Employers are increasingly finding ways to upskill existing staff rather than recruiting new staff for their organizations.
We know that good employees value development opportunities and will seek other opportunities in order to expand their knowledge and skill sets if they can’t meet their needs at work. This incentivizes employers to focus on staff retention in order to avoid increased recruiting and onboarding costs. Engaging with the process of lifelong learning is an essential part of planning for the future especially as advances in artificial intelligence and automation gather pace.
It is more effective to reskill and upskill staff you know and who know you; the known quantity has a great advantage here. Upskilling is the process of teaching your employees new skills as technology affords new opportunities and new jobs which require specialized skillsets; by upskilling the organization fills vacancies from their current workforce while creating development opportunities.
Invest for success
It’s a win-win scenario – investing in employee learning and skills training means that the organization enhances their human capital while sending the valuable message that staff are worth the investment and have a place in the future growth and prosperity of the organization, and it makes staff more valuable in the evolving job market. Upskilling has the added benefit that it can be used to address issues around succession planning by providing employees with the training, knowledge, skills, and experience to step up when they are ready.
Where an organization’s culture is attractive to applicants who value development opportunities they have an edge over the competition when competing for talent. Additionally, employee brand advocates in the organization are more likely to refer their personal contacts for vacancies when they know the organization invests in the future of staff.
Planning career pathways
There are so many advantages to upskilling. The employer who provides workers with good opportunities for learning, development, and growth will enhance employee engagement, commitment, and enthusiasm for work. Upskilling affords employees the chance to expand their skills and potentially enhance career opportunities. Individuals can best ensure their future employability is to ensure their value as an employee by learning and growing for the future. Good employers will favor staff who demonstrate a willingness to tackle new challenges.
Consider some options:
- Customized learning and development programmes to meet skill requirements for the organization;
- Developing talent across the board and encourage participation at all levels with strategies to support lifelong learning;
- Identify employees who will benefit from stretch assignments and development opportunities to help motivate and engage them.
Upskilling works best where it has a focus on the career path and aspirations of the employee. Empowering staff to devise a personal career management plan is crucial to the success of any development initiative, enabling staff to identify the skills and competencies that resonate with them rather than being told what they need to learn.
Options and opportunities
Technology affords us so many new ways to offer learning and development opportunities that staff can access at need and use at their own pace. Elearning and virtual classrooms offer flexibility and informal options such as micro-learning resources or lunch and learn sessions are cost-effective and time-efficient solutions.
It’s important to recognize that upskilling does not only apply to technical skills but is also relevant in terms of skills such as creative thinking, strategy planning, leadership, emotional intelligence, building and maintaining relationships, or resilience. New technology, AI and automation will change the workplace but there will be still a market for people with soft skills in the future; in fact, we need a greater emphasis on the ability to collaborate and communicate in the challenging environment we are likely to face.