Faced with rapid technological advancements such as AI and automation, many companies are noticing a shift in job roles – potentially causing skills gaps that can slow or halt operational processes.
By placing a focus on upskilling their workforces, however, business leaders can ensure that their organizations stay up to date with latest tools and technologies, while simultaneously enhancing employee morale and job satisfaction. This leads to increased productivity and efficiency, as well as works to reduce pressure and costs related to talent acquisition.
Effective upskilling, however, requires a targeted, structured approach. Implemented correctly, such strategies help companies train the right people at the right time, resulting in efficient processes that are less resource-intensive – and more effective – than traditional training programs.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five strategies you can implement to optimize your upskilling initiatives.
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Offer employees upskilling ‘salads’
A Harvard Business Review article advises companies to pivot away from upskilling initiatives that offer employees broad, “main course” skill sets such as leadership. Instead, serve “salads” that mix multiple skills in one – for instance, an upskilling program that combines leadership, stakeholder engagement, analytics, and problem-solving.
This creates a balanced approach to upskilling that:
- Nourishes versatile skills
- Fosters adaptability
- Promotes employee development
- Leads to increase employee satisfaction
- Develops future company leaders
Upskilling “salads” also help organizations create training programs that are simultaneously broad and targeting, with employees using the skills they learn in various aspects of their roles.
Provide employees with ‘job-centric’ training
When approached traditionally, Deloitte says, the results of upskilling-related job training are by and large “disappointing.” To achieve better results, Deloitte recommends “job-centric” training when upskilling employees.
Unlike traditional training, job-centric upskilling focuses on practical skills that directly align with industry demands, ensuring participants are job-ready upon completion.
Job-centric upskilling training:
- Enhances employability by closing skill gaps
- Increases productivity by fostering a competent workforce
- Boosts innovation as employees are better equipped to adapt to emerging technologies
- Empowers individuals to navigate dynamic career paths, promoting long-term career growth and success
Deloitte also notes that job-centric training is a continuous process that relies on clear communication between employees and organizations, as well as continuous analysis and measurement of training results.
Implement a ‘dynamic skills strategy’
A “dynamic skills strategy,” as proposed by Gartner, focuses on continuously and proactively adapting and developing the skills of a workforce to meet evolving business needs and technological advancements.
Dynamic skills strategies also help companies:
- Preemptively Identify skills gaps
- Develop only those skills that are currently necessary
- Create “two-way skills transparency” between business leaders and employees regarding required and desired skills
- Improve employee performance
- Boost overall productivity
Such strategies rely on agility and innovation, enabling organizations to stay competitive in a rapidly changing landscape as they anticipate shifts in required skills. In companies that use dynamic skills strategies,
Gartner reveals, employees use 75% of the new skills they learn, resulting in training that is both targeted and cost-effective.
Promote cross-functional training
Cross-functional training provides employees with opportunities to learn skills and knowledge beyond their core expertise. By encouraging their employees to develop competencies in multiple areas, organizations foster a versatile and adaptable workforce capable of navigating diverse challenges.
In a 2022 article, Forbes suggests cross-functional training:
- Enhances employees’ problem-solving abilities
- Promotes collaboration
- Provides employees with a deeper understanding of the business
- Empowers employees to handle dynamic market conditions
- Strengthens organizational resilience and competitiveness
In addition to helping close skills gaps and solve talent shortage-related challenges, cross-functional training also helps with succession planning, as employees are trained in multiple areas and therefore ready to pivot should a colleague leave the company or take leave.
Create a culture of continuous learning
A workplace culture that values learning will naturally lead to a more skilled and adaptable workforce. Such cultures encourage proactive engagement with training programs, workshops, and resources, with employees taking charge of their professional development.
By integrating upskilling into continuous learning cultures, employees are also empowered to handle tasks more effectively, resulting in improved performance and job satisfaction.
According to another article by Forbes, this can lead to:
- Enhanced productivity
- A boost in innovation
- Improved talent retention
- Increased adaptability – leading to a competitive advantage
Additionally, organizations that encourage their employees to upskill can develop their existing talent pool – reduces recruitment and onboarding costs, which The Work Institute“conservatively estimates” at $15,000 per worker.
Upskill your employees with skills management software
AG5’s skills management software can play a key role in your upskilling initiatives, providing you with the real-time data and analytics you need to effectively and efficiently track skills, develop training plans, and manage certifications and qualifications that your employees needs to function productively.
Want to learn more? Schedule a free, live, 15-minute demo today to see how AG5’s skills management software holds the potential to transform the way your business operates.
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6 Strategies to Upskill Your Workforce (2020). Harvard Business Review.
Job-centric upskilling (2020). Deloitte.