In an industry that spans all facets of staffing and talent solutions, the skills of our recruiters mean everything. They impact the candidate experience, the effectiveness of workers we place, our ability to grow our networks and the value we deliver to our clients. The capabilities our people bring to the job aren’t accidental. Instead, they’re the result of a skills development approach that has evolved over more than 35 years in business.

Our development approach is always evolving, but the experience driving that evolution reveals insights that can help any organization ensure skills are not only learned but retained and refined over time. In short, we need to cultivate skills, and we need to make them stick. The keys to success are an understanding of who, why and how to train for lasting skills development.

Align Learning to the People You Are Training

The capabilities our people bring to their work are not easily learned. Employees need to be flexible. They must be open to new and different ways of working, with an ability to build relationships of trust with candidates, clients and colleagues. To fit these demands, we hire for integrity and train for skills.

For other organizations and different kinds of roles, there may be several indicators for potential. In some situations, a technical background may be important, while others may require a history of learning or teaching. In any case, when employers align education efforts to benefit the people they are training, the result is employees who can retain and develop the skills they learn.

Consider the “Why” Behind Skills Development

The “why” behind skills development is often different than we think. The real reason for training is not to teach a skill but to help people learn a skill. Adult education is a delicate balance of teaching and facilitating.

Training program attendees, particularly the ones with some experience, may not want to be told how to do their jobs. Facilitate two-way conversations whenever possible, and the result will be people who want to be engaged with the material.

Be Intentional About How You Deliver Training

For many roles, a simple class is not enough. When training for complex capabilities, we use a broader approach centered around four key concepts: learn, shadow, do and teach. The employees learn a particular tactic or idea in a classroom and then move to a live area, where experienced professionals demonstrate that skill or concept. Next, the employees put their learning into practice themselves. Finally, they “teach” what they learned back to the instructor. Together, these elements create employees who are confident in the new skills they acquire.

Equipping People to Learn

People are infinitely varied, and the types of skills we need to succeed will always evolve. For workers in nearly every industry, the demand for both soft skills and hard skills is growing. By focusing on helping workers embrace new capabilities, instead of remembering facts, employers can ensure that new skills are brought into the organization, while employees become learning-driven and take ownership of development as part of their careers.

Preparing for the Future

Teaching people to learn is more important than ever, as acquiring, retaining and evolving skills will make the difference for successful employers and workers of the future. By embracing a skills development approach that recognizes and accommodates the many factors that impact learning, organizations can ensure their employees are well-prepared to handle the complex challenges of the modern business world.