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We live and work in exciting times where change is constant. Today most organisational Cultural Survey results confirm that employees value training and developmental opportunities, yet the training budget is continually being slashed when cut back need to occur and this trend has been strong for more than 20 years. Yet we still wonder why there is a skill shortage in the marketplace, when this should be a no brainer!

Where investment in building workforce capability has been evident there has a positive impact on individual/team morale, performance and employee retention. These factors are key influences in servicing and meeting the expectations of your customers, which in turn equates to customer retention and achievement of your bottom line. The ‘building capability’ story is compelling and our internal HR statistics mirror the international research results should focus on this key area and yet we still cut the training budget – go figure! What is wrong with this picture is the million dollar question?

Many organisations fail to appreciate that the capability of their workforce could be a competitive advantage in the not so distant future. You need to be clear about your people development agenda, which should directly contribute to the shaping of your organisational DNA – the way you do things in your organisation.

If you’re not scared yet about this organisational issue, then consider this…about 46% of the Australian population sits in the Baby Boomer demographic band and about one-third of them will retire within the next 3 – 5 years, yet many organisations have not yet stopped to think about the direct impact of this endogenous problem to their business. This dilemma coupled with Generation Y job swapping every 12 – 18 months does not make the job any easier.

So what is the answer you may ask? A clear learning agenda underpinned by IT infrastructure, which acts as an enabler to encourage collaboration, support innovation and the sharing of best practice, along with the ability to disseminate and retrieve information from a knowledge management perspective.

Learning within your organisation should be as easy as a Google search – available anywhere, anytime, just in time! Speed to competency is the new ‘black’ as we face changing technologies, unskilled labour sources, coupled with more sophisticated customer audience/s. What is always important to bear in mind is speed to competency is one factor; retention of the knowledge is another. There needs to constant reinforcement in the workplace, where professional top-up of knowledge is second nature – part of your organisational DNA.

If this is not happening inside your organisation, then what are you going to do about it?