What Are The Secret Ingredients Of A Successful Upskilling Program?
Circumstances in the corporate world have been changing rapidly in the past few years. The combination of swift technological advancements and aging employees has brought businesses face-to-face with an unprecedented talent shortage that can’t be solved with new hires. On the contrary, the solution is right in front of you: your current workforce. With the right support from their leaders, employees can develop all the skills they need to take on the challenges of the new normal and come out stronger. In this article, we explore 8 upskilling strategies that will help you achieve just that.
8 Upskilling Strategies That Will Transform Your Workforce
1. Create Personalized Learning Paths
The overall purpose of upskilling is to help employees keep up with changes in the industry and give them the tools they need to successfully perform their tasks, even if their roles are evolving. In order to successfully guide your employees through this process, it’s essential to understand their strengths and weaknesses and design a personalized learning journey around them. This way, you make sure that they are honing the skills that are most beneficial to their role and contribution to the company.
2. Leverage Data For Maximum Results
Creating a learning path that is not only personalized but also effective is easier said than done. This is why it’s essential to leverage data to ensure the success of your upskilling (or reskilling) program. One possibility would be using statistics from previous training courses to identify which adjacent skills were most popular among certain professionals. Moreover, if AI technology is available in your organization, you can use it to personalize the learning experience by analyzing employee performance on targeted assessments or on-the-job tasks. Don’t forget to keep track of all outcomes, as this information can be extremely valuable for optimizing the learning process in the future.
3. Develop Mentorship Programs
Employees seem to perform better with the help of their colleagues, which is why mentorship programs are a very popular upskilling strategy. Pairing new with experienced employees creates an abundance of informal training opportunities that happen organically through their interaction. Mentors can welcome new hires, help current employees transition into a new role, or offer a clearer understanding of how different roles combine to support the overarching mission of your organization. Thus, mentorship cultivates a sense of purpose as well as community and natural collaboration among employees.
4. Promote Self-Training
Although working with others is a great way to gain new skills, you can’t always rely on your colleagues, especially if they have a heavy workload. For this reason, it’s important to encourage employees to take the initiative to train on their own, consulting the personalized learning path you have created together. Assemble a library where employees can find and access training courses and additional resources whenever the need arises. Don’t forget to allocate enough time for self-training. Otherwise, employees will feel pressured to rush through it to get back to work.
5. Make Learning Fun
More often than not, upskilling efforts consist of numerous hours in workshops or web conferences. But that’s not enough to motivate employees to embark and stay on their learning journey. Therefore, another way we suggest to ensure a successful upskilling program is figuring out how to make learning fun for your employees. Diversify your learning modules with engaging simulations (virtual or face-to-face) that guarantee not only faster information absorption but also longtime retention. You can also utilize mobile learning to allow learners to learn at their own pace, as well as incorporate more videos and micro-modules in their training material.
6. Boost Participation With Incentives
Incentivizing learning is a strategy that every upskilling program should include. Although employees are prompted by their own willingness to develop their skill base, it still doesn’t hurt to give them an extra push. Rewards don’t have to be monetary to be effective (although this might be your employees’ favorite choice). Often, a simple shout-out in the company communication platform accompanied by some words of encouragement and appreciation can be more than enough. Consider awarding badges for each achievement, and encourage employees to share them with their colleagues or on social media.
7. Ask For Feedback
You can take all the necessary steps to upskill and reskill your workforce, but you won’t achieve the desired results if you don’t communicate with them. Asking for feedback throughout the process can make your employees feel heard and increase engagement, foster transparency, and help you collect valuable information about their progress. As a result, you can easily understand what’s working and what needs improvement and take the corresponding steps to optimize the learning experience as much as possible. You can collect feedback by administering surveys or conducting informal interviews throughout the duration of the training course.
8. Make Learning Part Of Your Culture
Upskilling is not a one-time thing. To ensure that your employees are continuously developing their skills and unlocking the best version of themselves, you have to make learning an integral part of your culture. Train your leaders to encourage lifelong learning, modify your policies to allow ample time for it, and create opportunities for training and advancement. This way, your employees will realize that investing time in upskilling equals investing time in themselves and their future. Before they know it, learning will become part of their routine, and they will be motivated to always remain up to date with industry developments.
As long as you’re aware of the constant changes around us, there is no one right way to upskill your employees. Companies in different industries have their own approaches when it comes to workforce development, but they all have one thing in common: a human-centric approach and a love for lifelong learning. By keeping this in mind and following some of the upskilling strategies we shared in this article, we are certain that you will be able to create a skills training program that will bring you one step closer to success.