What is Upskilling and Why Should I Care?
Upskilling has become a buzzword echoing around the human resources space right now – and for a good reason! This trend promotes continuous improvement of your current team and employees. Let’s break down exactly what upskilling is all about.
First, What is Upskilling?
At its core, upskilling is the process of teaching employees new skills or improving existing ones. This can be done through formal training programs, online courses, or simply on-the-job learning.
The goal is to help employees keep up with the ever-changing demands of the workplace and to make them more valuable members of the team.
Why is Upskilling the Buzzword of the Year?
In 2022, companies are facing a range of challenges – the Talent Gap, The Great Resignation, the Labor Shortage– that all share one solution: a focus on employee retention.
Improved employee retention leads to higher productivity, performance and company culture: sounds like a win-win-win to us. Upskilling allows employers to enhance the skills of their current employees and focus on retaining their current staff instead of trying to hire new team members. Additionally, employees feel valued, engaged, and excited about work.
In addition to employee retention, there are a few key reasons why upskilling is so important:
- It helps employees keep up with the latest technology and trends.
- It makes employees more productive and efficient.
- It reduces turnover and saves on new hire training.
What is the Difference Between Upskilling and Reskilling?
The terms upskilling and reskilling are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Upskilling refers to teaching employees new skills or improving existing ones, while reskilling is focused on training employees for a completely different job.
For instance, if you wanted to train your current administrative assistant in a new task management software, that is upskilling. If you wanted to train them in sales, that would be reskilling.
What Are Some Examples of Upskilling?
Upskilling often includes using new tools, programs, and strategies within the workplace. Examples include:
- Software training
- Professional development
However, there are more upskilling opportunities out there than you may expect. Upskilling doesn’t necessarily mean something that will directly impact the business or be considered a hard skill. For instance:
- Sensitivity training
- Educational rebates
- Leadership development
- and more
How to Identify the Right People for an Upskilling Program
The first step in designing an upskilling program is identifying which employees would benefit the most from it. There are a few factors to consider when making this decision:
- Are there specific skills that need to be improved?
- Are there positions that are hard to fill?
- Do you have employees who are looking for career advancement?
Once you’ve identified the employees who would benefit most from upskilling, you can start to design a program that meets their needs.
If you’re not sure where to start, try looking for online courses or training programs that focus on the specific skills you want to improve. Alternatively, consider hiring a coach or a fractional HR team to help you out!
How to Implement an Upskilling Program
The best way to implement an upskilling program will vary depending on the needs of your business and employees. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Be clear about the goals of the program from the outset.
- Make sure there is buy-in from management and employees.
- Design a program that is flexible and can be adapted as needed.
- Choose a delivery method that works for your team (e.g., in-person, online, etc.).
Once you have a plan in place, the next step is to start implementing it! Upskilling programs can be rolled out gradually or all at once, depending on what makes the most sense for your business.
Remember, the goal is to improve employee retention and make your team more productive – so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.
We recommend tracking the progress of your upskilling programs through an HRIS so you can see which programs are working and where there may be room for improvement.
Upskilling your employees is an ongoing process, but by taking the first steps today, you can set your business up for success in the future.
Need Help Upskilling Your Employees?
At Culture Works, we value the opportunity to help businesses implement learning and development programs into their company culture. Our team of experts is ready to partner with your team to build greater organizational success. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business implement these programs and contribute to positive company culture.
Interested in more information? Read on to see how learning and development can transform your company culture here.