Today’s workforce environment creates unique challenges for businesses. At a time when they are struggling with external, economic factors, they are also dealing with a new remote workforce and a need for new and different skills. One thing is certain: organizations will not be able to hire their way through this challenging time. The expense of replacing an employee often makes the prospect a non-starter. According to Gallup, the cost of replacing an employee can be anywhere from one-half to two times their salary. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall turnover rate in the U.S. is a whopping 57%. To meet the demands of the future, companies must be able to quickly upskill and reskill their existing workforce.

This also presents challenges. Many companies don’t know what skills they currently need now — and the skills they will need in the future. Additionally, most learning functions aren’t structured to meet the rapidly changing demands of the business. They are stuck with traditional content and modalities that lack agility. 

Instead of adhering to a skills taxonomy that is carved in stone, companies must build out a strong foundational set of skills to create a learning environment that allows them to adapt as things change. Rather than trying to look into a crystal ball to divine future skills, they should be positioned to build those skills as the need arises.

Another key concern is how we develop skills. According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2021 State of Learning Practices Study, some of the most effective learning tools are coaching and mentoring, on-the-job exercises, peer-to-peer learning and microlearning. This reflects a shift from traditional, formal learning to a more flow-of-work, continuous learning model.

And here’s the connection between this approach to skills and retention: the same study shows that companies with better employee retention are far more likely to use these kinds of tools and technologies than those where retention is weak.

As organizations look to the future and whatever it may bring, they must have the strategy and the technology to shift the DNA of their workforces to meet those challenges.

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

 About Brandon Hall Group Inc. 

Brandon Hall Group is the only professional development company that offers data, research, insights and certification to Learning and Talent executives and organizations. The best minds in Human Capital Management (HCM) choose Brandon Hall Group to help them create future-proof employee development plans for the new era. For over 28 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world influencing the development of over 10,000,000 employees and executives. Our HCM Excellence Awards was the first to recognize organizations for learning and talent and is the gold standard, known as the “Academy Awards of Human Capital Management.” Our cloud-based platform delivers evidence-based insights in the areas of Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Acquisition and HR/Workforce Management for corporate organizations and HCM solution providers. To learn more, visit For information on Brandon Hall Group’s research and how we can assist your organization, please visit

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David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.