This post originally appeared on #Onward, the blog of YourMembership, another member of the Community Brands family. 

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report tells us many of today’s most in-demand skills didn’t exist 20 years ago. The report cites 65 percent of children now entering primary school will end up working in new types of jobs not existing today. Never has the workplace evolved so quickly.

Indeed, the skills needed to perform are shifting. Nowadays, employers and job candidates frequently look at each other across the commonly discussed skills gap – the gap between skills needed and those offered to perform a job role. 

Close the Skills Gap

As an association, you have a critical role to play in keeping your members prepared and at the cutting edge of skills needed to allow your industry to advance. As the skills sought by fast-moving employers become increasingly hard to come by, it’s your responsibility to help sustain a workforce up to the call of duty.

Professionals in your niche must be able to turn to you to refresh and re-skill. If you are successful, you will have members for life. So, how?

Prepare Your Members for the Future

  • Nearly 40 percent of association members want to utilize webinars and webcasts to observe training. As the use of video becomes more pervasive in our society – for both live and on-demand – video-based training also becomes a preferred and effective method to utilize.
  • While some learning is done to accumulate and certify broad competency, many times learning is accessed simply to conquer a current challenge someone faces. YouTube is the most commonly used outlet to find immediate knowledge. However, when the content becomes highly niche or technical, YouTube won’t suffice. Create a content library for both micro and nano learning full of short, searchable, just-in-time video clips or course segments allowing you to be where members turn when conquering a new, technical challenge.
  • Your members struggle to keep pace with change just like everyone else. While they may seek you out for just-in-time learning when they know they face a challenge, you will need to proactively push them to acquire skills they don’t yet realize are necessary. Defining learning paths will help automate this for you and propel members’ growth. Members will be engaged throughout their learning journeys, prompted to take additional training based on what they know and what they don’t know. Setting goals and establishing pathways will create an ongoing sense of accomplishment for members, give context to the training you provide, and ensure they continually progress along their learning journey.
  • To a busy professional, time is among their most valued assets. Each of your members has his or her own unique background, experience, and training. Don’t treat them all the same. Utilize assessments to create baseline awareness of skills and knowledge, and provide personalize training building off the baseline levels in a way prescribed for individuals (not the same for everyone). While this requires technology, the efficiency it creates will be tremendously valued. Many associations build enormous businesses selling this type of training in the form of personalized study guides for board and other types of exams.
  • Host refresher courses on the basics. Kicking off the dust of outdated skills with updates to include framing those skills within the context of new supporting processes or technologies. Re-skilling your members can also provide you with a new opportunity to offer additional certification or micro-credentials.
  • Connect members with non-traditional industry experts. For example, host a webinar with a recruiter to explain prioritizing competencies in candidates. Your members will place a premium relying on you to increase their own marketability.

Each industry shift in required skills creates a new opportunity for your association to deliver value to your members. You can learn more about how to create and deliver this value.

About the Author

Tristan Jordan is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Careers and Education Solutions at Community Brands.