Dec 15, 2022

6 Ways Your Business Can Quickly Upskill Its Workforce

by Digital Marketing Institute

Technological advancements are keeping the modern workforce on its toes. Plus the impact of the Great Resignation post-pandemic is exacerbating the digital skills crisis across industries.

According to Aiman Ezzat, CEO of Capgemini SE at the World Economic Forum’s 2022 meeting, there needs to be a “massive reskilling of the digital economy” to meet demand and companies are not doing enough.” 

To stay competitive and relevant, companies across the world need to upskill their workforce quickly. Companies that are digitally mature, with employees that can adapt to new technologies  will be more agile and productive. 

On the flip side, employees are also looking to work with forward-thinking companies, offer digital skills training, and enable career advancement. So there’s an urgent need to not only identify the skills you require in-house but also see where the gaps are in your delivery of skills and knowledge. 

Let’s look at six effective ways to create a company and workforce that can leverage digital technologies to drive growth and revenue.

1. Continuous Professional Development

More than just skills training, continuous professional development gives your workforce the chance to earn certifications throughout their career. 

But why focus on providing professional qualifications for your workforce instead of more typical training programs?

Having staff complete widely recognized training programs ensures they have the skills required in their field to beat out your competition. Professional certifications can transform your digital capabilities and offer a depth of education that can’t be replicated by many other forms of learning.

Some mistakenly believe that because you’re offering a certification it must be  generalized and meant to give anyone a wide range of digital skills. But the benefits of continuous professional development is that you arm your staff with customized skills to address your specific business needs. 

For example, we helped IBM create a specialized certification process for its sales team. Instead of offering a generalized program, the certification process taught IBM’s workforce how to overcome the specific challenges the company faced. As a result, IBM’s digital sales force saw a 7% win rate increase and a 37% reduction in days to close.

2. Microlearning

6 Ways Your Business Can Quickly Upskill Its Workforce

Microlearning is even more targeted than CPD. It involves giving your employees  bursts of training about specific skills. 

This will help you to target key areas of concern or solve the skills gap in your workforce, without investing too many resources or having critical staff take too much time away from duties.

This is also a flexible form of learning. You may have a suite of microlearning courses and choose which ones are important for any specific role within your company. For example, marketers may need social media training so they can use and leverage platforms to engage prospects. 

By having employees learn what is crucial for their tasks, you can save time and increase productivity. Microlearning allows you to give employees access to training  when they need it. As employees gain new responsibilities, they can access new modules.

3. Retraining

When your company invests in new technology or changes the way it does business, you may need to find employees with new skills. 

However, when you try to recruit them, you may realize that there aren’t enough technically talented people to go around. Gartner found that technology skills are “no longer rooted in IT, but need to be marbled across organizational functions and businesses and coupled with soft skills to achieve transformation success.” 

You probably already have talented people in your organization, who haven’t been exposed to the training they need to meet your company’s new skill gap. Investing in retraining some of these employees will help you get technical talent for less. After all, they are already integrated into your workplace culture and have invaluable knowledge from their current position.

The benefits of retraining employees for positions in your organization are clear, from avoiding the competition to attracting technical or digital talent, to maintaining loyalty to your organization. However, you can’t afford to only focus on your least technically talented employees.

Read: How to Create & Cultivate a Digital Culture in Your Organization

4. Update Your Experts

Some of the employees in your workforce are already digitally-savvy and actively pursue new training and in-demand skills on their own. These employees are valuable, but research demonstrates that you may lose them if you don’t allow them the opportunity to improve their skills further.

According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning report, employees who feel that their skills are not being put to good use in their current job are 10 times more likely to be looking for a new job than those who feel that their skills are being put to good use. This shows how important valuing your staff is to drive retention and keep talent within your business. 

The same report found that the top three focus areas of learning and development (L&D) programs in 2022 are leadership and development, upskilling or reskilling and digital upskilling or digital transformation. While you may be focusing on updating employees who are behind, your HR or L&D team needs to make sure to nurture your most expert staff as well. This will help boost loyalty and sharpen skills – all to your benefit. 

STAT - More than $300 billion is spent on corporate education each year - Allied Market Research.

5. Peer Support Programs

Your plans to upskill your workforce shouldn’t exclude internal training opportunities. If you have digitally savvy employees in your organization, make the most of their ability through a peer support program. 

Not only can your employees swap skills, but they are already familiar with your workplace and can make the training highly relevant to your business.

Peer support programs are smart for another reason. A Capterra survey of HR leaders found that 49% of organizations are increasing their learning and development spend in 2022—up from 41% in 2021, a 20% increase YOY.

But if you’re facing budgetary pressures this type of increase may not be possible so a peer support program may be right for you. Using your existing workforce to train your people is less resource intensive than investing in outside training.

Catching your least experienced staff up to a similar level to your other staff can then allow you to upskill a larger portion of your workforce for a lower overall cost.

6. Offer New Career Paths

Technological changes or advancements like automation or the rise of artificial intelligence may make some of the career paths in your organization dry up, but it should also open up new ones. 

Investing in offering those paths early on can help you retain staff instead of letting them go. After all, this is the era of hybrid and remote working so flexibility and career advancement should be possible as long as the training is available to upskill employees in the required skills. 

Consider AT&T, which actively fosters and supports new career paths for employees. The company’s training initiatives reached 210,000 employees in 2021 and created a culture of continuous learning and skills development. It offers personalized training, mentoring and career development programs through AT&T University and invested $158 million in direct employee training and professional development programs and delivered 15 million hours of training in 2021 – 43 hours per employee. 

Read: How to Manage a Remote Team (and the tools to help you do it) if you are responsible for staff that is spread out or in different locations. 

Upskill your workforce to drive loyalty, retention and growth

The need to be a mature digital organization is essential in today’s technologically driven world. Offer customized learning that meets the exact needs of your workforce and business with DMI’s online training programs. Contact DMI today to find out we can help you! 

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