The magic of every company on earth isn’t the product, it’s the employees and the experience they create for customers. Staying ahead of the competition takes more than a great product.
That means your employees need to deliver something amazing. To deliver something awesome, your workforce must be adaptable, tech-savvy, and equipped with the latest knowledge and skills.
That’s why upskilling all employees in company technology is essential. Imagine you’re running a successful company, but you’re constantly faced with the challenge of keeping up with the rapid advancements in technology and the expectations that come with it.
When new needs come about and new roles are required to manage new technology, hiring new employees with the desired skillset might seem like the obvious solution. But what about your current employees who might want a path to promotion or career shift?
Onboarding, training, and recruiting costs can quickly eat into your budget, leaving you with limited resources to invest in other areas of your business. So, what’s the alternative? Upskill your current workforce to help them help you.
By investing in the development of your existing workforce, you can improve the environment for your employees while saving on hiring costs. That means you’ll likely get a boost of productivity and innovation within your company.
Upskilling employees allows you to tap into the potential of your current team and give them a path upward. It also creates a sense of loyalty and motivation among your staff.
When employees feel valued and invested in, they’re more likely to go the extra mile and contribute to the growth and success of your business. But how exactly does upskilling employees in company technology make a difference? And what steps can you take to implement an effective upskilling program?
In this post, we’ll explore the importance of upskilling employees in company technology, how it saves your organization money, creates a culture of continuous learning, strategies for implementing technology upskilling programs, and how you can overcome the challenges involved.
Ready to learn how you can boost your workforce by upskilling employees in company technology? I hope so!
The Importance of Upskilling Employees In Company Technology in Today’s Business Landscape
Technology runs everything in businesses today and employees must know how to use it and use it or get left behind. That’s’ unfortunately the nature of business and technology. That means you need a workforce that is adaptable, tech-savvy, and equipped with the latest knowledge and skills.
That’s where the power of upskilling employees in company technology comes into play. Employees expect it and you need to provide it.
Because technology drives every business, even the most manual business in the world is driven by technology either now or is moving in that direction. Payroll, logistics, accounting, human resources, sales, and more all are powered by company technology.
Because technology is essential it’s also essential that employees can use their company’s technology correctly. The key word here is correctly. If employees aren’t provided the training and opportunities to properly learn company technology then they’re either not using it correctly or picking up bad habits and using it in a harmful way.
For the company to stay competitive employees must also be competitive in their knowledge. They must constantly stay up-to-date and have the opportunity to upskill for new roles or new requirements within their role.
Upskilling current employees is the only way to stay competitive in today’s business landscape.
The Cost-Saving Benefits of Upskilling Employees
One of the key benefits of upskilling employees is cost savings. Instead of hiring new talent externally or outsourcing tasks that require specific technical skills, companies can save significant amounts by investing in their existing workforce.
Someone who’s not constantly learning new things about technology tends to be scared of technology. With training comes familiarity and the willingness to try new things as well as learn new things.
When you upskill your employees rather than hire for every new technology, you minimize recruitment costs such as advertising job vacancies or paying recruitment agencies. Additionally, onboarding new hires can be time-consuming and expensive. By focusing on upskilling instead, you can avoid these expenses altogether.
There are also cost savings that come from employees using company technology correctly. If it’s being used incorrectly then there’s a huge risk of it costing the organization money or messing things up so bad you introduce more inefficiencies every day.
Another cost saving from upskilling employees in company technology is that you’re likely going to reduce turnover. When companies invest in their employees, they’ll be happier in their jobs and are more likely to stay longer.
Creating a Culture of Continuous Learning and Growth
This one is a catch-22 opposite. By upskilling employees you encourage a culture of continuous improvement and learning. When people are constantly learning and improving then you’re going to give them a path to new jobs, happier work, and further upskilling opportunities.
They each depend on each other but it’s not a catch-22 because it’s not a difficult circumstance. It’s quite an easy circumstance to get yourself into and the effects will continue to grow and improve.
Offering employees the ability to learn company technology will ensure you’re providing an environment of continuous improvement. That means employees will stay longer and be happier.
You can’t lose when you foster an environment where employees are encouraged to acquire new skills and knowledge on an ongoing basis. It will lead to less cost for you and more productivity at the same time. There are devastating effects that happen when companies don’t invest in their employees.
Start by promoting the importance of upskilling at all levels of your company. Make it clear that learning and development are valued and supported by investing in it and promoting it. Encourage managers to have regular conversations with their team about their career goals and aspirations and provide resources for them to pursue further education or training.
You need a good strategy to make sure upskilling employees is a priority as well as allowing employees to grow. But how?
Strategies for Implementing an Effective Upskilling Program
Implementing an effective upskilling program requires careful planning and execution. You can’t simply give your employees access to Udemy or LinkedIn Learning and expect great results.
First, those platforms only have generic resources that apply to all. Your company is unique and does things differently than any other computer. Then there’s the fact that company software and the processes that run it are unique too.
These are some strategies you can implement to make sure upskilling and continuous learning are part of your organization. It will ensure employees can grow, get promoted, and increase their technical knowledge along with changing company technology.
Identify Employee’s Technology Skills Gap
This is the first place you need to start. It could be through surveys or asking managers to discuss this with their team. Any way you look at it you can’t know where you need to improve if you don’t know what employees lack.
When your company launches new technology it’s important to understand what employees know to have the right training. All new technology requires some level of training. Understanding the skills gap will help you know exactly to what level.
This will help you identify areas where there is a gap between the required skills for their roles and their existing skills.
Develop a Comprehensive Training Plan
This could be something that employees do themselves in conjunction with their managers. It will give a clear path forward for employees and let managers know how to help employees manage their time to accomplish their goals.
This plan should include both formal training programs as well as opportunities for on-the-job learning. If managers concern themselves with employee’s long-term growth ambitions, this is a good place to also provide recommendations on how to get there with new skills.
A comprehensive training plan also isn’t a once-and-done type of thing. It’s something that should be revised at least yearly and tabs kept on progress. It’s a living document that will constantly be revised.
Provide Ongoing Learning Opportunities
Just like the training plan, upskilling is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process. Provide employees with continuous learning opportunities such as workshops, webinars, online courses, or mentorship programs.
Not only that but every new company system that’s released should have training available for the most common roles and needs. That means contextual software training that shows them how to use the new system as they will in their work.
Whatever the goal is for your employees, you should have resources available to help them achieve what they want. Otherwise, you’re going to have employees who feel stuck and there’s nowhere to go.
This is one of the biggest downfalls for upskilling employees. They’re expected to grow and learn but not provided the time to do it. The resources are helpful but only if there’s sufficient time to take advantage of those resources.
It’s like Google’s 20% time where they can work on what they want. It’s not a benefit to employees if that 20% time is on top of their normal 100% duties. Now they’re required to do 120% time! That’s really how it works at Google and that’s not a benefit.
Provide Employees With Necessary Training On New Company Software
This one is near and dear to us because we know how stressful it can be to learn a new job, the new technology, and the processes for new systems. It’s a lot to take in and often the most difficult part of starting a new job.
So, outside of onboarding new employees, provide current employees with sufficient training for company software. That could be a really good realistic software simulation or if simple software it could just be a job aid or short video.
When you provide resources custom to your company’s software and process you’ll not only improve productivity but also boost employee confidence and job satisfaction.
Leveraging Technology for Efficient and Engaging Upskilling
Technology can play a crucial role in making upskilling programs more efficient and engaging for employees. Not only can they help employees upskill but they’re something that employees must be upskilled in if it plays into their growth plans.
Consider leveraging a good learning management system (LMS), eLearning, microlearning, videos, and if applicable virtual reality simulations. Sometimes the content lends itself toward gamification. Just be careful not to get pulled down the shiny object hole.
A class isn’t the answer for all training because there’s a lot of overhead including time and commitment. Sometimes eLearning is ideal because it can be done at the employee’s ideal pace and can be planned better.
We only focus on digital training solutions because we believe at least for technology that it’s superior to instructor-led training, and a good reason you should ditch it. That’s one reason we don’t even mess with instructor-led training.
Overcoming Challenges and Obstacles in Upskilling Initiatives
While upskilling offers numerous benefits, it’s not without its challenges. Some common obstacles include resistance to change, lack of time or resources, and difficulty in measuring the impact of upskilling efforts.
But, overall training paves the way for smoother change so that’s typically not a worry unless employees are determined not to change. It’s not likely they’re determined not to change, though, it’s just that they’re worried about the change and not being provided sufficient support during the change.
To overcome these challenges, it is important to communicate the value of upskilling to employees, allocate dedicated time and resources for training, and establish clear metrics to track progress and success.
If you use the strategies presented earlier then there’s a good chance you won’t run into nearly as many obstacles when trying to help employees upskill.
If you’re implementing new technology that employees could see as a threat to their job (such as AI) don’t fret, upskilling employees is a better route to ensure they see their path forward. IKEA did just that with their call center workers. IKEA was able to upskill employees to become interior design advisors while AI took over the job of customer service.
Just make sure every position has a clear path forward and upwards.
Upskilling employees is a powerful strategy that can help cut costs while boosting productivity and innovation. Upskilling them in company technology is also essential.
By investing in the development of your existing workforce, you tap into their potential and create a culture of continuous learning and growth. It’s a win-win for an organization, employees, and customers too.
Implementing an effective upskilling program requires careful planning, identifying skill gaps, providing ongoing learning opportunities, leveraging technology for efficient training, and overcoming challenges along the way.
The only way to realize the true potential of a workforce is to make sure they have upskilling opportunities. That means both opportunities to learn from outside the organization as well as within.
Just don’t forget the importance of helping employees learn company technology. Not providing new and current employees with good training for company technology is a big risk to employee happiness and effectiveness.
If you want to improve your organization’s technical training, schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your project and how we can help. We’ll help you determine what the best path forward is and even if there are better solutions besides training.