Keeping up with technological advancements has always posed a significant challenge for businesses of every size. On the one hand, technology is a powerful ally to every business professional, giving them immense opportunities to grow their business. On the other hand, technology is the root cause of the ever-growing skill gap in employees.
While it serves as a drawback for employees, it is an even bigger problem for employers. The reason is that an unskilled workforce creates many disadvantages for the business. However, there are two possible and viable solutions to this problem. The first solution is to hire more employees with advanced skills while downsizing the current workforce. But hiring and training initiatives take up massive resources and time, putting the business in a tough spot.
The other solution is to consider upskilling your employees and help them upgrade their skill set by providing training and education. The latter solution is more reliable and takes up fewer resources than the former solution. Keeping that in mind, let us discuss the importance of upskilling employees.
Importance of upskilling employees
Upskilling employees benefits both the company and the workers. To shed some light on how it benefits both parties, let’s discuss some points.
1. Influences work culture positively
Work culture tremendously impacts employee performance and retention rates. Apart from other strategies, providing your employees with an environment to learn and grow promotes a positive environment. What’s more, you can influence work culture positively with an MBA program that your top-performing employees can enroll in, as sponsored by the organization.
Besides, several studies validate that employee learning and development opportunities significantly boost company culture.
2. Saves time and money
If you choose to hire a new candidate, finding the suitable one alongside the recruitment process takes time. In addition to that, the process will consume extra expenses spent on the recruitment process and then training of the fresh employees. On the other hand, if you decide on upskilling your current employees, you will have to spend far fewer resources in training them.
At the same time, their current positions won’t go vacant.
3. Increases employee retention
When employees are not provided with career advancement and skill development opportunities, they look for better opportunities elsewhere. However, suppose you choose to upskill your employees. In that case, it helps create a positive and learning corporate culture that increases employee retention.
Since learning and development programs boost workplace engagement and lessen burnout, you’ll be able to retain your workforce for longer.
4. Improves performance
Unarguably, your current employees are familiar with the past and present work requirements and job responsibilities. When you upskill these very individuals, you improve the output they give to the company. As a result, by conducting training and learning activities for them, you ultimately pave the way for the organization to keep up with the current market demands.
Besides, upskilling employees also motivate workers to perform better. All of these aspects help the company in achieving its objectives easily.
How to upskill employees
Now that we understand the cruciality of upskilling, let’s discuss ways to upskill your current employees.
1. Make an organization plan
Even a well-curated project wouldn’t work out seamlessly if you pursue it haphazardly. Therefore, you must start by establishing an organizational plan. This plan will identify the skills and abilities your employees already possess and the areas where there is a skill gap. Then shortlist the employees you think have the potential and capacity to upskill.
2. Identify the areas where upskilling is most needed
While working with your HR and other department heads, identify the functions and roles that require adaptation to new systems or technology. Apart from that, consider the technological, economic, and social impact of this process.
Similarly, take account of what your company may need in the future to thrive in the industry. For example, companies are now looking for employees who are adept with process automation, simulations, machine learning, etc.
After narrowing down the upskilling needs, assemble a team to create a plan to provide necessary resources and training for upskilling your employees.
3. Choose the training method(s)
Nowadays, you can use several training methods when planning to upskill your employees. For example, you can provide sessions and workshops where trained teachers and experienced consultants train the employees. You can also opt for external training classes by signing up the employees for seminars or classes.
Another method is to provide coaching by experienced managers who are adept with the required skills. The hands-on training technique is also useful since it teaches skilled employees practical ways to work with certain technology or systems. And if the conditions are remote, you can use online training to provide learning opportunities for your employees.
4. Provide a support system
As employees learn new systems and work with the latest technology while adapting to new practices in the workplace, they require immense support. As their employer, it is your utmost responsibility to provide them with a solid and reliable support system. As a result, you can lower employee resistance to change and workplace transformations.
Some important components that a support system should include are:
- Frequent communication with employees who are under training to assess their progress
- Opening communication paths between colleagues who are under training together
- A well-planned and professional onboarding setup once the upskilling training is complete
- Effective management of the whole process, which will include feedback of their performance, giving rewards and recognition whenever necessary
5. Build a learning culture
Learning is an ongoing process. When you initiate an upskilling program, you get to transform the whole corporate culture and create an environment that encourages learning. Apart from the training, managers should provide their team with feedback and guidance whenever necessary. Since upskilling is not limited to a specific time, it must become a part of the company’s business strategy.
The importance of upskilling your employees is significant for the company’s smooth workflow and success. Organizations that invest in developing their employees reap several advantages in the long run. You will find that you are nurturing a relationship of commitment and will have higher chances of retaining them.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that every person is motivated by different things. And so, how well you understand this phenomenon will dictate the success of your upskilling project.