Learn & Evolve LLC. by Professor Arezou Harraf

The Importance of Upskilling Your Employees with Training

The Importance of Upskilling Your Employees with Training

The world is constantly evolving, especially with the advent of new technologies and the emergence of new trends. Evidently, businesses need to adapt to the changes or risk becoming obsolete. One way to adapt is through upskilling. Growing in popularity, upskilling is based on the understanding that we must continue to upgrade our skills to match the new realities. Employee trainings in particular need to respond to the demands of an ever-changing world.

What Is Upskilling?

Upskilling can be understood as upgrading people’s skills so that they remain able to perform their work now and for the foreseeable future. It focuses on employees in their current positions within an organization, only expanding their skillsets. Meanwhile, the need for upskilling arises with changes in the world that affect how work is done. Most recently, the need for digital upskilling increased with the digital acceleration brought on by the pandemic that limited in-person contact.

Why Is Upskilling Important?

Recent reports, like that of the World Economic Forum (WEF), point to a skills gap in the workforce. In other words, there is a difference between the skills that employees possess and the skills they need to keep carrying out their work. This gap is mainly due to organizations failing to properly develop their employees’ skills. As a result, millions of people are getting left behind, becoming unemployed or being replaced at work. Companies are also negatively impacted as the number of qualified workers drops.

Upskilling’s importance lies in the fact that it helps bridge the skills gap and avoid the consequences. It is also the less expensive option: it costs up to two times the employee’s annual salary, possibly more, to replace them with someone else, according to a Gallup survey. Upskilling is just a fraction of that cost, promotes a culture of learning, makes employees feel valuable, increases employee retention, and is more time efficient.

Upskill Training

According to a PwC report, 74% of CEOs worry about the availability of key skills. In a more recent report, it is stated that 77% of employees are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain. Side by side, the numbers show that company needs in terms of skills can be met internally with training, as employees are ready and willing to undergo the upskill training.

Employees are both willing and able to upskill. In the time since the pandemic’s onset, employees have proven that they can rise to the challenge. They are quite capable of learning new skills to adjust to new work demands, all while maintaining productivity. This process is, of course, better guided with carefully designed and expertly delivered trainings.

There are different ways to implement upskill trainings. Companies might opt to do them online or on-site, as digital modules or “lunch and learn” sessions. Figuring out the training is usually the responsibility of the HR department. The important thing is to find out what works best for employees and company alike, tailoring the trainings to success.

In conclusion, it has proven worthwhile to invest in employee upskill trainings, with a focus on a company’s existing workforce. Importantly, these trainings need to be inclusive and accessible, keeping in mind that employee development and company success are interlinked. An employee who has been given the opportunity to develop their skills will become an asset to the company in the face of an ever-changing world.

Arezou Harraf