1. Understand your situation and challenges
Your upskilling initiative should be built on a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding. Make sure you have a clear picture of where you currently stand in terms of the talent already available in your workforce and where you have the most urgent skills requirements.
This will involve connecting with relevant stakeholders within the business such as executives, HR leaders and employee representatives to gain an idea of the key capabilities you need to target and develop through upskilling.
2. Set relevant goals
Once you have a strong understanding of your current situation and the biggest obstacles you need to overcome, you can focus on setting goals that make sense for the business and your employees.
These objectives could come in various forms. Some will be quantitative and measurable - the number of employees completing training courses or rates of skilled staff turnover within the next six months, for example.
You could also consider setting goals that are less quantifiable but more aspirational and inspiring to your people, such as establishing your company as a leader in digital transformation in your industry within the next five years.
3. Design a targeted upskilling plan
If you've delivered training and skills development programs in the past that haven't generated much in the way of tangible results, it may be because they were too broad and not sufficiently focused.
When you want to upskill your workforce and prepare your business for the future, it's crucial to take a targeted approach that reflects the unique needs of your organization and its people.
Consider questions such as:
- Which roles within your company will feel the greatest impact from technological development in the coming years?
- What new positions do you expect to emerge that will demand specialist skills?
- Which employees are currently the least prepared for changes in their jobs and require dedicated upskilling support?
4. Engage with individuals
The targeted approach you take to your upskilling strategy as a whole should also be reflected in how you engage and communicate with the individuals taking part in the initiative.
While it provides opportunities for professional growth and development, upskilling could also cause concern in the workforce. People who are being asked to learn more about automation and digital transformation, for example, might be worrying about these concepts making their jobs obsolete.
Make sure you're talking to employees about where the upskilling program will lead and how it could help them fulfill their personal aspirations. Forming these one-to-one connections will also help you tailor your training and education programs to suit the preferences of individual participants.
5. Select training methods carefully
It's extremely unlikely you'll get the results you want from your upskilling activities if the learning and training opportunities you provide are unengaging or ill-conceived.
Talk to a wide range of stakeholders - with a focus on the employees who will actually be taking part - to collect opinions about what types of training are likely to be most effective and will contribute to engagement and motivation.
Consider how you can leverage and derive value from the skills already available in your workforce. Could mentoring programs that allow high-performing staff to pass on their skills and knowledge to co-workers prove more effective than bringing in an external training provider, for example?
6. Monitor performance and results
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that once your upskilling strategy has been planned and launched your work is done.
Some of the most crucial actions are taken after the program is implemented, as you monitor how it's performing and collect as much information and feedback as possible to gauge its effectiveness.
Make sure you're taking advantage of digital HR tools and technologies to collect, manage and analyze a wide range of performance data and results.
It's also crucial to maintain your focus on direct communication and engagement with employees. The people taking part in the upskilling initiative are your most valuable source of insight into how it's performing, which elements are working well and, perhaps most importantly of all, what needs to change.
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