The Importance of Upskilling

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“Upskilling” is a buzzword that continues to be heard more and more these days. But do you know what it means, and why it is important in today’s modern work world?

As organizations have to adapt to keeping up with rapid technological advancements that weren’t seen in the past, it has become integral for employees to be continually learning and evolving to keep up with the latest changes, advances, and best practices. 

Put simply, upskilling is learning the skills you will need to succeed in your job in the future.

What does this mean for me as an employee?

The old edict “always be learning” no longer applies to those looking to get ahead, it is now a requirement to maintain your ability to perform your job.

As an employee you will have to keep up with the latest trends that relate to your job. This can be done a number of ways:

Subscribe to blogs and newsletters relevant to your field 

This can be an easy and quick way to learn daily about the latest trends, strategies, and how people are finding success in a changing landscape. This can help introduce you to new topics that will be more important for you to learn about in more depth.

Find a mentor

Learn directly from someone who is where you want to be. Find out what mistakes they made that you can avoid and how they achieved their successes. You can find plenty of insight talking to someone with more experience than you, and learn which skills are most important to develop.

Network

Connect with like minded professionals of all ages, levels of experience, and skill. This will help you build your connections, broaden your mindset, and learn how people are approaching changes outside of your role.

Watch online tutorials

There are videos online to help you learn pretty much anything. You can use these to walk you through using new programs at work, teach you new skills, or learn about a topic the interests you.

Read

An obvious one, but reading is a great way to learn about new technologies, the latest trends, and ways that successful people have achieved their success. 

Take online classes

As upskilling grows in importance more and more post-secondary institutions are expanding their offerings of online classes and programs to meet the growing demand. Take a look to see what is being currently offered that is important to your industry. 

These are only a few examples of ways that you can effectively develop your skill set throughout your career. The best methods can vary by the individual and the field you are in, so make sure to try different options to find what works best for you.

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What does this mean for me as an employer?

The expectations of employees are changing and newer professionals actively seek employment opportunities that include professional training. In a survey conducted by Robert Half, it was found that 91% of Gen Z workers cited professional training as an important factor when choosing an employer.

It is not just Gen Z employees either, but employees of all ages recognize the importance of professional development to staying relevant in their industry. Training and development programs help to boost employee morale and satisfaction, improve retention, and attract new talent. Having highly skilled employees reaps benefits for the organizations employing them.

Here are some ways that you as an employer can offer training opportunities to your employees:

Mentoring

Have those in upper level positions share their knowledge with other employees. It is a great way for them to learn, and will make them more motivated to improve as they will see their company being invested in their professional growth.

Lunch-and-learns

This is a great way to appeal to employees who feel they don’t have enough free time in their workday and allows your employees to come together as a team to learn a new skill. 

Tuition reimbursement 

Incentivize your employees to take online classes by offering to cover all or part of the cost of their classes. This allows them to learn subjects at an in depth level that may be beyond the organization's capability, while reducing the financial burden on them of pursuing professional development. 

Reward employees for their upskilling

A study by the Society of Human Resource Managers found that companies with employee recognition programs saw a 63% increase in employee productivity and a 51% increase in employee retention. By recognizing your employees for the work they are doing to improve their skills you give them incentive to keep improving and see great results for your company.

There are many ways to provide and incentivize upskilling for your employees, and these are just a few examples of effective ways to do that. The benefits of happier, more productive, more skilled employees will pay off significantly for the companies that put the time and resources into upskilling programs. 

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