5 Takeaways to Optimize Your Upskilling Strategy

May 18, 2023 | Reskill Your Workforce | 5 min read

Organizations today are faced with a myriad of challenges in keeping employees engaged while improving skillsets. According to Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Report, employees reported they are 41-percent more engaged while 36-percent work faster and report less errors after receiving certification training.

Interested in Reading the Full Report? Download the IT Skills and Salary Report 2022

While training employees should be a core function in every organization, having an optimized strategy that provides employees the skills they crave in a palatable presentation can be difficult.

In order to address how to optimize upskilling strategy, Greg Fuller, Senior Director of Tech & Dev Content Development at Skillsoft, recently joined Lumen’s Director of Talent, Marianne Goth, and VentureBeat Writer, Art Cole, for an immersive webinar. In this interview, which can be viewed here, Cole, Fuller, and Goth covered topics including:

  • Why it's critical to address the skills gap now.
  • How reskilling and upskilling can future-proof company strategy.
  • Why benchmarking is critical for a robust learning program.
  • Optimizing and implementing reskilling curriculums.

Here are 5 key takeaways from their discussion on how you can optimize your upskilling strategy:

1. Find a trusted training partner.

The most important aspect in your upskilling strategy is to ensure you have a trusted training partner. Organizations should ask themselves these 3 questions when it comes to choosing their training partner:

  1. Does your partner have the content you need today?
  2. Is the content timely? Given the fact that we have so many emerging technologies today, your partner needs to provide updated learning solutions quickly.
  3. Can your content partner align with whatever skills framework your organization is working with?

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2. Understand your skills inventory and technical skills baseline.

With any learning development program, you first need to understand your skills inventory. “Organizations are trying to leverage different types of assessments to help them understand what some of their skill gaps are and their skill needs,” says Greg. “They’re also trying to identify some risks they may have, if they are maybe weak in specific areas and want to take that to the next level of really assessing themselves so their people can actually do the job and not necessarily just retain the information.”

The more variety of learning modalities that your training partner offers, the better. Why? Because once you’ve determined your technical skills baseline, you’ll want to ensure you have different types of learning experiences blended together to meet your learners where they are, and where they want to go next.

“What organizations are finding out fairly quickly today is the fact that there's so many different personalities in the organizations. As we work with customers closely, they give us feedback and more variety of learning modes that we can make available to them, the better the skill acquisition. So, it's kind of like one-plus-one equals three type scenario.”

3. Remember that every company is a technology company.

In today’s digital-first world, even if you’re not a company that’s devoted to technology, you’re still a technology company. That means you must be hyper focused on upskilling your digital skillset at a rapid pace. “One phrase we use here [at Skillsoft] is every organization is a tech company; it doesn't matter if you're in sales or marketing, or engineering tech,” says Greg. “You must really be on top of your digital game to really be effective at your job and actually move your career forward.”

This is becoming increasingly clear as we look to new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) becoming more prevalent throughout every industry. “It's not that AI is going to replace human skills necessarily, but it's going to allow us to leverage our skills in a different way,” says Greg. “Think about all those monotonous pieces of our job that we don't like to handle day to day. Hopefully that's where automation and AI can come in, and that way we can maximize the skill sets of our tech workforce.”

As Art points out, it’s not just about maintaining the hard skills of working in a technical environment, but you also need to train your workforce to focus on the soft skills, like interpersonal skills, to understand how to function in a large, complex workforce. “This is actually becoming more and more important, especially in the tech space,” says Greg. “Think about Agile transformations, for example. We have these teams working more across multiple business functions, and there are a number of communication skills—those more human skills—that are really critical for tech workers today.”

4. Use data to measure your progress.

Another key component to optimize your upskilling strategy is to be able to measure success. It's not just measuring whether learners completed a course or not, it's really, [it’s] about getting smart with the data,” says Greg. "What's the pace of acquiring skills? Are these measuring skills actually being applied to the job, and are we getting value out of our content partnership?”

We talked about digital-first earlier. At the forefront of that is a company’s ability to collect and analyze data. Learning platforms, such as what Skillsoft offers, can help you aggregate your learning data and make it easily reportable and understandable for your learners as they are progressing on their journeys.

5. Recognize that customization is key.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all template when it comes to upskilling strategies. Every organization is different. Every group of employees is going to have its own issues and challenges. That requires a customized approach to learning. “There's great off-the-shelf training programs, but hugely successful customers have been able to take those off the shelf training curriculums and really customize it for their specific use cases,” says Greg.

Are you interested in taking optimizing your organizations upskilling strategy? Sign up for a free demo account today and unleash power of transformative growth on your workforce now.