / Business Department Chair, Keiser University Fort Myers