What is Upskilling?

what is upskilling

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Have you come across the term upskilling in the last couple of months? The term upskilling has recently been a hot topic in the workforce due to the current staffing shortage.

Upskilling is when an employer provides employees with education and training to help them develop more advanced skills. Upskilling is a great trend for employees because it shows that companies are willing to invest in continuous learning opportunities for you.

In today’s business landscape, change is the only constant. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses must continuously adapt and evolve.

When businesses invest in upskilling, they are equipping their employees with the skills and knowledge they need to meet the demands of the ever-changing business landscape. This not only benefits businesses by ensuring that they have a workforce equipped to handle change but also benefits employees by providing them with new skills and knowledge.

As technology evolves, employers need to fill their job openings with candidates who possess the necessary skills to help their company grow. Rather than spending thousands of dollars advertising job openings, companies are now investing in their current employees by upskilling.

When it comes to upskilling your workforce, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your organization’s specific needs, one method may be more suitable than another.

For example, if you have identified a skills gap in your customer service department, investing in customer service training may be the best way to upskill your employees.

However, providing access to e-learning courses or offering on-the-job training may be more effective if you need more general upskilling across your organization. Ultimately, the best way to upskill your workforce will be to assess your organization’s specific needs and tailor your approach accordingly.

5 ways to upskill your workforce include:

  • Learning and developing
  • Job rotation
  • Peer coaching/mentoring
  • Hiring specialists
  • Job enlargement

Learning and Developing

Depending on the model you use, a learning and development strategy will go through four phases. The first phase is conducting an analysis of training needs, which can be done through a skills gap analysis. This helps identify what skills are needed to improve overall performance. 

The second phase is specifying learning objectives. This ensures that the training program is focused and goal-oriented. 

The third phase is designing training content and method. This involves deciding what topics will be covered and how they will be taught. 

The fourth and final phase is monitoring and evaluation. This allows you to track progress and assess whether or not the program is successful. By going through all four steps, you can create an L&D program tailored to your workforce, and that will help them to improve their skillset.

Job Rotation

Job rotation is the practice of moving employees laterally between jobs within the organization. These rotations are often temporary, but they can be an excellent way to transfer skills, knowledge, and competencies between jobs.

For example, someone in the marketing department may rotate to the sales department to get a good feel of how the sales team works. Additionally, a manager may need to gain experience in different departments before moving to senior leadership.

Peer Coaching/ Mentoring

Peer coaching is increasingly becoming a popular option in upskilling. In peer coaching, two or more colleagues work together to expand, refine, and build new skills. This process can be extremely beneficial as it allows employees to learn from one another in a more informal setting.

For example, if you pair a Marketing Specialist with a Sales Associate, they will learn many new skills and gain better knowledge of their respective fields.

When it comes to peer mentoring, a more experienced employee teaches skills to a less experienced worker, usually in the same field. The more experience employee will be able to advise the more novice worker, creating many teachable moments.

Hiring a Specialist

Updating your workforce’s skills is always important, but it can be challenging to do if you don’t have the necessary manpower internally. If you need employees with specific skills as soon as possible, or the skills you need are so new that you don’t have the experience to teach them, one solution might be to hire freelancers or contractors.

These people can bring the exact skills, competencies, and experience you need to start a new project, which can help your business stay ahead of the competition and to teach your current employees.

Job Enlargement

Job enlargement is often confused with job rotation, but the two are quite different. Job rotation involves moving an employee from one task to another, typically regularly. This can help keep employees engaged and prevent boredom, but it doesn’t necessarily provide new skills or experience. In contrast, job enlargement involves adding additional activities within the same level to an existing role.

This means that employees will do more different activities as part of their current job. For example, a customer service representative may be responsible for handling phone calls, responding to emails, and processing orders. Adding additional tasks such as social media monitoring or live chat support allows the employee to learn new skills and develop a more well-rounded knowledge base.

Job enlargement is a popular method of employee development. This approach has several benefits, both for employees and for employers. First, job enlargement allows employees to learn new skills and gain valuable experience. This can help them progress in their careers, making them more valuable members of the workforce.

In addition, job enlargement can also help to improve employee morale and motivation. When employees constantly learn and expand their skillset, they are more likely to be engaged in their work.

Finally, job enlargement can also be an effective way to upskill your workforce. By providing employees with additional training and responsibilities, you can ensure that your team has the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the demands of your business.

Keep this in mind when upskilling

If you’re looking to invest in upskilling your workforce, you should keep a few things in mind. First, it’s important to identify your employees’ skills to succeed in their roles. Once you’ve identified these skills, you can create a plan to best provide upskilling opportunities to help your employees acquire these skills. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that you have a budget in place for upskilling initiatives and that you communicate the importance of upskilling to your employees.

So, what’s the best way to upskill your employees for the digital age? It depends on your specific needs. However, often a combination of techniques will work best.

Keep in mind that it is important to involve employees in the upskilling process as much as possible – they are the ones who will be using these new skills daily. Are you ready to get started?

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