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Decoding #4 – Skills development plan: pitfalls to avoid

Discover “Decoding”, a mini-series of articles on skills management and the common pitfalls associated with implementing some key HR processes such as: the creation of a jobs and skills repository, the strategic workforce planning (a legal obligation in France known as GPEC), the internal mobility and the skills development plan.
– With the testimonial from Jocelyn Martin, HR consultant, ex-HR Director of Stago.



Today, it is clear that in order to stay competitive, organizations must be able to identify the skills they have, those they need to develop, but also the skills they lack and need to acquire to improve their performance tomorrow.


In other words, implementing and conducting a skills management policy has become a real strategic tool for organizations.

While numerous companies and public organizations have initiated steps in this direction, many of them have found out that the HR processes on which they rely prove to be undersized or unsuited to the constant changes in jobs and skills.

In order to understand how to optimize these processes, we end this mini-series with the important topic of training. What are the pitfalls frequently encountered in skills development plans and how can they be avoided?



1. What is a skills development plan?


The skills development plan, which has replaced the “training plan” since January 1, 2019 in France, encompasses all the training actions from which a company’s employees can benefit. It is reviewed every year, and unlike the CPF (“Compte Personnel de Formation” in France), it is funded by the employer.



2. What are the pitfalls frequently encountered in the context of a skills development plan?


When setting up this process, HR teams often observe that:


 Teams deal with the lack of skills “on the go”:


Organizations often realize the lack of a skill when they are on the brink. Indeed, it is not uncommon for managers to discover, following a customer request, that no one in-house is able to complete the project immediately.

« In France, we collect training needs every year and it becomes an ineffective ritual. It's supposedly based on strategic needs, but the truth is that we don't know the skills required to fulfil these needs... A skill is something very precise. »

Jocelyn Martin, HR consultant, ex-HR Director of Stago

 Training programs are not highly cost-effective:


Despite their investment in training, many organizations do not sufficiently anticipate and/or offer their employees content adapted to their real training needs.

This is not a voluntary decision; rather, it stems from the fact that they often lack the tools to do so.

However, the higher the lack of relevance of the training courses offered, the lower the Return-on-Investment (ROI) of the skills development plan.



3. How to avoid these pitfalls?


Here are 3 keys to optimizing a skills development plan:


 Take into account market trends in order to anticipate future business needs:


It is important to note that a relevant development plan is based on reliable market data targeting skills in decline and those highly-sought-after on which to capitalize.


 Establish a reliable and accurate skills map :


Which is a fundamental resource that encapsulates an inventory of the skills available within the organization. It provides a valuable working basis for identifying the training actions to be conducted in order to achieve the organization’s strategic objectives.


 Mapping the organization’s training catalogue:


It is essential to understand how the organization’s training offer is articulated and how it relates to business needs: which trainings need to be removed, which need to be kept, and which new trainings need to be brought over.


Related: Training: the key role of the jobs & skills repository



When it comes to skills management projects, digital solutions and AI are powerful allies for organizations. It is for this reason that Boostrs has created an ecosystem of solutions that support you in implementing key HR processes, including the skills mapping.


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