How to Support Employee Education and Upskilling in 2022
Rob Turner

As the Great Resignation continues to spread like wildfire, companies are scrambling to find new strategies to retain their employees and build a competitive edge in this fast-changing economy. But the solution might be much easier than you’d think.

Today, for nearly 95% of top talents, the availability of development opportunities is the most important factor in choosing a company to work for. So, it isn’t surprising that upskilling and reskilling programs have become the top priority for L&D departments across the country.

Here’s how you can concretely support your employee’s development and education.

Aim To Fill Your Company’s Current and Future Skill Gap

With the industry developing at an unprecedented rate, nearly 60% of the current workforce will require new skills to remain relevant in the future, and over 30% of today’s jobs will be disrupted by emerging technologies.

So, before diving in and splurging your company’s budget on a training program, it is crucial to pinpoint what your company’s current skill gap is and what skills will be essential in the future. And, the answer is not always so obvious!

A skill gap analysis will highlight your employees’ skill level and competencies, as well as how they compare to the industry’s standards. You might find that your employees are excellent at using the tools that are currently available but lack the resiliency, adaptability, and digital fluency to thrive in the future. Or, vice-versa!

Integrate Upskilling in Your Employee Development Road Map

While an employee development program is a priority for most companies, when it comes down to its execution, there is still plenty of room for improvement. And, upskilling is not always part of a company’s talent development road map.

At the same time, building upskilling opportunities within your current training program can help you address each employees’ development needs and career goals. It can also encourage each talent to set their own career and progression goals, which allows them to remain competitive and relevant in their role - today, and in the future.

Sponsor Your Employees’ Education

While upskilling is necessary, many employees tend to postpone or overlook most training opportunities that are not easily combinable with their professional life. So, if you are looking to upskill your workforce, it is essential to encourage your employees to learn while they earn.
There is more than one way to do so:
  • Consider on-the-job training - paid training happening within the business premises might require you to modify your teams’ weekly timetable and work allocation. However, in the long run, you’ll be able to benefit from highly skilled managers who are able to cope with changes and tech development.

  • Fund your employees’ college education - while only 1 in 10 eligible employees take advantage of educational benefits offered by employees, offering college tuition assistance can help you take your upskilling program and talents’ skill set to the next level.

  • Offer a mentoring program - a mentoring program can help your employees partner with an expert, knowledgeable professional and map their career progression. In turn, this can help them understand how the industry standards are developing and what skills are needed to boost their professional development.
As an employer, you’ll have plenty of resources available and a consistent budget to support your employees’ development. However, if you are looking for financial help to kickstart your upskilling program, there is a wide range of solutions worth considering. Find more information at SoFi private student loans.

Value Your Employees’ Collaboration

You might have hired your employees for their values, culture, and skills. But, above all, you have found in them the trusted and experienced industry experts your company needs. Now it is time to trust their opinion once more by taking up their suggestion regarding the upskilling efforts they’d like to see.
Don’t forget that, as industry experts, your employees might be more knowledgeable than you are regarding future trends and emerging technologies with the potential of disrupting the sector.

Gather their feedback through surveys, direct questions, and personal assessments. Don’t forget that careers are employee-owned, and your role is only to support and enable your team’s development.

Design an Ad Hoc Training Plan

Each of your employees will learn in different ways - and the upskilling program or training course you have designed might not work as well for two different team members.

That is why it is crucial to partner with an expert company, your HR department, and the employees themselves to understand what tools are available and most suitable for your workforce upskilling goals.

Depending on the timeline, budget, and objectives you have in mind, you might consider investing in:

  • eLearning or corporate Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Instructor-led training or coaching
  • Simulation and role-playing training
  • Group and team-building activities
  • On-the-job and job shadowing training
  • Cross-training
While traditional upskilling tools such as cross-training and video training are still as popular as ever, utilizing new technologies can make a difference. Training software and Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) can help your workforce hone their skills while also becoming more familiar with digital and interactive tools.