As the economy revives, there is a growing realization that in order to continue to benefit from higher productivity levels, it is critical for the workforce—especially a smaller, leaner workforce—to maintain and improve skills. In the United States, this realization, along with the knowledge that many of the U.S. workforce’s most educated members are nearing retirement, is reawakening an interest in education, training and skills development for employees. Globally, an increase in demand is leading to skills and labor shortages in areas ranging from manufacturing hubs in China to IT and customer service hubs in India even while relatively high levels of unemployment persist overall.
Of course, the most innovative and effective organizations never stopped thinking about how to improve their employees’ learning and development. But all organizations, regardless of their commitment to building and maintaining a strong organizational learning culture in the midst of a deep recession, are likely to share some common challenges if the economy continues to improve in the coming months and years.