Follow these 12 steps to Encourage Upskilling at your Organization

ICOG - 21-Aug-2022

Many organizations are beginning to realize that spending money on learning and development is an investment and not an expense. L&D initiatives provide opportunities for upskilling which is essential for multiple reasons - more engaged employees, higher retention rates and improved productivity to name a few. But apart from merely setting aside the budget for learning and development, what strategies can an organization pursue to encourage upskilling at the workplace?


1. Create a culture of learning

This sounds obvious but it is harder than it seems. But all employees must feel the shift in organizational culture that openly embraces learning. There must be consistent communication to convey that the organization wants employees to take advantage of online courses, conferences and any other learning opportunities that are provided by the organization.


2. Empower HR to provide the right support

While the top management can create a learning culture, the HR department must be the embodiment of the culture at the organization. From hiring to onboarding, HR must walk the talk and ensure that 'learning culture' is not just management-speak. HR must constantly look for the best ways to enhance learning at the organization and provide a support function to the employees as well. 


3. Offer the required resources

As a supplement to creating the culture, the organization should offer access to the resources, both physical and digital, that are required by its employees to effectively upskill for their jobs. Ideally, the organization should accommodate varied types of learning as each employee will take advantage of different types of resources. 


4. Empower employees to learn

Allow employees to be in charge of their learning; this will ensure more active upskilling. While organizations may want to mandate some crucial training, it's in the organization's best interest to incorporate employee involvement in creating their individualized learning plans to guarantee better learning outcomes.


5. Develop an organizational skill taxonomy and find skill gaps

While it's good practice to allow employees to determine what they'd like to learn, it would benefit them to provide them with a skills framework to work with. Every organization must create a skill taxonomy of essential skills required at the workplace, preferably by job role. Not only will this help the organization identify skill gaps in every role, employees can also look at aspired roles and see where they fall short, so they can build their learning journey accordingly. The HR department must be actively involved in this process, so they can make the right hires and offer good insights into internal promotions.


6. Encourage employees to share what they've learned

Encourage employees to share knowledge with their peers, which not only reiterates the learning culture, but also makes employees a new source for learning. Teaching others is also a great way to retain information, so the newfound knowledge is not lost. This also promotes collaboration at the workplace.


7. Create opportunities for employees to get involved in diverse projects

By allowing employees to participate in projects that might not be directly related to their current roles, the organization helps employees develop new skills as well as create a practice of working beyond specific job roles, thereby creating more well-rounded employees. In this manner, organizations can help mitigate the negative effects of situations where an employee is absent or leaves the organization; someone else might be able to temporarily step into the role or even be promoted into it from within. 


8. Offer rewards and incentives

Everyone loves rewards. Not only does this provide positive reinforcement for more learning, it also shows that the organization values better-skilled employees. Rewards can be offered in various ways: providing money or time off for completing training courses or certifications, providing organization-wide recognition via company newsletters or notice boards to showcase employee learning, or promoting deserving employees by communicating to the organization how upskilling activities led to the promotion.


9. Track and evaluate progress

The only way to know if real upskilling is taking place at the workplace is to look at data and understand it. A great way to track and evaluate learning progress is to implement learning platforms which create separate profiles for each employee and track all actions taken by each individual employee. A comprehensive platform like ICOG provides dashboards that visualize skill gaps and offers clear direction to the employees and the organization as well. Organizations can see their entire workforce's skill levels, and make educated decisions about promotions and succession plans.


10. Have open dialogue with employees

As the target users in any learning and development plan, it's essential to listen to their feedback about what’s missing and either offer the resources in-house or provide options for them to access the required resources. Learning experience platforms also offer services like content curation, which takes a huge burden off the organization in finding enough variety of content for their upskilling initiatives. 


11. Test interest levels in a learning platform

If your organization has yet to implement a learning platform, organizations can now take advantage of trial periods where the platform can be introduced to one particular department or a set number of employees (as ICOG offers). Once there's enough uptake, your employees will provide the feedback needed to then implement the platform organization-wide. 


12. Make learning fun

Any experience that is enjoyable is bound to be repeated. So, to ensure that there is a continual learning and upskilling culture, learning should be fun. This final step is harder to accomplish as learning is a personal experience, but that's why incorporating the above points will help cover different learning types, so that the organization can offer a fun experience for everyone involved. LXPs are also getting more fun by incorporating gamification elements in their platforms, so users have a fun and enjoyable learning experience. 

By following the above steps, organizations can not only ensure that their employees are constantly improving their skills, but it also ensures skill maintenance. Contact ICOG to make it easier to implement the above strategies to guarantee consistent upskilling at your organization.


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