New technologies and digitization significantly affect the way companies work and their internal communication. Due to the rapid pace of technological development, organizations are constantly adapting to new standards, and the specialists working in them are forced to expand their skills and acquire new knowledge, especially in the field of technology.
At the same time, according to the Bigram report, 86% of HR specialists and managers participating in the study notice a shortage of candidates in the IT area, which poses a great threat in the process of implementing digitization strategies.
It is therefore worth checking whether the employees in our company are up to date with new trends and have access to the latest technology that will allow the organization to grow. It is important to take appropriate steps to educate the best talents in this field.
One way to develop these skills is through upskilling.
What does upskilling mean, why is it worth taking care of it and how to develop talents? Find out in the article.
What is upskilling?
Upskilling is a process during which a company can help employees improve the skills they need at work. It is a development within the position held (not necessarily related to a promotion), often consisting in acquiring new certificates and raising competencies, allowing to gain an expert level in the field in which a given employee specializes. The need for upskilling is often associated with the development of technology and the changing environment, and the resulting from it, increased expectations on employees.
In short, upskilling is a process of improving the skills of employees and adapting them to the current situation in the company and on the market and the challenges in the industry in which the company operates. Thanks to it, the company remains competitive, and its employees constantly develop and remain motivated to work.
Advantages of upskilling
The development of employee skills is a priority for many employers. Especially in the current labor market, when the greatest talents are constantly in demand and the recruitment of qualified employees is becoming more and more difficult, it is worth supporting employees in acquiring new, necessary skills.
Why is upskilling so important?
- Currently, we are noticing ever greater and rapidly occurring changes in individual workplaces.
- Employees not only appreciate development opportunities, but more and more often expect them from their employers, especially where there is so-called ‘employee market’, e.g. in the IT industry.
- Opportunities to develop one’s own skills have a positive impact on the level of job satisfaction.
- Upskilling can increase employee productivity, morale and motivation, while reducing turnover and investment in recruiting new talent.
- Upskilling helps a company stay competitive in its industry.
How to create a strategy for upskilling employees?
Employers can help employees develop their skills in a variety of ways. Before we start the activities related to the upskilling process, it is worth defining a few milestones that will help us approach the topic strategically.
1. Determining the competency gap in the company
Every business is different. Before planning employee development, let’s check where there are competency gaps and what skills require improvement in our organization. Make sure that the planned activities result from the actual requirements of both the company and individual employees. Their needs will depend on their current skills, position and tasks performed on a daily basis, including those requiring orientation in technological innovations. It may be a good idea to involve management in creating an action strategy and to have individual conversations with team members to best understand their needs.
Only then can upskilling be effective and efficient.
2. Defining short-term and long-term goals
When creating the upskilling process, let’s not forget about the long term. It is important to follow the current trends in order not to stand out from the competition and take full advantage of modern technologies. However, it is also worth planning activities that will bring results in the future. It will be good to find a balance between urgent changes and anticipating the required actions in the long term.
By identifying competency gaps and planning employee development, you can think about possible changes in the organizational structure, and reward hard work on the development of the most important competencies with a promotion. This will both motivate people to take up the challenge and fill future job vacancies.
3. Adapting the training program to the needs and possibilities of the organization
There is no one universal way to develop employees. Probably not all methods will work in our organization. It is worth conducting a SWOT analysis, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the company and its employees, precisely determining the costs and benefits of the selected tools and adjusting them to the budget we have. We can outsource the upskilling process to a consulting company and organize meetings with external trainers. We can also decide to independently develop employees’ competencies and prepare internal trainers for this role. What is most important is the proper adaptation of the strategy to the company and its capabilities.
Where to start when planning employee development?
Constructing upskilling or reskilling (changing the industry) is not easy. The 2019 publication describing twenty best practices for these two processes may come in handy. It presents an in-depth study by the European Commission and a group of CEPS scientists in companies from different countries. Among them, you can find some inspirations, which are presented below.
In this assessment method, the employee receives feedback not only from the supervisor, as it is in most organizations, but also from subordinates, clients and colleagues. This allows for a much more accurate identification of the development areas and competency gaps. Thanks to this, the employee can more consciously plan the next steps and choose the right training and other ways to develop their skills, and the company has a broader picture of the situation and the ability to better adapt solutions to the needs of the organization.
This solution is based on sharing the newly acquired knowledge within the company. Employees who previously participated in interesting trainings share their notes and resources from useful activities with other people in the company who, for some reason, were not able to join the meetings. This creates a flow of knowledge between colleagues or different teams within one organization and encourages participation in future initiatives.
Digital library of business knowledge
The digital library is a collection of organization’s educational resources accessible to all employees. This solution will be useful especially when conducting onboarding, but not only. It will also help in equalizing the level of knowledge in various areas and will allow you to build an organizational culture in the company by presenting the same expectations for all employees. This solution will ensure that employees will have no problem finding sources of information and will be able to use the materials even when working from home.
E-learning allows each employee to develop their skills at any time and place they choose. This form of teaching will make it easier for us to encourage employees to take dedicated courses. Thanks to the recordings, we will also reduce training costs, saving, among other things, on renting a training room or repeating the same meetings for several different groups of employees.
If you want to hire talented IT specialists and further develop their knowledge, contact us. We will be happy to assist you in conducting an efficient recruitment process.