In April of 2021, there were 9 million vacant jobs in the U.S.1 As if this weren’t enough of a problem in the midst of a pandemic, there is also a skills shortage in the workplace. This is causing organizations to prioritize upskilling employees post-COVID.
Upskilling is a hot topic right now. The Balance Careers explained that in order for workers to remain in their current roles, many would need to be upskilled. This is because “...the share of core skills that will change in the next five years is 40%, and 50% of all employees will need upskilling or reskilling.”2
In addition to enabling workers to stay in their job roles, upskilling your workforce has many other benefits.
The Benefits of Upskilling Employees
The benefits of upskilling your workforce are enormous. The ITA Group3 listed several benefits of equipping workers with new skills:
Less staff churn - Did you know that replacing employees can cost a small-to-medium sized company millions of dollars? The ITA Group said, “...a 100-person organization that provides an average salary of $50,000 could have turnover and replacement costs of approximately $660,000 to $2.6 million per year.”
Training employees can help to prevent turnover and the hefty price tag that comes with it. Why? Because it fosters employee loyalty and keeps workers’ skill sets relevant. This sets them up to succeed in their job roles and enjoy work more.
Better employee morale - Employers may be noticing that employee morale is suffering due to the pandemic. Workers could be concerned about their health, their job security, the wellbeing of family members, or all of the above. This doesn’t make for happy employees.
By upskilling employees, employers can improve overall morale. “Employees who have training and development opportunities are happier in their roles and have a brighter outlook on their future with the company,” explained the ITA Group. The source further explained that having a career path can excite workers and give them something to look forward to, boosting their morale and sense of purpose.
Higher rate of customer satisfaction - Without satisfied customers, a business cannot thrive. But without satisfied, engaged, well skilled workers, it is tough to promote customer satisfaction. After all, employees need specific skills to provide top-notch customer service. They can get these skills through continuous learning and training.
Also, as stated earlier, training improves employee morale. Satisfied employees are much more likely to go the extra mile for customers and help to build customer loyalty. So many organizations have lost customers throughout the pandemic. Upskilling workers can help them mitigate this to an extent.
There are a lot of ways to upskill your workforce and experience the benefits listed above. But which upskilling methods are right for your organization? Knowing your options for upskilling employees is the first step.
Related Reading: “How to Upskill Tech Employees Remotely”
4 Ways to Upskill Your Workforce in the Midst of the Pandemic
Now that the pandemic is in full swing, the workplace has changed. Many people cannot simply congregate at the office, complete their work, and go home any more. At this point, about 25 percent of the U.S. workforce works remotely, per CNBC.4 Also, “By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels,” the source reported. Many businesses have switched to a remote or blended learning model because of this.
What is also different about the workplace is employees’ focus, drive, and motivation. The stress of the pandemic has affected most workers. Employers will need to get creative to effectively engage learners and upskill employees in the months to come.
So, what are some ways to upskill employees? Here are a few:
1. Get employees interested in training - You can’t upskill workers without training them. But without an interest in training, it will be hard for an employee to fully engage with learning and benefit from it. To ensure your company’s investment in training delivers a good ROI, do all you can to interest workers in training. You can increase learner engagement by:
- Making all training relevant to workers’ job tasks
- Offering optional role-based learning paths that lead to career advancement
- Finding out what training topics workers are interested in via survey
- Giving quick feedback on training
Also, making training interactive is critically important to engaging workers in their training sessions, whether in-person or online. Tests, quizzes, knowledge checks, and games are all elements of interactive training.
2. Offer mentorship opportunities for employees - One of the best ways to upskill your workers is by making mentorship opportunities available to them. A contributor to The Predictive Index stated, “Mentorship programs are on the rise—and for good reason. Forbes reported that about 70% of Fortune 500 companies have a program in place. Connecting experienced employees with newer team members fosters a sense of community, while also rounding out existing training initiatives.”5
Connecting workers with mentors may sound unrealistic in light of the current health crisis. But with webinar technology and shared calendars, workers can most definitely be mentored by peers and managers. They could even do virtual job shadowing. By thinking outside the box and making good use of technology, you can upskill your workforce using mentorship.
3. Locate skills gaps and plan training accordingly - Before creating new training for employees, it’s important that administrators are aware of organizational skills gaps. By working with department heads, they can get an idea of what skills workers need most. Department heads and their teams can point out the job roles that are lacking in skills, especially critical technology skills. Once skills gaps and needs are understood, L&D teams should work with department heads and HR professionals to craft the most effective training courses and programs.
Also, before planning training, it’s helpful to anticipate the future skills your company will need. “...take stock of what the organizations in your industry may need in the future,” The Balance Careers said.6 “For example, companies may be seeking employees who are skilled in new technology such as robotic process automation, materials science, or simulations with machine learning that can predict outcomes and streamline processes.”
When in doubt, train workers in new technologies. The usage of tech among employees will only increase in the future. Employees across all industries will almost certainly need tech training to ensure their career success in the future, as well as the success of their employers.
4. Use an online learning platform to deliver training - Chances are, your workforce is dispersed due to the pandemic. To upskill your workforce more easily, you will need an online learning platform. A learning management system (LMS) is often the best choice for employee training.
LMS software has built-in features that enable mobile learning and social learning, both of which help improve learner engagement. An LMS makes compliance training and certification simple for administrators and learners. It also allows administrators to quickly pull reports on learner performance.
By leveraging an LMS, you can seamlessly upskill your workforce. Best of all, an LMS helps keep learners and administrators organized by keeping all training resources in one secure online location.
Keep learning: “Leveraging an LMS for Businesses Going Remote During COVID-19”
Why TOPYX LMS is the Right Training Solution for Your Company
If you’ve got an employee training problem, we’ve got the answer: TOPYX LMS. TOPYX is a full-featured LMS that enables online training, as well as blended learning. TOPYX LMS features include (but are not limited to):
- Mobile learning
- Social learning
- LMS integrations
- Add-ons, such as eCommerce
- Learning paths
- Content support
Beyond being full-featured, TOPYX LMS is also affordable. It features a flat-rate pricing model. This means whether you have 100 employees or 10,000 employees, the price of TOPYX LMS remains constant.
Find out everything you need to know about TOPYX LMS pricing.
Upskilling employees can massively benefit both your workers and your organization. As your company navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, an online learning system can make upskilling employees a simple, straightforward, sure process.
Interested in test driving TOPYX? Request a free LMS demo of TOPYX to learn more.
- HBR. https://hbr.org/2021/06/attracting-talent-during-a-worker-shortage.
- 2&6 The Balance Careers. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-upskill-employees-5093480
- ITA Group. https://www.itagroup.com/insights/how-upskilling-your-workforce-benefits-your-organization.
- CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/15/one-in-four-americans-will-be-working-remotely-in-2021-survey.html
- The Predictive Index https://www.predictiveindex.com/blog/5-ways-to-upskill-employees/