As most businesses approach the end of their fourth fiscal quarter, employees prepare for annual performance reviews with their managers. Review season is often a time of angst, and even if you’ve technically hit your goals for the year, there’s often a sense—whether it comes from employees or their managers—that you could be doing more. 

Management teams are now refocusing their efforts to create better performance evaluations. In fact, a recent Deloitte study shows that 79 percent of executives rate the redesign of performance management as a high priority, up from 71 percent three years ago. And a new area that many management teams are now adding to their tally of metrics is skills development and training. 

Fortunately, adding skills training as a tangible performance metric is a strategy that has positive implications for both businesses and employees. As you soldier through this year’s performance reviews, here are a few tips to keep in mind and share with your manager for the next review cycle. 

Employers Are Increasingly Open to Skills Training

According to the CareerBuilder Hiring Forecast 2018 survey, 66 percent of employers plan to train and hire workers who may not have all the skills they need but show potential to excel. It’s getting harder for managers to hire now for the skills they’ll need in two to three years, given the rapid advancement and adoption of new technologies that change the way companies are building products and conducting more efficient operations. So, they turn to skills training and ongoing career development of existing employees to keep the workforce optimized for digital and technological advancements.   

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Employees Can Take Charge of Their Careers

While many employers are taking the lead to incorporate skills training and certification into their HR programs, employees should still take the opportunity to raise the issue with management. A Pew Research study reports that almost three out of every four adults agree that individuals are responsible for making sure that the workforce has the right skills and education to be successful in today's economy, and that self-directed learning is driving the need for new credentialing systems. 

Many of today’s skills training programs result in prized certifications that not only verify critical new skillsets but also provide measurable proof of business goal alignment. 

Improve Long-term Career Mobility

Career development is an iterative process, as skills are attained, developed and improved over the long haul. Each time you add new skills to your repertoire, you up your value to your organization and enhance your chances of progressing internally to that next role. 

Companies are becoming more open to creating new ways for employees to develop skills and try out new roles while staying on the job. Quantitative research shows that offering career mobility opportunities increases employee engagement (49 percent of respondents say so), improves productivity (39 percent) and builds teamwork (39 percent), so it pays for them to encourage cross-pollination of skills across the organization. 

Hot Training Programs That Will Put You Ahead of Your Peers

The hottest fields in today’s digital economy include a wide range of technology-based roles that demand advanced training to build real-world expertise. 

Digital marketing jobs are some of the fastest growing and they include evolving needs for search engine optimization (SEO) specialists, social media experts, and advanced training in web analytics. Certifications like Digital Marketing Course cover all of these areas and then some. 

IT and development organizations are always on the lookout for data scientists that are proficient in the most powerful analytics platforms and cybersecurity professionals that learn hacking techniques to protect their infrastructures. 

Some of the other top training today include project management, cloud computing, Agile and Scrum, and IT service management. The list goes on and on; there is a wealth of opportunity to those who want to invest in their careers.

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Skills Training Is a Metric That Can Make a Difference in Performance

Motivation is a clear driver of success for most workers, but when it comes to performance reviews, many just don’t feel motivated. According to a Gallup survey, only 14 percent of employees strongly agree that the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve, and only two in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. 

What’s more, a CareerBuilder survey reported that 57 percent of workers want to learn new skillsets. Put two and two together and you’ve got a great reason to pursue skills training to provide a more enabling work environment, and one with better career mobility. 

So with annual review season looking workers straight in the eye, this is no time to blink. Employers want their top performers to be entrepreneurial and generate ideas on how they can become more valued members of the workforce. Online skills training is a tangible, pragmatic metric that has clear benefits for both employers and the workers that give the company its true value.  

About the Author

Stuart RauchStuart Rauch

Stuart Rauch is a 25-year product marketing veteran and president of ContentBox Marketing Inc. He has run marketing organizations at several enterprise software companies, including NetSuite, Oracle, PeopleSoft, EVault and Secure Computing. Stuart is a specialist in content development and brings a unique blend of creativity, linguistic acumen and product knowledge to his clients in the technology space.

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