How To Upskill Current Employees

5 mins

We’re all aware of the pace of change within the business world especially in the sectors th...

We’re all aware of the pace of change within the business world especially in the sectors that rely heavily on the use of technology. Practices and processes that were historically commonplace are being replaced and updated by the minute. In fact, the only consistent aspect of these business practices is the human component.

With automation and artificial intelligence on the rise, we are seeing the slow but steady replacement of mundane human processes with more efficient, automated responses. According to a recent PWC report, 37% of respondents stated that they are concerned with how automation is increasingly putting more jobs at risk. The truth it, the impact of automation and AI isn’t some far future phenomena as the changes are already starting to gather momentum and, these developments are only accelerating with each day.

What can be done?

The threat of automation to job security is certainly one to be mindful of, but, there are several steps that businesses can take to minimise the risks. And while some jobs are maybe more at risk than others, those roles actually present the solution for most organisations.

The changing nature of markets and technology means that some modern-day jobs may potentially become redundant or obsolete. The human aspect – the people behind the tech, however, are here to stay. It’s therefore crucial for all organisations to ensure that they have an agile and adaptable workforce that can be upskilled or re-skilled whenever necessary.

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Upskilling your workforce

Upskilling your workforce is arguably the easier route to take as you will be improving your current employees’ skills in new areas that is related to the existing skill set that they have. A prime example of this would be a computer coder learning a new programming language in addition to the ones that he or she are already familiar with.

Re-skilling is different and potentially more complicated as the objective here is to replace an outdated skill that a person has with new skills that are more suited to the current requirement. Getting a taxi driver to learn a programming language is an example of re-skilling.

Why should you upskill your current employees?

One of the main reasons why a business may not upskill their workforce is the fear that current employees may take this newly obtained skills and training to work with a new employer. This could mean that the investment in the training programme is potentially wasted but surprisingly, the evidence actually suggests otherwise. According to the same PWC report, 74% of responders said that they “are ready to learn new skills or re-train to remain employable in the future”.

So if your business is offering training that will keep skillsets sharp and up to date, it will prove to be beneficial in the long run. Besides it offering further opportunities within the business and more employment security to all current employees, it will even contribute to an increase in staff retention rates, work performance and even better job satisfaction!

In an interview concerning the treatment of staffs, Richard Branson commented that: "If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple" and we couldn’t agree more. In other words, it means that if your employees are happy and contented then, that positivity will translate onto your customer base – boosting your bottom line. The upskill training will aid your staff to innovate current services, products on offer and even address potential issues that may arise.

How to upskill your workforce?

There are a number of ways to do so but, the main thing that must be thoughtfully considered is the personalisation aspect. After all, not everyone has the same requirements or capabilities so, customisation will be key to meet the varied learning styles of your workforce.

This individualistic approach would have been historically and prohibitively expensive but, thanks to the digital revolution, 1-to-1 or 1-to-few pieces of training are readily and easily delivered by trainers.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) now offer a range of options for content delivery, assessment and performance measurement. It's inherent flexibility also mean that workers can learn and revisit to learn at a pace that best suits them to ensure that the lessons are fully retained. New features and content can also be added into these platforms whenever is needed to ensure that the training effort is continuously ongoing. This means that employees can continue to develop their existing skills and add in new skills as time moves on.

These digital platforms also offer the benefit of being able to measure the success of the training through performance metrics that in turn, leads to other aids in upskilling the workforce. For instance, staffs who have successfully completed elements of the training and are now leading practitioners of that particular programme can become mentors to others in the organisation. Their experiences will not only create a platform for them to share their knowledge but will also act as proof of success.

Upskilling will help you stay ahead of the competition

Businesses rely on the skills of their employees to perform well and that will not change even if the pace in markets and technology continue to accelerate. It is therefore crucial for businesses to ensure that the skills of all employees are fit for purpose now and for the future. This approach should protect your bottom line while helping you to retain your best staff.