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5 skills development tips to grow your business: From strong leadership to AI

Ensure you’re investing in the right skills for your organisation with key insights from HR and L&D professionals, as explored in our Skills Discovery Sessions.

06 June 2024

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At City & Guilds, we are committed to helping organisations build the skilled workforce they need to thrive in today's rapidly evolving business landscape.

Last year, we launched our Skills Discovery Sessions, designed to provide employers with an accessible, structured and dedicated space for HR and learning and development (L&D) professionals to analyse and review their skills challenges and development needs.

Here, our client manager Joe Bell shares five key insights from the sessions so far to support your organisation’s skills development strategy:  

1. Leadership capability is the cornerstone of organisational success

One of the most prevalent themes we've encountered is the need for robust leadership capability development. Many organisations have shared their struggles with "accidental managers" – individuals promoted into leadership roles without receiving the necessary training to lead and inspire their teams effectively. 

Effective leadership at all levels is the cornerstone of a high-performing and engaged workforce. If teams are not led by strong and inspiring leaders it can create organisational challenges including ineffective communication, a lack of vision or direction and low staff morale and engagement. This can result in poor decision-making, confusion, costly mistakes, high staff turnover and reputational risk.

By investing in leadership development programmes tailored to your organisation’s specific needs, you can equip your managers with the skills to create a positive work culture, drive innovation and navigate change with confidence. 


“Effective leadership is the cornerstone of a high-performing and engaged workforce.” 


2. Progression pathways are key for retaining talent and fostering growth 

In today's competitive talent landscape, providing clear progression pathways is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. Employees seek opportunities for growth and development, and organisations that fail to offer such pathways risk losing their best and brightest to competitors.

Growing talent internally can help business retain organisational knowledge, boost employee engagement, increase staff loyalty and create a steady pipeline of talent.

During our Skills Discovery Sessions, we've worked with employers to identify gaps in their progression pathways and develop strategies to create more structured and transparent career advancement opportunities. By aligning skills development with organisational goals and individual aspirations, organisations can build a culture of continuous learning and ensure staff are best placed to achieve strategic aims. 

3. Embrace the future of work by upskilling digital skills and AI technologies 

The rapid pace of technological advancement has disrupted virtually every industry, making digital skills and an understanding of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) essential for maintaining a competitive edge.

As AI and digital technologies become more prevalent in the workplace, organisations that don’t embrace these advancements run the risk of falling behind by missing opportunities to improve efficiencies, enhance customer experiences, and gain key data insights. It could also present challenges attracting and retaining talent as individuals look for opportunities to develop new skills. 

Our conversations with employers have highlighted the pressing need to upskill and reskill their workforces to keep pace with these digital transformations. By integrating digital literacy and AI-focused training into their L&D strategies, organisations can future-proof their operations and position themselves as industry leaders. 

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4. In-house training can help organisations take control of skills development

Many employers have expressed a desire to take greater control over their skills development initiatives, recognising the value of building in-house capabilities. By cultivating a team of skilled trainers and subject matter experts within their organisations, employers can tailor learning programmes to their unique needs, ensuring relevance and maximising impact.   

We can support organisations who are on this journey with our flexible training recognition services. By externally quality assuring programmes, you can feel confident that your training is generating the right outcomes for your business needs and your learners, while also adding credibility to the programme.   


“There’s a pressing need to upskill and reskill the workforce to keep pace with digital transformations.” 


5. Establish a learning culture to drive continuous growth 

Ultimately, successful skills development hinges on creating a culture that encourages continuous learning.  

By building a learning culture, organisations can unlock the full potential of their workforce by enabling individuals to proactively explore opportunities for growth, share knowledge, and drive innovation. This culture shift not only enhances organisational performance but also positions the organisation as an attractive destination for top talent looking for personal and professional development.

During our Skills Discovery Sessions, we explore strategies to embed a lifelong learning mindset into organisational culture, because organisations and careers are transformed when people have the right skills. 


Building a road map for skills development, together

As we continue to engage with employers through our Skills Discovery Sessions, we remain committed to providing tailored insights and solutions to address their unique skills challenges. By collaborating closely with organisations, we can co-create strategies that align skills development with organisational goals, future-proof operations, and cultivate a workforce equipped to thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape. 

If you are an employer and want to speak with our team you can find out more on Skills Discovery Sessions page or . 


Read our reports for more insights

> Learn more about skills challenges impacting organisations in our latest Training Trends research report.

> Explore the benefits of high-quality workplace training in our Investing in Skills for Growth report.