What are Upskilling Programs and Training?

In a nutshell, upskilling is an investment in employee retention by supporting personal and professional development. Top performers can be challenging to find, making it essential to increase their productivity, motivation and morale.

Upskilling is a process of teaching workers new abilities and equipping them with relevant knowledge and experiences. It’s necessary to prepare people for the future and ensure they can use new tech and understand industry transformations.

Besides, upskilling programs enable employees to advance their careers and have greater responsibilities. That can result in a long-term investment, prevent employers from spending resources on hiring new workers and boost workplace morale.

5 Tips on How to Encourage Employees to Participate in Upskilling

1. Clarify the Program’s Content and Highlight What Makes It Beneficial.

The priority is to determine different aspects of the program’s content and ensure every part has a purpose. Every lesson, activity and workshop should have a goal and teach employees something related to their job roles.

Facilitators and managers should remove everything that brings no value and makes no difference in workers’ careers. But companies should also clarify what people get from participation in the program.

Employees should know how every training element can help them get closer to accomplishing their objectives and acquiring new skills. But they should also understand whether they will receive certification or rewards after an upskilling initiative ends.

Even though many workers participate in learning and development (L&D) because they enjoy learning new things, 62% of employees participate with a possible promotion in mind. However, only 35% report having a significant change in their compensation or role in the company after upskilling.

2. Personalize the Offering.

Over 77% of L&D professionals say that personalized learning is vital to employee engagement. Employees prefer training and activities that resonate with their job roles and career objectives as well, making it essential to tailor upskilling to their needs.

Otherwise, people might find the offering irrelevant. Therefore, companies should provide specific upskilling training paths, making the program more logical and attractive.

Workers will be more engaged if their L&D lessons apply to their daily work experiences and can help them progress and grow as professionals. That would also make the content more enjoyable and efficient.

Before implementing the program, upskilling facilitators should understand what employees need the most and how to make the content presentation more appealing. As a result, people will perceive upskilling as more relevant and understand how to apply it back on the job.

3. Balance Between Hard and Soft Skills.

Many managers believe companies should prioritize soft skills development when employees start climbing the ladder. For example, 86% of executives and employees report lack of communication and collaboration competencies as the main causes for workplace failures, and state that they aren’t effective at developing leaders.

On the other hand, 91% of employees prefer employee-specific training that is relevant to their individual role. But that isn’t to say people aren’t interested in expanding their interpersonal abilities.

According to a Deloitte study, soft skills-intensive careers will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. That means L&D leaders should prioritize balance between soft and hard abilities in upskilling programs, ensuring people improve in both areas.

4. Identify Skills Gaps and Align the Program with Employees’ Needs.

An efficient upskilling program requires thorough research and approach. It’s crucial to determine skill gaps within the company and identify employees whose aspirations, hobbies and abilities match that gap.

Training should also align with business goals to make it easier for workers to understand the benefit and how their participation makes a difference. Moreover, people will be more inclined to join upskilling if they know the abilities they would obtain are needed.

However, companies should also consider employees’ needs and potential and address them in the program. That makes upskilling more personalized and incentivizes people to participate.

5. Provide Schedule Flexibility.

Upskilling should be accessible to every employee. Companies should create a concise, fast-paced and engaging program people can access online.

Even though a part of the training could be in person, it’s essential to allow workers to join from home or any location that works for them. They should be able to make a commitment to upskilling without having to hinder their everyday job responsibilities and work-life balance.

Employees will be more likely to join the program if they can focus and not sacrifice their personal time or job-related assignments. Thus, if upskilling drags out, engagement could decrease and cause people to drop out.

Moving Forward

In today’s world of work, employees are actively seeking learning and growth opportunities to stay ahead of rapid changes. The intent to upskill and develop new skills is present; however, your upskilling program must meet your learners’ expectations. Ensure that your upskilling program demonstrates the benefits from participating and that employees feel rewarded for having completed the course.

For example, certifications can be a great way to give learners a sense of accomplishment after passing an upskilling course. Also keep in mind of your employees’ busy schedules — asynchronous learning can allow learners access to the course anywhere at their own pace in micro-sized chunks.