The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released a report detailing the economic imperative of expanding an employee’s skill set. It argues that now is an important time for companies to embark on an “upskilling revolution”.
Experts have the same point of view on this global issue as they have observed that when people feel like they’ve stopped learning or adding skills to their resumes, they tend to look elsewhere which incurs higher costs.
As it is in the best interests of both the organization and employees, they advised treating upskilling not as an expense but as a business investment that can increase employee retention which saves the costs of talent recruitment and build a culture of learning.
In practice, organizations see the highest return of investment when they identify priority areas to be upskilled through streamlining the company’s current talent acquisitions, assessing the long-term skills needed to be obtained, determining what learning format is most suitable and matching the upskilled employees with new opportunities inside the company umbrella.
Whether companies are looking to make more efficient employees or prepare them for new leadership opportunities, they can enroll employees in courses or training programs designed by professionals for professionals.
Mentorship programs are also on the rise and are particularly useful when individuals are about to take on a more senior position. Enabling the employees to connect with a mentor or an industry expert for a dedicated time in a week can provide more extensive learning opportunities for both the mentee and the organization.
Analysts suggest that companies should utilize this program to make the upskilling process more personalized through using real-life simulations as the topic of the mentorship which promotes higher information retention.
As large workloads and hectic schedules impose a barrier to formal upskilling, making bite-sized information modules and encouraging self-training via flexibility on attendance to workshops can be designed to meet a simple upskilling objective. Peer-to-peer learning and ‘lunch and learns’ are supplemental ways managers also consider in upskilling employees on a shoestring budget.
Meanwhile, team leaders emphasize how upskilling will benefit both employees’ careers and the company growth amidst the costs it may incur by creating performance and development plans that note the employee’s attainment of certain skills annually which are tied to a future promotion inside the company. They also consider offering credentialing programs that give professional certificates that boost employee morale.
Today, employees expect employers to equip them with the skills they need. Companies that invest in upskilling their employees are essentially helping them do their job better and, in return, grow the business. Giving employees an opportunity to learn and grow is key to optimizing and retaining talent.
As Harvard Business Review puts it, “by reimagining the traditional approaches to skilling, business and human resources leaders can take timely action to prepare their workforces to be today- and future-ready.”
According to them, organizations have two choices: upskill or perish — create a skilling competitive advantage or else run the imminent risk of falling behind. — Allyana A. Almonte