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5 minute read

Why Enabling Employees to Upskill is Crucial to Organisations’ Success

Learning and development are no longer sufficient as isolated activities separate from the daily tasks of the job. Instead, learning needs to be seamlessly integrated into the workflow, enabling employees to acquire new skills and knowledge while they work. We need to make learning a core part of the way we work to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving job market.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the modern world, the ability to adapt and acquire new skills is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The pace of technological advancement is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, leading to a significant transformation in the job market. Automation is increasingly taking over a multitude of roles, and the skill sets required for many of the remaining positions are swiftly becoming outdated. Moreover, the rapid changes in various industries mean that it is becoming increasingly rare for individuals to maintain the same role throughout their professional lives.

Referencing the book “The Upskilling Imperative: 5 Ways to Make Learning Core to the Way We Work”, we explore the importance of upskilling and the benefits it brings us.

Upskilling is vital to future-proof careers and businesses

The traditional trajectory of acquiring an education, securing a job, and then progressing along the same path until retirement is no longer the norm. Previously, one could acquire the necessary skills for a chosen field and then comfortably navigate the professional waters for the next four decades. However, the current reality paints a different picture.

Today’s workforce, particularly the younger generation, is likely to remain professionally active for approximately five decades, significantly longer than their predecessors. This extended professional lifespan, coupled with the rapid evolution of technology, has created a dynamic environment where most skills remain relevant for only about five years. In such a scenario, the challenge lies in ensuring that neither individuals nor organisations become obsolete.

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To address this challenge, organisations need to cultivate a robust learning culture. By developing effective, on-demand, and relevant training programmes, organisations and employees can better respond to and anticipate forthcoming changes. Organisations can also ensure that they remain at the forefront of their respective industries, equipped with a workforce that is continually upskilled and ready to tackle the challenges of the future.

Effective learning combines practical application, conducive environments, and learner ownership.

The process of training should not be viewed as a race to the finish line. The objective is not merely to complete a course, but to acquire a skill that can be immediately used. Learning is only meaningful when it can be applied in a practical context. Without opportunities to utilise newly acquired knowledge, employees are likely to quickly forget new skills.

The physical environment and duration of a class, including factors like lighting, temperature, presentation of materials, and adequate breaks, significantly impact learning outcomes.

Lastly, learners need to understand the purpose of their learning journey. By understanding how these new skills can help them, they can start to take ownership of their learning and foster a deeper understanding and application of that knowledge.

Agile learning, embracing change, and adaptability are key to future success

The rapid pace of technological and societal changes means that many of us will be working in roles that do not currently exist within the next five to ten years. To thrive in this dynamic environment, it is crucial for organisations to embrace change and foster adaptability, in turn cultivating agile learners amongst employees.

Agile learning isn’t about learning quickly – it involves reflecting on past learning experiences, acknowledging current learning, and identifying other skills they may need to tackle future challenges. While determining what to learn next can be challenging, managers can support their teams by encouraging exploration and guiding their learning journeys. Providing employees with the time and space to reflect on their learning outside of formal training sessions can significantly enhance the efficiency of their learning.

Embed learning into daily work to foster a culture of continuous growth

The development of a learning culture is a crucial aspect of fostering growth and innovation. However, the challenge lies in defining how learning aligns with job responsibilities and integrating it seamlessly into the daily workflow. Learning becomes more accessible when the skills learnt are smoothly incorporated into everyday tasks and responsibilities.

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Managers need to demonstrate and promote the value of upskilling

The process of demonstrating the value of training begins at the top echelons of the organisation and should permeate through every level. Leaders must express their support for learning initiatives, not only verbally but also through active participation. This can be thought of as a form of trickle-down motivation.

Investing in learning yields significant returns, both in terms of skills and finances

In the contemporary corporate landscape, the role of Learning and Development (L&D) has taken centre stage. The rationale behind this shift is to foster a culture of continuous learning and ensure that businesses remain competitive and agile in a rapidly evolving market. The key to gaining executive buy-in for such initiatives often lies in presenting a compelling business case, underpinned by robust numerical evidence.

In an era marked by constant industry evolution, the question is not whether businesses can afford to upskill their teams, but rather, can they afford not to? Building a learning culture is not just about preparing for the future; it is about ensuring financial sustainability and growth in the present.

Upskilling is a vital tool to future-proof businesses

By providing employees with opportunities to upskill within their roles, organisations can achieve a multitude of benefits, including enhanced productivity, improved staff retention, and the fostering of trust within teams.

This is because employees today seek more than just job security; they desire opportunities to enhance their knowledge and advance their careers. A learning culture that offers these growth opportunities can significantly increase employee engagement.

Moreover, a strong learning culture can also contribute to an organisation’s agility. In an era when businesses are constantly required to adapt to changes, having a workforce equipped with a diverse range of skills can be a significant advantage.

In essence, nurturing a learning culture is not just about developing technical skills but also about focusing on soft skills that are crucial in today’s corporate world. It is about creating an environment where learning is seen as a continuous process, integral to the success of both the individual and the organisation.

This article is co-created by NexPage, a translated book summary app, and Workipedia by MyCareersFuture.

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