This year it feels like we have constantly been reacting to events, leaving little room for proactive strategy. Our 2020 plans seem laughable now as we look back on how the year has unfolded.
Your company may have adapted well to this virtual and more agile way of working, but planning for next year is still essential, even if it is unpredictable. Upskilling in preparation for the changes to come post-COVID-19 should be a critical part of your company’s response and recovery.
What is upskilling?
Upskilling your workforce is the process of teaching current employees new skills with which to do their jobs, allowing for needs to be met, without requiring an impact on current staff. Reskilling focuses on creating new skill sets so individuals can qualify for new positions.
Normally, the need to upskill comes from technological advances which create new job roles which in turn require different skill sets.
In the 2020 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, results show that this year 51 percent of companies globally plan to implement an upskilling program within their organizations; 47 percent will do the same for reskilling.
Transition to digital/virtual work
The requirement that we engage virtually is pushing people in many areas of business to learn not only digital skills, but also to improve skills such as collaboration, creative problem-solving and openness to new ideas. Managers and team leaders, for example, are having to learn how to motivate and engage teams from afar. In order to maintain employee productivity, efficiency and loyalty, these new training needs must be met.
Where is your business going?
First, assess your business needs and consider how your organisation is going to work in this new world. Think of this as establishing a new business plan and direction; having a clear picture of the desired business goals and objectives will make it much easier to roll out this plan to other colleagues further down the road.
What does your business need?
Your next step is to decide what skills are required from your employees. The top skills that organisations require are both critical and mostly transferable; examples are adaptability, social skills, problem solving, resilience and cognitive thinking. These are all broad and versatile areas, offering employees the freedom to apply themselves across a multitude of roles and job requirements within the same skill sets.
Who will you upskill?
Gathering information on which employees are suitable for upskilling via team leaders is a key course of action. This allows managers to discuss with their teams the best way forward on individual levels; e.g. who is most suitable for upskilling and which employees might have additional applicable skills that the organisation isn’t necessarily aware of.
Follow the enthusiasm
For those who gain time in the day because they now work remotely and no longer have to factor in a commute, there’s an opportunity to use the time to gain new skills, which many people will welcome. As people get used to changes in the rhythm of daily life in a world where work and personal lives are happening in a shared space, they can and should build time to assess their skills – digital and otherwise – into their new routines.
Creating tailored learning journeys for each employee who is to be upskilled can be a great option. Similarly, creating individual learning plans can help track and monitor employee progress to keep them motivated to stay on track and it is also key to provide regular check-ins and support.
This is where virtual training has become a fantastic alternative to face to face during the pandemic; allowing organisations to efficiently and effectively train and upskill their staff. Create a toolkit of the skills you decided upon in the previous stages. This will not only help foster a stronger workforce, but also will most likely increase staff loyalty and reduce organisational turnover overall.
It is important to create an onboarding plan to help employees ease into their new roles, or the new ways of working. This can seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it is good practice to give them all the support they need.
Employee wellbeing is at a crucial point right now, due to the pandemic. Investing time, helping to make them feel settled and valued when they return to work and offering support and understanding, will make them happier and more motivated.
If you are thinking of upskilling your workforce and need assistance, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.