Presented by Skillsoft
Under constant pressure to attract and retain talent and remain competitive, companies are turning to upskilling and reskilling, the key to future-proofing your organization and closing the skills gap. Learn how to develop a robust upskilling strategy that works in this VB Spotlight.
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Skills and training have long been seen as a cost center, rather than a core competency. But that’s no longer the case in a rapidly developing digital landscape where great talent is often thin on the ground, says Marianne Groth, director of talent development at Lumen.
“Organizations need to upskill if they want to be viable. Change is essential,” Groth says. “You have to do it to remain in business today. And then what your talent development or HR team can do is foster that continuous learning culture.”
The benefits of an upskilling partner
One of the biggest pain points for organizations ready to implement an upskilling program is the fact that there are so many open positions, plus onboarding and training new employees means interrupting the day-to-day of critical subject matter experts.
The ideal training partner would offer tools that make that process significantly more efficient. Organizations also need to find a partner that offers the timely, cutting-edge content necessary for both day-to-day business needs and keeps pace with emerging technologies today. It should be able to provide updated learning solutions on the fly, that also align with the organization’s skills framework.
Plus, organizations need to do a deep-dive assessment of their in-house expertise. They need to understand their skills inventory, to assess where their skill gaps and needs lie and identify risks and weaknesses. Taking that to the next level, they also need to determine if the employees they tap for upskilling or reskilling have the chops to handle the job in the real world. And as the training program progresses, they should be able to track the measurable skill gain.
“That’s quite a project to undertake as an employer, as a company,” Groth says. “You want to make sure that your employees have access to the skills that they need, but then we also have a mentor or a manager that works with that person to look and see, can they do this work? It’s imperative to learn the skills, train and test, and practice the skills in a safe environment. Then work with a mentor to do that in a production system, and then being able to go off and do it on your own.”
An upskilling partner brings that very specific assessment experience and proficiency, plus the resources necessary to scale learning programs easily, from small groups to entire departments or even the whole organization, she adds.
A partner also brings along the ability to offer an array of learning modalities for the broad variety of learning styles you are bound to find in any organization, whatever the size, and across different types of skill sets.
“More and more, as we work with customers closely, they give us feedback that the more varieties of learning modes we can make available to them, the better the skill acquisition,” says Greg Fuller, senior director, tech & dev – content development at Skillsoft. “It’s a one plus one equals three scenario.”
Having dedicated experts and mentors available means that instead of scrambling to find an internal expert, employees have knowledge and guidance right there while they are learning. Curated learning also gives employees direct access to the pertinent information and data they need as they train, without having to hunt through a wilderness of drives and directories.
Measuring learning success
Benchmarking and measuring the success of an upskilling and reskilling program is crucial, and that’s where organizations can look at their training partner as an extension of their organizational transformation goals. The measurement cannot simply be whether learners complete a course; it’s about analyzing the data throughout the process.
Companies should be able to measure the pace at which employees are acquiring skills, whether they’re actually being applied to the job, and if they’re getting value out of their content partners – all things enterprises might not have the capability to do on their own.
“The key criterion is that partnership,” Groth says. “Do we have folks that understand what our business-critical needs are and help us get there? Do we have the support? And then can we show the value for that investment? Those are the critical components.”
Platforms like Skillsoft help customers aggregate that data to make it easily reportable and understandable as their learners are going through their journeys, Fuller explains.
For instance, Lumen recently launched a digital savvy program in March to address the need to bring employees up to speed on the rapidly changing landscape, from digital transformation technologies to digital strategy user design and experience, and more.
In the first two weeks, the intranet site had 1323 page views and more than 4000 engage notes and questions, Groth says, with more than 19,511 messages to the talent development team as the program rolled out. And from lesson completion and micro-learning videos, they’ve seen more than 749 skill benchmarks completed.
Gaining employee buy-in
When Lumen launched the program, they were also clear on why bringing their employees along for the journey, and their talent, was so important to keep them moving toward the future.
“We’re communicating why they’re important to our organization, what we’ve been doing for our customers in these areas, what we’re doing internally for our employees, and then giving our employees the opportunities to dig in and learn more,” Groth says.
Aligning skills training to business objectives helps employees understand how what they do affects the business, which helps encourage buy-in. But it’s not just about today’s skills, she says – it’s about the future. It’s key to offer professional development opportunities that are tied to an employee’s career goals and make it fun by adding recognition or competition to the learning process. Part of that should come from employee testimonials: encouraging them to share their training experience and spotlighting their growth.
“How did this certification help you land a new promotion? Those are awesome stories to share, especially with the leaders,” she says. “You get a full circle. The leaders are seeing that we’re supporting this. Our employees are doing this. You get those testimonials back to the leaders and they’re all in.”
Plus, employee engagement such as sharing scores and winning points gets employees excited about learning, skilling programs take off and metrics continue to improve.
To learn more about the benefits of upskilling programs, why keeping employee skills up-to-date as technology evolves is crucial to remain competitive and more, don’t miss this VB Spotlight event!
- 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
- And more
- Marianne Groth, Director of Talent Development, Lumen
- Greg Fuller, Senior Director, Tech & Dev – Content Development, Skillsoft
- Art Cole, Moderator, VentureBeat
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