12 Jan 2023

Strategies for Upskilling Your Workforce

Automation is changing the nature of work. New AI technology may render a certain role obsolete. Meanwhile, your company is about to be out-paced by heavily funded startups with teams of younger, more tech-savvy employees, you may feel you need to hire more highly skilled talent to compete.

However, instead of looking for ways to productively deploy a large-scale force or acquire talent whose resumes list “agile coach” and “cyber expert” as previous positions, it may be more beneficial to reskill the team you have.

You invested in your team for a reason. Grow that investment by training your team. By providing the training your people need to further their career development, you’re building a loyal staff that’s curated specifically to your company’s needs.

Here are the three ways to level up your team’s talent and reskill your workers.

Invest in Your Team’s Upskilling – When you hired your employees, their first days on the job were likely accompanied by a training program that included the company handbook, an email account, and learning which kitchen cupboard has the good coffee. But their training probably stopped once they had the password to the copier machine.

Instead of saying, “Welcome aboard” and leaving them to their devices, provide continuous training and education to keep your team up to speed and prevent more skilled workers from leapfrogging your team.

This can come in the form of workshops, online courses, night classes, or even investing partly in a higher degree, with the understanding that that employee will commit to working a couple of years at your company. While technology has eliminated the necessity for some roles, it’s also made learning new roles easier.

Build a Culture of Learning – Children typically learn faster than adults because there’s no shame connected to learning. Kids have no fear of making mistakes or looking foolish. Learning is fun and playful, and they give the process the time it needs.

If your employees feel there is a “learn this or lose your job” paradigm, there will be added pressure to an already stressful task. But by creating a learning culture, you empower and encourage employees to learn and stay curious. A culture of learning removes the stress and stigma of not knowing something because everybody is developing their skills together.

One way to do this is to ensure that the leaders of the organization are modeling this behavior. Create opportunities for your leadership to attend workshops or skill-building classes, then report back about what they learned. This takes the stigma out of continued education.

Connect Employees with Mentors – Whether it’s a spinning instructor or a piano teacher, it’s great to have someone to keep you motivated and hold you accountable to yourself. As you build a culture of learning at your business and invest in the upskilling of your team, it’s just as essential to pair upskilling employees with mentors who can cultivate their learning and development. Mentors can provide one-on-one feedback, answer specific questions, and give extra attention to a subject or skill an employee is struggling with.

This can take the form of a more formal mentorship program, where certain team members are paired with mentors according to their specialty or shared career goals. Alternatively, your business can offer more informal group mentoring, where team members meet with senior leaders more casually, such as at a talk or happy hour event.

Ultimately, by treating your employees’ skill sets as an investment, removing the stress of learning, and connecting your team members with mentors, you can future-ready your business and avoid the tribulations of restaffing your organization. The greatest asset of any organization is its team. A business will never lose by investing in its people.