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Leadership Advisory

Upskilling 101: Need of the Hour

By March 24, 2023April 17th, 2023No Comments

For organizations today, it is challenging to keep up with the pace of rapidly evolving technologies; but it holds powerful business opportunities. In this scenario, it becomes imperative for companies to embark on an upskilling revolution that encourages employees to train across departments, learn skills, and equip themselves with new and exciting capabilities.

What is Upskilling?

For the uninitiated, “upskilling” is acquiring new knowledge, skills, or abilities to enhance one’s professional development and effectiveness in the workplace, often for future career advancement. Upskilling can take many forms, such as attending workshops or training programs, taking online courses, pursuing advanced degrees or certifications, participating in mentoring, and coaching programs, or simply building skills in the course of your daily work. Employers may encourage upskilling among their employees as it offers so much more in this highly competitive terrain.

Why should you Upskill? 

  • Staying Relevant: Rapid technological advancements and changes in industry practices mean that skills that were once highly valued, become obsolete faster than we think. Upskilling allows you to stay relevant, and adapt to changes, if not stay ahead of the curve.
  • Career Advancement: Most of us look at adding value to our work as it sets a path to personal career growth. Upskilling increases the chances manifold in career advancement by making you an asset to current or potential employers.
  • Increased Productivity: Learning new skills can help you become more efficient and productive in your current job. This can result in increased job satisfaction and even higher pay as you are able to deliver better results.
  • Personal Growth: Upskilling can work wonders, you may discover newer prospects. You may develop new interests and passions, which can even lead to a career change or entrepreneurial endeavour.

How can leaders encourage employees to Upskill?

  • Provide Training and Development Opportunities: Leaders can provide employees with training and development opportunities that are directly related to their job roles and career aspirations. This can include workshops, conferences, online courses, and mentoring programs.
  • Offer Incentives: Leaders can offer a multitude of incentives to employees who upskill, such as bonuses, promotions, or salary increases. These incentives will motivate employees to take the initiative to upskill and show that the company values their learning & development.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Leaders can set clear expectations for employees to upskill and make it a priority for their career growth within the company. This can be communicated to the employees during performance reviews, goal-setting sessions, and regular check-ins.
  • Create a Culture of Learning: Leaders can foster a culture of learning within the organization by promoting a growth mindset, encouraging curiosity, and providing opportunities for employees to share their knowledge and skills with one another.
  • Lead by Example: Leading by example is a sure-shot way to make your employees or team follow suit. Leaders who upskill themselves by demonstrating the importance of lifelong learning and personal development inspire employees to consider upskilling as an organic step up in their career journey.

Ways to upskill workforce

Upskilling a necessity in 2023

With the pandemic, high-scale digitization, great resignation and now the layoffs, we have experienced tremendous turbulence in just a couple of years. The need for upskilling couldn’t have been more crucial than now:  

  • The pace of technological change and disruption in the workplace continues to accelerate, making it essential for individuals to keep up with the latest skills and tools in their industry.
  • Ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to shifts in the labour market, with many workers needing to reskill or upskill to remain employable in the changing landscape.
  • The demand for skilled workers in emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data science, and renewable energy continues to grow. Upskilling in these areas can open up new career opportunities and increase earning potential.
  • Upskilling can help individuals remain competitive in the job market, advance their careers, and adapt to the changing needs of their employers. It can also lead to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and personal growth. 

Upskill strategies for employees

  • Employee L&D Plans: An employee development plan that incorporates certain skills into the employee’s learning objectives and annual goals is an ideal way to implement upskilling strategies. By adopting these development plans, the employer is able to prepare for their employees’ futures by providing them with the skills they need in the workplace. Organizations can enhance their bottom line by providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to be proficient and productive in their roles. Any goals set for employees should be specific, attainable yet challenging, and time-bound. Ensure that your employee development plans to support the overall company’s objectives and also meet each employee’s individual development needs.
  • Skill Gap Analysis: HR teams conduct skills gap analyses to determine whether their workforce’s current skills match the company’s overall needs. The outcome of a skill gap analysis is a list of skills employees already possess, need to develop, and need to improve. Using online/offline courses and training programs, you can fill in the skill gap and build a skilled workforce that can meet your company’s goals. 
  • Employee Training Method: People learn in different ways – some are visual learners, some need hands-on experience, some need guidance from an instructor, while some learn by practice and so on. Identifying the best employee training method requires L&D teams to understand their employees’ learning styles and take into account other factors such as training objectives, goals, costs, and timelines.
  • Use Technology: Implement effective upskilling programs using employee training software. Through these tools, you can create engaging training modules, ensure compliance and security, track employee engagement, analyze performance, and gather feedback. HRTech has evolved immensely over the past years to accommodate innovative and interesting training, learning & development ways for the employees. 
  • Continuous Follow-Up: To determine if the entire upskilling program met its objectives, the final step is to evaluate it. Using various employee training software, you can measure the effectiveness of your training and development programs. Tracking KPIs such as course completion, training progress, assessment scores, lowering skill gaps, and improving proficiency or productivity. By the end of your upskilling program, your training effectiveness and knowledge or skill acquisition can be determined.

    Authored by Richa

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