As we enter 2020, it’s a good idea for every employer to take time to review the effectiveness of your employee benefits program. Is your program helping your business accomplish key strategic goals such as quality talent recruitment and retention? This year, to optimize the strength of your benefit plan, make sure you spend time establishing or reinforcing career development opportunities for your staff.
An upskilling and reskilling program helps teach your employees new skills, which helps them in their current or future roles. Plus, these programs are valued by both employers and employees alike. According to a 2019 study from LinkedIn, 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn. Similarly, per a 2018 McKinsey survey, 66 percent of executives see upskilling and reskilling of their workforce as one of their top ten priorities.
In this article, we’ll breakdown the definition of both upskilling and reskilling. Plus, we’ll detail seven methods your organization can use to build an upskilling and reskilling program that matters. So, keep reading to find how you can create a career development plan that boosts the performance of both your individual employees and your business as a whole.
What are Upskilling and Reskilling?
Upskilling is the act of developing additional skills to help an individual become even more valuable in their current role. Upskilling is the process of teaching current employees’ new skills. Reskilling, on the other hand, is the act of developing significantly different skills to help employees fit into a new role. So, the most significant difference between upskilling and reskilling is whether the new skills you’re learning apply to your current job or a future one.
How to Build a Quality Upskilling and Reskilling Program
Below are seven methods your business can use to maximize the effectiveness of your upskilling and reskilling program. Use these tips to build a quality career development program.
1. Assess Where Your Employees and Organizations Needs Help
The first step you should take to establish a quality upskilling and reskilling program is to assess both the current and future needs of your company. Every organization is different, so it’s vital you understand the specific capabilities of your employees and company now, and what they’ll need to be in the future. There are two particular questions you need to ask of yourself before building a career development program, according to PWC.
These two questions are: Where do you want your organization to go? And what do you need to get there? Answering these questions will allow your business to identify current or future gaps in your company that your upskilling and reskilling plan will help close.
2. Establish a Culture of Continuous Learning
If you want to optimize your career development program, your organization needs to adopt a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning. Building this learning culture is imperative to maximizing the success of your upskilling and reskilling plan. Once you cultivate a culture of learning and develop your upskilling and reskilling program, your company will have a process in place to quickly address skills gaps within your organization.
3. Build a Roadmap from Today to the Future
Part of developing your career development plan should include a roadmap for employees to get from where they are today to where they want to be in the future. According to the Harvard Business Review, your employees are likely to fall into one of three categories. These categories are as follows:
- Those who need to learn new skills or technology to remain in current or similar roles.
- Employees who need more substantial reskilling to move into new types of jobs.
- Those for whom there’s no immediate next job.
So, your organization must both define these three pathways and identify which channel applies to each of your employees. Then once this mapping is complete, you need to create different types of learning journeys for employees based on which pathway they fall under. There is no one right way to establish these learning paths, but their setup is key. You must determine what types of learning make the most sense for each pathway.
4. Sponsor Employees’ Access to Education
One of the best methods to optimize the success of your upskilling and reskilling program is to sponsor your employees’ access to education. There are many approaches your company can take to support the education of your employees. Student loan debt repayment, on-the-job certifications, and tuition reimbursement are all ways you can help your staff educate themselves and grow.
5. Choose the Best Delivery Method
As mentioned above, in number three, your company must select the education delivery methods that work best for a given employee. Your employees will favor certain types of learning based on what works the best for them. Younger employees will likely favor online electronic learning opportunities, whereas older staff likely favor more traditional learning models. So, make sure you present employees with multiple learning plans to ensure they discover the method that fits them best.
6. Personalize and Customize
It’s critical to the success of your upskilling and reskilling program that you attempt to personalize and customize career development opportunities for different employees. Because an upskilling and reskilling plan is about addressing specific skill gaps within your organization, there can be no one-size-fits-all solution to career development. An employee’s upskilling or reskilling needs will depend on their current skills and role in the organization, plus how their role is changing and what technology requirements they need to do their job successfully.
So, to maximize the effectiveness of your career development plan, invest in customizable upskilling and reskilling tracks that allow employees to focus on their specific area of choice. You must develop your program to handle the variances between your staff. Customizing learning paths for your employees makes it more likely they are engaged and satisfied with their upskilling or reskilling plan.
7. Get Buy-In from Leadership
The final method your firm can use to optimize your career development program is to get buy-in from leadership. According to a recent survey of 1,200 executives from Accenture, only 3 percent of respondents said they intend to increase their investment in training and reskilling programs significantly. These executives cited prohibitive costs as the most common concern over an increased investment in these programs.
Similarly, per a McKinsey study, a majority of executives have little understanding of what it will take to meet the reskilling challenge at the kind of scale the next decade will likely demand. Both studies demonstrate the need for your firm to get buy-in from leadership when constructing your upskilling and reskilling plan. Managers, when not adequately informed, can become blockers. Therefore, make sure your managers understand the importance of developing the staff underneath them so that they can maximize their own success in their current roles.
Career development opportunities are the rare win-win for your organization. Use the seven tips above to maximize the effectiveness of your upskilling and reskilling program. You’ll need such a plan if you desire to stay ahead of the technological and skills curve. Use a reskilling program to ensure your employees can meet the challenges of tomorrow, head-on.