Upskilling is more than a buzzword. It’s a golden strategy for brands that are serious about helping their companies and employees grow personally and professionally.
In fact, companies worldwide spend an average of $1,270 per team member on learning and development, and we can see why.
From nurturing employee talent to boosting the organization’s value, upskilling contributes to overall productivity and efficiency.
If you’re ready to embrace upskilling in 2023, we’ve got just the guide for you. In today’s article, we’re sharing what exactly upskilling is, why it matters, and how to create your own upskilling strategy.
Ready to learn more?
What does upskilling employees mean?
Upskilling means teaching an employee additional skills — for instance, new hard or soft skills, or new job-specific skills.
For example, you might want to help your employees enhance their communication skills. Or you may want to help your team members specialize in more refined roles or fields within your company.
In either case, it’s important to remember that employees train and develop at their own pace. That means you may need to set different expectations for each employee depending on their individual role.
The importance of upskilling in 2023
Creating an upskilling program is crucial to enable your employees to take action toward their personal and professional development.
But before we get into how to develop an upskilling program, let’s take a quick look at four of the top benefits of upskilling and why you should upskill your employees in 2023.
To remain competitive
The competition to find top talent is constantly increasing. Just take a quick look at job search sites like Salarship, Indeed, or LinkedIn.
If you peruse through job postings, you’ll notice that most organizations are looking for employees with innovative and specialized skills.
To retain top talent
Upskilling is pivotal to preventing high employee turnover and increasing employee retention. Employees want to gain relevant skills and not grow out of their jobs fast. They prioritize their growth and will stay longer with a company that offers upskilling opportunities.
To increase your business’ value
Want to sell your company for as much as possible one day? Investing in its talent can help you position your organization as a skilled, educated entity that not only runs like a well-oiled machine but is also passionate about growing and evolving — two crucial pillars investors look for before buying a business.
To set your employees up for success
Helping your employees nurture their talent development and learn new skills is essential to setting them up to succeed in their current and future roles.
Whether they stay with you for decades or leave in just a few years, nurturing an employee’s career progression doesn’t just benefit them — your business reaps rewards, too.
From boosting employee engagement to widening your organization’s expertise, having upskilled employees can help your business grow and move closer toward its long-term vision.
How to create an upskilling strategy
Now that we’ve shared what upskilling is and why it matters, let’s take a brief look at how to create an upskilling strategy.
1. Identify business and employee goals
Start by identifying your business goals. What goals are moderate to highly dependent on your employees’ contribution?
Next, host a meeting or send a questionnaire asking your employees to share their professional development goals. Be sure to also ask how your organization can help its members meet them.
2. Identify current business and employee strengths and skills
Highlight your business’ and employees’ current strengths and skills.
Note any specific ways your business can use its skills and strengths to help employees meet their goals — and then do the opposite. Jot down specific ways your team members can use their talent to help your organization fulfill its goals.
3. Mind the skills gap
Host a power hour brainstorming session with your team to go over the goals, strengths, and skills you noted in steps one and two. Then work together to “mind the gap” by looking for opportunities to upskill and highlighting any “skills gaps.”
In other words, identify which skills and strengths are currently missing from the organization as a whole. How does the company need to level up? In what areas do your employees need to grow to help your organization meet its goals?
Next, identify which tools you’ll need to help your company and employees evolve.
For instance, if you run a marketing agency and one of your goals is to streamline your copywriting processes, then your team may benefit from investing in AI writing tools, like paraphrase generators.
Or, if you’re the head of education technology at a language academy and your goal is to shorten IT resolution times, then your school might see value in upgrading to remote support software.
Whatever the case may be, choose tools that have the best chance of helping you and your employees get closer to your goals.
4. Create a plan to make it happen
Finally, choose how you’ll structure and implement your development plans.
For instance, maybe your employees would learn best from workshops or group coaching sessions. Or maybe a physical or virtual classroom setting would be more appropriate. Or, if you’re fully remote, online training programs might be your best bet.
After you’ve settled on a structure, solidify a team training schedule and choose your facilitators.
Then, give your team a heads-up and get ready for the upskilling to begin!
Upskilling employees in 2023
Upskilling in 2023 is a must if you're interested in staying competitive, keeping top talent, increasing your company’s value, and setting your employees up for success.
If you’re ready to boost your company’s and your employees’ skills and strengths, we hope today’s article has given you the insights you need to get the ball rolling.