With new technologies emerging seemingly every week, especially in the information technology (IT) industry, there is a dire need to acquire the latest and relevant skills needed to use them effectively. This is where upskilling comes into play. Upskilling has become more and more applicable in the past years. In today’s rapidly shifting business environment, it has become a vital component to organizational success.

According to a report from McKinsey, 87% of executives surveyed reported that they are currently experiencing a skills gap or expect to within the next few years. Skills gaps are a harsh reality that can be overcome gradually by upskilling existing employees with the right skills through well-planned and targeted training.

Before we get to the “how” part of upskilling, let’s look at its benefits.

Benefits of Upskilling

During times of crisis, it’s easier for organizations to cut down on training and development budgets. But that’s hardly a smart move considering your competition is working just as hard to overcome the same challenges faced by your organization.

By upskilling employees and providing opportunities for continuous learning, businesses can:

  • Help employees tackle challenging assignments.
  • Build happy and satisfied teams that are focused on improving efficiency and driving business outcomes.
  • Empower employees with the knowledge that they are making valuable contributions to the organization which, in turn, will increase their sense of job security.
  • Reduce attrition rates and boost employee morale.
  • Stay ahead of the competition.

Case Study: Skill Assessments and Training

A Harvard Business Review article analyzed the challenges faced by an organization and how they had overcome their crippling skills gap through a skills assessment and upskilling, outlining its real-world implementation.

The article outlines that Guardian, a leading life insurance provider, is undergoing an expansive digital transformation, focusing on improving its technology, data, and processes to enhance performance and bolster its customer-centric culture. Deanna Mulligan, Guardian’s chief executive officer  up until October 2020, and her squad were aware that to be successful, the company had to juice out the last possible value from its gold mine of data. Transforming this raw data into useful customer insights required many more skilled data scientists than what they had or could practically hire under immediate notice.

To fill this skills gap, Guardian looked into their employees’ current skill sets, and moved existing employees with data science skills into wider positions and trained them in all the necessary skills they would need to get the job done.

The company used a skills assessment to pinpoint the existing members with the undiscovered talent pool who had a high probability of succeeding in digital marketing roles.

The next step is to invest in training programs that will help their employees receive the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their new positions.

How to Upskill and Train Your Team?

There are numerous avenues through which upskilling can be done. You can find a course relevant for any job role, in any industry. eLearning portals offer world-class online learning that can keep your employees’ skills up-to-date.

Online learning can help employees build credibility through certifications and gives them the confidence needed to perform in their roles.  Many innovative learning providers help individuals as well as organizations by providing a focused learning experience and easy upskilling for your team. There’s many training providers that can help you facilitate learning amidst your employees’ busy schedules and, more importantly, get a 360° view of your team’s development and progress.

Many learning portals provide online learning opportunities where you and your team can sign up for webinars and training classes held by industry experts. The feedback and insights will greatly help you align your team’s skills development with your organization’s objectives.

So, the next step is to look for a robust learning organization that provides the best training and support in the industry of corporate education.

What’s Training ROI, and Why Should You Measure it?

Return on investment (ROI) is the most significant metrics for any business. The success of each expenditure in your organization is measured through ROI, and the cost of training the team is no exception. Eventually, all expenditures should bring in more revenue to the organization.

Instead of assuming that training for a certain skill set is a good investment, you need to monitor the data to see if it’s benefiting the business. Moreover, if the investment isn’t paying off, or if it’s too expensive to justify, you need to change your training strategy. On the contrary, if there is a colossal return, you can make the case for an increased training budget.

This is why it’s crucial to have a sturdy training measurement strategy in place: With the help of pre- and post-training assessment, you can better demonstrate training’s business impact,.

ROI is measured by percentage, and a 100% ROI means that you’ve recovered your investment. You need to keep an eye on a wide variety of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to see if the training is providing a good ROI. The metrics you choose depends on the training and its goals, as well as the other metrics you already measure in your organization.

ROI Measurement Process

  • Identify your goals first.
  • Choose training metrics used to measure the success of your training.
  • Choose a training provider.
  • Choose the right learners who require training.
  • Conduct pre- and post-training assessments.
  • Calculate training costs.
  • Analyze selected metrics.
  • Calculate training ROI.

The above process may seem perplexing, and you might be wondering if it’s worth the hassle. The answer is yes, it’s absolutely worth your time and effort, because it will help you prove your business impact and gain more stakeholder support for training.

Outlining how training and development can advance learners’ careers is a great way to motivate them to learn and give training programs their all. Pre- and post-training assessments are an excellent way to gauge their learning journey, and surveys can help you gain helpful insights to determine training effectiveness.

Conclusion

According to a report from LinkedIn Learning, 59% of learning and development (L&D) professionals said that their employers prioritized both upskilling and reskilling programs in 2021, which is a 15% increase since June 2020.

Organizations across industries, especially in the IT sector, are putting more effort and revenue into upskilling their employees. There is no doubt that upskilling is the best way to develop the skills of tomorrow. Now, how you go about it is the key differentiator that will set your organization apart.

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