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    Learning and Development

    Upskilling : Transforming Employee Development

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    Ethan Israel
    September 7, 2022
    3 min read
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    Upskilling gives your company the opportunity to train current employees to become even more productive on the job. It also empowers every employee to learn new skills and rise to jobs that are more satisfying on a personal and professional level.

    When you review the skill, experience, and performance of current employees, you’re likely to identify skill gaps. Those gaps are needed skills that aren’t adequately represented within your company at this moment in time. It includes skills that you don’t need now but will in the future as your company grows or the industry changes.

    “Just hire more employees.” That seems like the best remedy, right? It sounds so simple, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult in our modern work climate.

    The good news is that you have another option. You can upskill your current employees to fill these gaps within your company. That’s an excellent way to show that you value your employees while meeting the future needs of your company.

    What is Upskilling?

    Upskilling is the practice of giving employees opportunities to learn new skills that make them more knowledgeable and valuable in their current fields. The goal is to focus on enabling employees to learn new skills that your company needs now or will need in the future. If they learn skills that prepare them for a new career field, that is reskilling rather than upskilling.

    There are many forms that upskilling can take, including:

    • In-office workshops, courses, or study groups
    • Online study programs
    • Paid tuition or tuition reimbursement programs
    • Company-paid classes, seminars, or other programs

    Any opportunity or resource that you can provide to help employees master new skills within their current line of work may qualify as upskilling in the workplace.

    What is an Example of Upskilling?

    One great example of upskilling is when a nurse enters the workplace with an Associate Degree in Nursing (AND) and then returns to school to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). If a nurse takes that action on their own to advance their career, they’re upskilling independently. When a nurse completes a BSN program and is reimbursed for tuition by an employer, then they are benefiting from workplace upskilling.

    Another example of workplace upskilling is when an employer arranges a private class for workers to learn new skills and achieve certifications. For instance, an employer may send a few members of their maintenance team to a CDL certification course if they intend to purchase a large truck that will require a CDL for operation.

    What are the Benefits of Upskilling?

    Upskilling benefits for the employer include:

    • Recruitment cost savings
    • Increased employee retention
    • Improved employee morale and loyalty
    • Enhanced productivity as employees feel more capable and motivated
    • Ability to keep up with advancing technology in any field
    • Attract more talent with growth opportunities

    Upskilling benefits for employees include:

    • Opportunities for growth
    • Greater confidence in the workplace
    • Increased chances of advancement
    • Feeling appreciated and respected by employers

    Implementing Upskilling in the Workplace

    The first step to establishing a culture of upskilling is to identify skills that are currently lacking in your company. Add skills and technologies that you believe you will need in the future as technology advances, your field changes, and your company continues to grow.

    Next, identify current workers who can provide those needed skills with some additional training. You’re looking for employees who are already in a job aligned with the new skills and who may want to learn more for the potential to advance. If nothing else, you can recruit employees who want to reskill into a new role within your organization.

    Finally, determine the most efficient and cost-effective way to give those employees the opportunity to learn new skills. You may do this by paying for certification and educational courses, organizing a company retreat, or offering an online course through a university or quality training program.

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