Durable Vs. Perishable - Keywords That Unlock The Full Potential Of Skill Development Strategies In The New Age

Durable Vs. Perishable - Keywords That Unlock The Full Potential Of Skill Development Strategies In The New Age

June 25, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a far-reaching transformation of businesses. While this has led to the urgency of companies to upskill their existing workforce, it is also accelerating the pace at which some professional skills become obsolete.

Durable vs. Perishable skills
Durable skills are prioritized in management positions

“About 10 years ago, I was hired for my expertise in office computing. However, my computer and technology skills are currently far behind the fresh graduates. Other seemingly potential skills, such as language proficiency, are quickly becoming less critical, and more as the norm due to the rising job requirements and common ground level” said Mr. Trung, a 35-year-old office worker.

In fact, technology or language skills are not obsolete, but the rapid growth of the digital economy has led to increasingly stricter requirements for these skills. Concurrently, there are numerous new skills which present a challenge for companies in skill training. They have to figure out exactly which skills are durable and which are perishable that require immediate training for their employees.

Skills come with an expiry date

Due to the widespread automation and technology, skills may become out of date just after 5 years. Especially the skills involved in developing high-tech or managing data for new products, services and SaaS are becoming easily dated and falling into disuse. Given that businesses continue to develop 5-year-upskilling-and-reskilling programs without proper skills expiry evaluation, it’s expected for those “updated” skills to turn into “outdated” in the next 10 years.

Therefore, according to HR experts, businesses must place a greater emphasis on the expiration of skills. Chief Learning Officer magazine – a multimedia publication focused on the importance, benefits, and advancements of a properly trained workforce, skills can be categorized into three groups:

  • Durable skills are important skills regardless of technology innovation. They are fundamental skills with a lifespan of over 7.5 years (the amount of time since the skill is formed until it becomes irrelevant). This category includes skills such as design thinking, leadership, effective communication, and project management.
  • Semi-durable skills are skills based on sets of knowledge and specific fields, with a lifespan between 2.5 and 7.5 years. Typical examples of semi-durable skills include the design and development of content for social network frameworks or Scrum software development frameworks, etc.
  • Perishable skills are specific skills that remain relevant for less than 2.5 years. These skills are related to a certain technical job such as machine operation or programming languages – which are constantly changing with time.
3-step guide for building an effective skills development training program

Once skills are classified by their durability, companies may find it easier to design L&D programs that suit better the level of each employee while still meeting the business objectives. Employees should be introduced to perishable skills training programs as soon as they are onboard or when those skills appear to ensure seamless operation. Durable and semi-durable skills will be designed exclusively for managerial positions or long-term L&D programs, thereby enhancing the workforce in the long run.

Besides, it is crucial to re-evaluate and correlate the employee’s development roadmap with businesses’ goal as well as current operational situation. There are numerous skills and employers need to select the appropriate ones in order to design an effective training framework.

With many years of expertise in the HR sector, Ms. Tiêu Yến Trinh – CEO of Talentnet, emphasizes the importance of a suitable framework for skill training so that businesses can optimize their time and effort by avoiding excessive time spent on unnecessary skills.

1. Assessing the practicability prior to establishing skills development training programs for employees through skill cluster mapping: In particular, companies have to create a map of necessary skills for certain jobs, thereby assessing workers’ ability to rotate to another role by leveraging their available skills.

2. Determining the importance of these skills for the employees’ current positions by classifying skills based on durability: Detail orientation is key to the success of this process. Employers must consult with different groups of employees in every department to design a practical and effective training path.

3. Evaluating the necessity of skills for the long-term business objectives in the future: Employers may consider skipping temporary skills that are not essential for business development to save time and investment. Instead, implementing a durable skills training program for their employees will strengthen their understanding of complicated procedures and provide them with opportunities to contribute to the business in the long run.

“The most important factor contributing to the success or failure of a training program leans on the comprehension of what skills the companies require and what workers truly desire. Whether employers opt for durable or perishable skills and regardless of the roadmap they want to choose, practicality must be among their top priorities. Thus, training programs will support both the current operation and the future objectives of the business”, said Ms. Trinh.

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