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24-Aug-2021

Best practices for upskilling employees
How to upskill effectively

Are you at par with the evolving digital workplace and methods?  The industrial revolution is making currents of superior competition, digitization of workplaces, and the need for immediate solutions to balance the equation of employment, retention, growth, and surviving the technology-infused work culture, is growing high.  The current pandemic especially has greatly affected the economy, revealing the gap between new-age technology, the aging talent pool, and the increasing demand for highly skilled employees.

This has significantly changed how businesses work. Along with hiring employees that are super skilled for their current job roles and upgrade-ready for the future, employers also, have to find effective and promising solutions to retain their current workforce, along with fixing the evident gap of employee skills and technology. According to the world economic forum, more than half of employees through all sectors will need major upskilling, to meet the changing trends of job processes, retain employment, and eligibility for growth and promotions.

A. Upskillingand Reskilling at a glance:

Training employees with a new business tool or process is upskilling, whereas reskilling employees is to train employees to work better at their existing profile with upgrades. Upskilling sounds like a lot like high-tech training. However, simply put, it is to train employees to help them deliver better work results, to smoothen the process of learning new skills powered by technology, and to fill the gap created by technology and demand for superior skills on the employee front. Business trends today, demand high-level critical and creative thinking, and efficient execution with the inclusion of fast-growing technology. So upgrading is about making technology accessible to everyone, to ensure the sustainable growth and future of the company.

B. Why is upskilling the biggest support to stay afloat in current times

An important factor for any business is its brand value, and employees are a major part of it. Hiring new employees does look like an easy and immediate solution; however, training your current workforce also has more benefits, compared to the cost of employee attrition. Along with finding new and efficient talent, employers can work just as hard to upgrade their talent pool. With the ability to upskill your workforce, you gain a competitive edge to ensure growth through workplace transformations, and digital industry trends. With the pandemic, more workplaces have struggled to embrace the new normal of working, i.e. working remotely. This has perhaps given more reason to understand why the digital age is already here and how not being coordinated with it can affect our work trends and business as a whole. Upskilling is the need of the hour, with more all-around advantages. Let us discuss a few more benefits of upskilling your employees.

C. Recognition, retention, and employee satisfaction

When you invest in your employees, it makes them feel valued and boosts their work quality and focus. Employees need support and appreciation from time to time, so when you work on investing in their success, development, and future, it gives them more reason to perform and set high work standards. Knowing what your employee needs, helps you build greater opportunities for them. With proper skills and training, they can harness their full potential, and stay updated on the current business trends and standards. Showing employees a definitive success path with a bright career also leads to happier and satisfied employees. With a positive spirit and work enthusiasm, and adept knowledge in their respective fields, they can handle clients with confidence and innovative solutions, which also lead to higher client satisfaction. Collectively, upgrading employees improves retention rate, and builds trust and a strong talent pool, along with adding value to your brand and business.

D. How to upskill and reskill effectively

  1. Identify areas and roles that need to upgrade 
    When drafting success strategies for the future, identify which areas of work and talent pools will need to upgrade their skills and fine-tune work methods to bridge the gaps. Define the value drivers and workgroups that are important contributors to your evolving business, and can move it forward. Identify the precise role of these, in adding value to future developments. Shifting focus and core values may demand change in their day-to-day work schedules and techniques. Identifying these can help you draw a basic requirement and training module, in terms of skillsets, quality, quantity, investment, technology, etc.
  2. Developing specific skillsets can help employees cope and learn successfully with new modules, in key areas of your business.
  1. Incorporate core digital expert training:
    In today’s tech-driven business world, a basic understanding of digital concepts, technology, relevant processes, along with system operations, analytics and data visualization, is important. More so, when you are upgrading to a high-tech, data-enabled business operative module, like in most commerce, health, and banking sectors; upskilling and building awareness in employees is a necessity. Training them with essential skills and tech tools will help them work their true potential and harness success, especially when working remotely. This will also enable a smooth workflow, among clients, suppliers, customers, authorities, and more.
  2. Incorporate cognitive, interpersonal, social, and emotional skills development:
    A lot of crucial management and thinking is required to ensure efficient work, in a drastically changing environment. Especially when working remotely, along with a good hand on technology, employees need to think quickly, or single-handedly resolve any issue. During these times, empowering your workforce by strengthening their cognitive, thinking skills and creative solutions can help. A united workforce and strong interpersonal bonds can keep up the positive spirit, despite changing roles, profiles, and distance.
  3. Help employees build skills to adapt to a changing work environment:
    Self-reliance and self-confidence are strong tools to enable learning with new experiences and stand strong through the learning curves. Help employees build and strengthen their emotional and mental well-being, along with time and work-life balance with training programs that support these.
  4. Mentor your employees
    Arrange for mentorship of employees who need to enhance required skills, with an existing employee who is has mastered the skill. Basic upskilling can be generated through in-house talent, which is a cost-effective solution and can be conducted virtually too. It creates an opportunity for the mentor and mentees to connect on a similar focus, encourages employee-learning interaction, which thereby contributes to building a stronger team spirit and a positive work atmosphere.
  5. Find online cost-saving solutions
    The online forum serves great option for webinars, courses, and training. Harnessing them to upgrade your talent pool is an easy, and cost-saving solution. Choosing online courses will give your employees the freedom of time management for upskilling, along with a wide selection of courses, to choose from according to their requirements. Conducting training sessions that are tailor-made for employee-specific requirements, like - instructor-led training, can also help employees learn, with best-suited content and learning methods. Webinars are a great way to keep your staff updated on the latest business trends, and can be tailored to be a part of an upskilling strategy or as a complete process. It will give the employees exposure to various issues discussed during the session by another participant, and interact with professionals and high caliber speakers, to gain valuable insights and answers to their questions.
  6. Develop affordable and flexible, and fair opportunities
    While some employees would be an instant focus for upgrades and training for better productivity, you may never know the hidden talent in your workforce, which may be surprisingly beneficial, when given an upskilling opportunity. Hence, making development opportunities available to all your employees is a beneficial move for better results. Helping them with flexible training and upgrade options can give them a fair chance to add to their skills. While some may have time constraints to learning, others may be better learners with mentoring or microlearning. By providing flexible learning options, you can include maximum employees in your upgrading strategy.  Let employees choose the areas they want to develop their skills, which add to your competitive edge. Empowering them with this freedom will also boost their integrity, work value, and will encourage them to take initiative and responsibility for their own growth and development.
  7. Reward  their efforts
    Upgrading their skills and talents is a beneficial move for both the employee and the employer. However, rewarding employees for their faith, hard work, and honest effort reinforce the importance of upskilling. It makes employees work with more dedication and honesty.

E. The benefits that follow

  1. Upskilling and reskilling employees make sure your business is ready for the future, with tools and knowledge to make you win amongst competitors.  They will be ready for any change in the future, along with career development and flexibility to adapt to the evolving business strategies. Being future-ready and open to change adaptation is beneficial, for both the employee and the company too.
  2. More confident and productive employees will ensure high-quality output in their everyday work. According to research, most businesses noticed increased productivity with an upskilled and trained workforce. Employees too mentioned that upskilling made them work better and produce higher output.
  3. With a low attrition rate and loyal talent pool, your business gets just enough limelight, to make your brand a highly sought name. It improves your overall value, especially when hiring new talent. More people want to work in a supportive and positive business, where they know their future is safe, and their development is a prime focus, along with the growth of the company.

Overall, upskilling employees is an indispensable factor for the survival and growth of any business.  Keeping a workforce ready to tackle the present and future change is an advantage that can make the difference between survival and thriving growth. Invest in your employees, secure their future, along with the future of your business too!

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