The Ledger No. 51: Upskilling Your Employees

May 25, 2022 Sarah Dameron

team leader explaining the benefits of upskilling employees in meeting

Welcome to The Ledger where we sum up the latest finance and accounting news and trends for you. On this week’s entry, we’re diving into the topic of upskilling your employees, some benefits, and why this can take your business to the next level. Read on to learn how to build a successful upskilling program, why upskilling is a competitive advantage, reimagining learning in the workplace and how to help your team develop their careers.

The Weekly Ledger upskilling your employees benefits

Launching a Successful Upskilling Program: 3 Things to Consider to Enjoy the Benefits

Is reskilling a short-term or long-term growth strategy? At the onset of Covid, many companies utilized upskilling as a short-term tactic to help boost company growth. But now, reskilling has become a quintessential way to retain top talent, boost productivity and improve employee engagement. And according to Patrice Low, VP of Human Resources at Cengage Group, “Employees want to understand future career opportunities and what skills, competencies, and capabilities they need to get there.” Yet the question still remains for leaders: What should we include in our upskilling program (and how do we identify those opportune areas)? Here are three considerations:

  • Empower your employees to own their career development. Most of your employees want to grow within the company, they just don’t know how to get there. Two ways to support this development are by holding one-on-one meetings with your direct reports or by offering an online self-service learning platform that houses a variety of courses.

  • Show them where ideas go. Your employees don’t want just lip service – they want action. One HR executive suggested that company leaders should “identify the recurring themes in feedback and surveys, congregate that data and then determine when and how to offer the upskilling options that may apply towards operational and talent development goals.”

  • Provide a road map. As an HR leader once said, “There are only so many titles we can promote folks to.” A key aspect of any upskilling program is to identify clear paths and milestones for performance measurement.

To discover why upskilling is a fundamental tool for retaining and developing employees for business growth, and read some of the benefits, check out the full article on hbr.org.

Remaining Competitive in an Uncertain Labor Market

Years ago, a higher pay is all it took to get your employees to stay loyal to your company. But now, money doesn’t talk. In fact, employees are asking, “What can you do for me?” It’s a question that has businesses scrambling to figure out how to best meet worker needs. And as it turns out, the answer isn’t benefits, office perks or higher salaries – it’s offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities. A 2022 Pew study found that 63 percent of workers who quit a job in 2021 did so because of no opportunities for advancement. Furthermore, a Cengage survey showed that nearly 4 in 5 of those who resigned have taken online training courses of certificate programs. The solution? Upskilling and reskilling opportunities. These types of opportunities come in many forms: tuition reimbursement, industry certifications and skill-based peer-to-peer upskilling. Consider this: 67 percent of employees would leave an organization that didn’t allow for internal mobility (source: Lever).

To explore why companies need to focus on employee experience in order to attract and retain talent, read the full article on benefitspro.com.

Strategies to Upskill Your Workforce

Picture this: you’re competing against a company that has the startup vibe going on. And you’re trying to remain on par, but you can’t keep up with their hiring initiatives. On top of that, many of your employees are in roles that are being pushed aside thanks to automation. What’s more, many of your frontline workers are not prepared to go fully digital. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that more than half of all employees around the world need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace the changing nature of jobs. So how can companies bring learning to the forefront of their business tactics?

  • Treat skilling as a business investment, not an expense. It’s easy to label learning development as another category in your budget. Rewire your mindset to think of it as an asset – something that will pay for itself over the years to come.

  • Serve “salads” for healthy skilling. And we don’t mean the food. Many skilling programs are comprised of “main course” options - digital media, leadership, soft skills, etc. - and not “salads” – problem-solving, analytics, communication, etc.

  • Bring the joy back to learning. It can be frustrating when you’re trying to learn a new skillset only to be boxed in by hours of e-modules or Zoom videos that add little to no value. Find ways to bring the joy and curiosity of learning that children experience to your employees.

  • Power up with data. Data doesn’t lie. How can leaders make informed decisions about their employees’ learning journey? AI tools, A/B tests on different formats of the program and measuring outcomes with both leading and lagging indicators over time.

  • Assemble your own skilling stack. Reskilling at scale can be costly. And instead of starting from scratch, try “buying” or “renting” through partnerships to assemble your own skilling stack.

  • Empower employees to learn. Data from BCG’s Decoding Global Talent report showed that 68 percent of workers globally are ready to retrain to new careers to stay competitive. Companies should encourage their employees reskilling journey with the right tools, resources and support.

To learn more about how to reimagine the traditional approaches to reskilling and why reskilling is the key to remaining competitive in today’s labor market, head over to hbr.org to view the full article.

How to Help Your Employees Develop Their Careers - The Benefits of Upskilling

According to a Udemy study, 42 percent of employees admitted that learning and development opportunities are the second most important benefit behind salary. And as this next wave of talents considers their next professional move, it’s up to organizations to rethink how they can support these career aspirations. If you’re thinking about arming your staff with the necessary skilling tools and resources, you need to put a blueprint in place. Here’s how:

  • Focus on intentional communication. Offer weekly one-on-one sessions with each team members – this allows for a safe space for them to communicate their career goals. You can also provide them with training and development plans and keep them in the loop of any internal growth opportunities.

  • Continue investing in mentorship. Your employees won’t be at the company forever. And that’s a good thing – you should want them to cultivate their skills. The easiest way to do this is through peer mentorship, especially senior-level associates to junior-level associates.

  • Construct career road maps. It’s a game of chance. You either afford your workers the opportunity to grow vertically within the company, or they’ll find the same position elsewhere. Keep in mind, career road maps might be a little bumpy and involve unforeseen roles.

  • Embrace digital learning tools that continually develop employees. Digital tools make it easier for employees to upskill. In fact, by investing in digital tools, leaders are investing in their people.

For more on how to invest in your employees’ career growth, view the complete article on forbes.com.

Upskilling your employees benefits your organization as a whole, if you don't know where to start focusing your efforts, we might just have a solution specific to your business.

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