With access to a plethora of resources, today’s workers can be more skilled than ever before. Though this task may be easier said than done, learning and skill growth are vital to attracting and retaining talent. Skill building is not just a perk for employees, it’s a for organizational success. Many employees are eager to learn new skills that will improve their performance and advance their careers. This intentional career development drives business impact.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling occurs when your employees receive training and education that builds upon their skills and closes experience gaps to prepare for future roles. This investment in your employees builds engagement through motivation and connection and enforces the value you have for your team’s growth and professional development. From AI and technology to delegation and leadership, there are many skills and areas to improve. A stronger skilled workforce helps employees grow in their careers and builds their confidence. Some examples include:

  • Sam works in the finance department and has used Microsoft Excel for years. However, Sam’s recent projects have been more in-depth and require advanced Microsoft Excel training. Sam took a course on Microsoft Excel and now has a better understanding of the program and can utilize it more efficiently when working on projects.
  • Your business has received a few negative reviews based on customer service over the past few months. This has led to fewer customers seeking your services. This has been an area of need for quite some time, so you have your employees engage in role-play scenarios that display ideal customer service based on various situations, so your employees can provide customers with great customer service moving forward.
  • One of your employees oversees your organization’s social media pages. This employee doesn’t have a formal education or training in social media management but is interested in learning more about it. Having your organization’s more present on social media will be helpful in enhancing visibility of the company brand, and your employees will have the opportunity to elevate their social media management skills.

5 Methods to Upskill Your Employees

1. Enroll Employees in Courses or Training Programs:

There are many online courses available that cover a wide range of topics. Popular sites like , , and even have popular courses that provide access to hundreds of relevant courses, workshops, and training programs. also published a great list of on LinkedIn that you and your employees can use to broaden your skillset. Industry-specific programs are also readily available. Ensure that you collect feedback from employees throughout their experience with the courses or training programs to gain insight into the relevance and applicability of available programs.

2. Create a Mentor Program:

Consider both internal and external resources to offer a diverse range of mentorship opportunities. An internal resource can be a seasoned employee with years of experience in a key area that you want more employees to learn about. Talk to your internal team about discussing current gaps in that area or any improvements they think can be made, and how mentoring a new person in that area may solve those concerns.

3. Lunch and Learns:

Our internal С team uses lunch and learns as an opportunity to learn something new about another department, as well as programs and tools that can help employees better accomplish work tasks. These sessions are typically held during lunchtime, and our team is welcome to eat their lunch while learning something new. One session highlighted how some of our employees use programs like OneNote, and how it can help them organize tasks, notes, and more. Those who were not familiar with the program were able to learn something new and began using the program as well.

4. External Workshops and Conferences:

Encourage and sponsor employees to attend workshops, conferences, or seminars relevant to their field. This provides exposure to new ideas and networking opportunities with other industry professionals in your community.

5. Job Rotation Program:

Discuss and organize a system of employees shadowing their colleagues in different departments for a few days through job rotation programs. Exposing employees to other departments and functions helps them gain diverse skills and better cross-functional knowledge of how the business operates overall.

 

Before implementing any upskill plan, organizations should assess their company goals and vision to pinpoint priority areas for upskilling. Identify the specific skills that align with the organization’s priorities and address any gaps in employee competencies. Creating an upskill plan isn’t as hard as it may sound. Harvard Business Review wrote an article on . It is also important to plan to integrate upskilling initiatives into individual performance and development plans for succession planning. After your team’s skills have developed over a few months, check in with your employees to gauge their understanding and ability to perform their new skills. It’s also important to regularly review progress and adjust plans as needed to ensure successful continuous learning.

If your business has the means to create an “upskill” budget, it is an investment in both the future of the company and the career path of your employees. Happier employees who feel valued and engaged will stay with their employer, especially if they feel that their employer has invested time into their career. However, if your company does not have the funds to invest in courses or training programs, creating lunch & learn sessions, role-playing scenarios, and mentorships can be great budget-friendly tools to upskill your employees.

Upskilling versus Reskilling

Upskilling and reskilling are both strategies for improving an individual’s skills and capabilities. With upskilling, an employee enhances their existing skills or acquires new skills directly related to their current job or career path. Reskilling involves learning entirely new skills, generally with the goal of transitioning into a new role. This is important for emerging industries or due to shifts in industry trends making existing skills or roles obsolete.

Upskilling and reskilling are both essential for individuals and organizations to adapt to evolving market demands, keeping your organization competitive. This provides employees with the opportunity to have a significant impact on the future of your business. Engaging employees in skills development shows them that you are invested in their future, leading to improved employee retention rates. С can help your business develop a strategy to engage and retain employees for the future. Please contact us to discuss how we can help your business.