Five Ways to Upskill Employees

Five Ways to Upskill Employees

We know and recognise the importance of upskilling. Not only does it help retention rates and keep employees motivated, but it is also vital for dealing with the growing digital skills gap and keeping a company relevant and able to grow. Upskilling gives your existing employees additional skills to enhance their abilities at work and it can be achieved in a range of ways. Here we’re looking at five key tactics to use when upskilling your employees.

1) Micro-educate

People are busy. Their work schedules are busy and finding additional time for training and additional skills development can be difficult. Bite-sized education in small chunks, commonly known as microlearning, helps inject new ideas and skills in small, manageable modules. Microlearning modules are usually 3-6 minutes long and focus on learning a very narrow, specific objective. It allows an important new skill or practice to be quickly embedded in the regular working processes of your employees and doesn’t require significant time away from the office or workplace. Microlearning is easily embedded in or available through a range of cloud-based learning management systems. This means employees can complete their new skills training wherever they are, whether working remotely on the go or in the office. This added convenience is another plus point.

2) Appoint mentors

If you have employees with ability but not the direct skills in a particular area and others who are fully trained, utilise mentors to get the lesser-skilled employees up to speed. Forbes report that around 70% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programmes in place and they are a valuable tool for upskilling. Mentorship opportunities are great for employees who are on the verge of moving into a more senior position and need an additional push or guidance towards their new role. Remember, those who have the most experience and potential to be mentors may also be the busiest within your organisation. For a mentor scheme to properly work you must ensure proper time is set aside.

3) Encourage Self-Training

Encouraging your employees to reflect and plan their own learning path ensures all upskilling is relevant but also something the employee is engaged with. Removing barriers and offering incentives will help employees to improve their training approach. Incentives you could consider include:
1) Paid training time – allocated paid work hours for training will be really appreciated. Employees can use this time to upskill in relevant areas.
2) Offer incentives for employees who actively upskill away from work – this could be through financial bonuses or perks such as early finish times or gift cards as a reward for their extra hard work.
3) Be flexible with work-hours training sessions – allowing employees to attend relevant workshops and seminars during their working hours helps ensure they feel their time spent upskilling is worthwhile.

4) Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a recognised qualification and skills building programme that are ideal for upskilling your employees. They are ideal for employers who want to upskill their employees with a new set of skills to an advanced level. Apprenticeships help with the development of vocational skills and can also be used to develop the skills an employee needs to advance their career. Management and leadership apprentices are great for employees about the embark on their next career stage.

5) Build a Culture of Learning

Learning should be a process that continues throughout every employee’s journey with your company. The opportunity to upskill should be present at all stages of their career and managers should take on the role of coach throughout the process. Managers with a coaching approach to their roles build environments where learning is a priority and in-built into the culture of your workplace. Providing opportunities to learn and develop in the workplace is vital for a motivated and empowered workforce.

Upskilling is possible in a wide range of different ways. From short courses and microlearning to comprehensive apprenticeship programmes. Every opportunity to learn and develop will be appreciated by your employees.