A recent McKinsey and Co. survey of global organizations shows that companies are now treating capability-building as one of the top three priorities. Capability-building is a process where organizations identify and meet developmental challenges.

Capability-building has become more significant in India and China, the survey shows.

Companies have now also started thinking about functional capabilities such as skills in strategy, operations, and marketing and sales as the most important in business performance.

Executives surveyed by McKinsey said that among challenges in their capability-building programmes, the most pressing are a lack of learning-related metrics and difficulty in ensuring the continuous improvement of skills, McKinsey said on its insights blog.

Organizations have also shifted the focus of their spending on capability-building, according to the consulting firm. Around 33% of the respondents ranked front line employees as the group with the most resources for learning and skill development. In 2010, when the previous survey was conducted, only 22% said so. Senior and executive leaders as a spending priority followed front line employees.

Meanwhile, fast-growing organizations in regions like China and India face notable capability gaps as they expand, according to McKinsey. Regardless of region, though, most executives agree that they are not building capabilities for purely competitive reasons, the survey adds.

Some solutions to the challenges to capability-building from McKinsey include diagnosing the capabilities systematically, designing and delivering learning to address individual needs, and align with and link business performance.

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