BPP at the forefront of building organisational capability

Emma O’Dell, Director of Client Capability, BPP, explains how BPP’s organisational capability approach is helping their clients identify skills gaps and develop their people.
By: | November 16, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt and change the business environment, many organisations are finding it increasingly important to prioritise their learning and development (L&D) efforts.

This can be particularly pertinent when now, more than ever, business leaders and employees are wanting more from their L&D teams, observed Emma O’Dell, Director of Client Capability, BPP, a global leader in education.

Speaking with HRM Asia, she explained, “Business leaders and employees want quick solutions, delivered in a variety of ways that really shift the dial in terms of capability.

“This shift is inevitable, given the fast-changing business world and digitised landscape that business competes, cementing the imperative need for all professions to have highly-tuned people and technical skills to do their jobs; for today, tomorrow and the future.”

An immediate challenge facing L&D teams, O’Dell highlighted, is keeping abreast of the research and thought leadership that discusses future skills, while meeting the internal requirement to continually identify and understand the current and future capability gaps by business area, job, family and more broadly, across the organisation.

Unfortunately, L&D managers are hampered by the lack of time, resource or knowledge to prioritise this agenda, even though it is increasing in priority, O’Dell said, before adding, “Our organisational capability approach was designed to support employers with this requirement. Client centricity and embracing change are values at the heart of BPP’s strategy – and our organisational capability proposition is in perfect alignment with those.”

Building careers through education

For the best part of four decades, BPP has been providing client-centric consultation services to assist in the development of organisations’ future people and talent strategy, while also offering a portfolio of customised programmes to help address skill gaps.

O’Dell explained, “We do this by deepening our client relationships and truly understanding their objectives and future workforce plans to ensure our strategies align.”

Some of the typical business challenges BPP supports include, identification and priority agenda for a future skills framework; solutions-oriented progammes to address identified skills gaps; and end-to-end capability analysis.

BPP’s approach, O’Dell highlighted, is to adopt a bespoke consultancy methodology and toolkit, known as an organisational capability methodology. “This process helps to diagnose skills gaps and training needs across organisations,” she elaborated.

“Built through in-depth industry, professional, institute and employer feedback, we utilise our innovative skills matrices to identify current and future skills for key roles. Priority skills are then heat-mapped for in-depth profiling across roles at all levels, and an employer specific skills report provided.”

With this report, organisations are provided with recommendations on training solutions to enhance their employees’ existing skills and develop completely new skills that were identified as high training priorities throughout the process.

Reflecting on BPP’s client success stories, O’Dell emphasised the irrelevance of industry or job function. “From insurance, to accountancy and law, the consultancy we provide gives client a wealth of skills data on their people, arming L&D functions with the business case needed to accelerate the adoption of new programmes, as well as mechanisms to attribute ROI for training they’ve since deployed.”

Top skills for the future

As the nature of work continues to change and a new world of work emerges, the onus is on organisations to identify the skills that their employees will require to strive into the future.

To provide insights into this process, BPP uses their ‘organisational capability’ process to collect market research and intelligence on the changing skills landscape. This is done for the job families BPP typically train, while future skills that span all job families and job roles across all organisations are also identified.

Announcing the top skills of interest highlighted by BPP’s research, O’Dell said, “Data, digital and technology are much needed as employers continue with their digital transformation journey. Leading in a digital world also ranks, as leaders need to create organisational cultures that foster innovation and collaboration, while managing teams virtually through change, complexity and ambiguity.

Customer centricity, coupled with design thinking and computational and data-driven decision making skills are critical for employers to remain focused on the customers. Continuous learning, developing emotional intelligence and resilience are important skills for employers to better help their employees manage their mental health, improve personal effectiveness and drive productivity.”

BPP also sees learning trends evolving in line with the changing nature of work, where clients are now requesting an integrated approach to drive immediate and measurable results. “Our short courses are designed to do just that, by enabling hands-on learning and provide opportunities to actively apply the knowledge gained direct to the workplace,” said O’Dell.

Identifying skills and redefining L&D is a continuous process

As organisations continue to plan their recovery from the pandemic, are they elevating their workforce capabilities and addressing the gaps between current skills and future opportunities?

Urging employers to do so if they have not started, O’Dell said, “The employers we’ve worked with would testify that our approach in assessing skills, has been critical to obtaining buy-in and securing budget for new training programmes.

“We always advise that data is best used to focus L&D strategies, ensuring return on programmes is maximized. Our diagnostic tools and heatmapping process provide this output, allowing priority skills to be addressed first, with the highest business impact achieved.”

She is quick to emphasise however, that BPP’s skills diagnostic approach is not limited to L&D functions. Instead, employers should keep an open mind and increase leadership buy-in by looking to embed identified skills into their ‘recruitment’, ‘performance’ and ‘talent management’ processes.

“Further embedding those skills across the full HR lifecycle can provide a competitive edge when buying and building the capabilities employers need in the future,” O’Dell concluded.

For more information on how BPP can help you identify skills gaps and develop your people, click here.