September 17, 2019 | 5 min read
How To Encourage Upskilling In The Workplace


Today’s market means that employers must redefine their career development strategy. Employees today are seeking more than just standard pay and good benefits; they want development opportunities to boost their professional marketability and job security. To adapt to these needs, employers should be making the effort to upskill their employees. 

Not only can upskilling boost employee engagement and retention, but it can also help ensure you don’t fall too behind your competitors. According to Gartner, 64% of managers don’t think their employees are able to keep pace with future skill needs. Worse, nearly 50% of respondents to our annual Hiring Outlook survey don’t feel they are being offered opportunities for professional development. 

This skills gap may be closed by looking internally at current staff and exploring ways to make upskilling a priority for future success. Let’s explore a few ways upskilling can be encouraged in the workplace:

Identify gaps in your workforce

It’s important for employers to first analyze the status of their employees’ skills. In order for your organization to run effectively and successfully, what sorts of skill sets do you need? If any of these skills are missing, are there any employees who could be trained to fulfill current gaps? Addressing these questions can help set the stage for a future upskilling plan.

Set learning time into the workload

With a busy workday, employees often feel that they don’t have enough allotted time for learning new skills. To avoid this situation, it’s important for employers to encourage continued learning by incorporating upskilling opportunities into daily and weekly duties. Therefore, a set amount of time should be allocated for employees to spend on trainings and courses. By encouraging this time, employees will thrive with the latest skills and companies will see a positive impact.

Offer access to resources for continued learning

In addition to setting aside time for learning, employers can encourage upskilling by offering access to various useful resources. An open door to certain resources such as online learning tools, skills workshops, conferences, and professional organizations can facilitate a work environment that thrives on learning. Findings from LinkedIn state that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. Investing in such resources is worthwhile, as the alternative is high turnover costs.

Prioritize learning goals in addition to performance goals

Your best employee might be exceeding in performance goals, but are they up to speed on the latest technical developments in their role? These types of questions are important to ask as you evaluate your employees’ progress. Learning goals should be equally recognized as performance achievements that encourage growth within the company. To take employee development a step further, making learning a part of the job description or formal review process can motivate employees even more!

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