How to overcome the challenges of employee upskilling

How to overcome the challenges of employee upskilling

Before you offer new employees a job, you’ve likely reviewed their skills in detail – what are they good at, what are they not so good at, what value can these people bring to your business? After all, reviewing their skills thoroughly can help you decide whether they’d be a good fit for the job at hand. But too often businesses forget what happens after their employees have signed on the dotted line. The skills that they bring to your team should be nurtured and developed – which is where upskilling comes in.  

With 93% of organisations agreeing that learning and development is crucial for growth, it’s clear that businesses recognise the importance of investing in their employees – so what’s stopping them from following through with it? 

Measuring the impact of L&D 

We’ve asked businesses what challenges they’re facing when upskilling employees and 29% were most concerned about measurement and how to quantify the success from upskilling. This is understandable – you want your employees to benefit from enhanced skills, but in order to make this investment worthwhile, your business needs reap the benefits too.  

Only 54% of employees said they were satisfied with their jobs1– but why is this a problem? Well, upskilling is closely linked to employees’ job satisfaction, and job satisfaction helps boost morale and improve employee retention. 81% of employees say upskilling and reskilling training has boosted their productivity at work – with 91% of companies agreeing.2

Progress reviews and ongoing 1-2-1 coaching are great ways to foster a culture of learning in your workplace. These review sessions provide opportunities for you to set expectations for the next stage of your employees’ learning and measure the impact of their training on workplace performance. You can work collaboratively with your employees to reflect on their learning, ensure that they’re constantly implementing positive behaviour habits and are continually applying the knowledge they’ve gained to their role.  

Learning doesn’t require talent 

If someone asked you to rate your confidence in your employees, you perhaps wouldn’t want to give low scores. But this is a real problem that businesses face, with 26% of our research prospects telling us that they know what skills their employees need, but they doubt in their employees’ ability to learn them.  

Here’s why the quality of the training that you offer is vital. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to learning and development, and what works for some of your employees may not work for others. The solution is to ensure that you choose a learning programme that offers a dynamic, continually evolving curriculum. For example, does the training provider have real-life coaches who are available to encourage each one of your employees and promote their growth mindset? A supportive coach is the lynchpin between the knowledge and skills application in the workplace. 

Retaining your best people 

We’ve already mentioned the link between L&D and employee retention, but what should you do if you’re losing staff? Your employee retention rate is also referred to as your ‘stability index’, which the CIPD suggests you can calculate using: 

Number of staff with service of one year or more x 100 
Total number of staff in post one year ago3

If you’re among the 25% of businesses who struggle to retain employees, you may be feeling nervous about this calculation. But it only serves to show how valuable upskilling your employees can be – fostering a culture of effective, motivated and capable staff could be the key to a strong, loyal team.   

If your in-house L&D programmes aren’t yielding the results – financial or social – that you were hoping for, it could be time to reach out to external training providers who already have real results under their belt. Great training providers can listen to your requirements and explore retention challenges that your business is facing – from there, you’ll have the chance to discuss skill development solutions that will be relevant and appealing to your teams.  

The possibilities of digital 

The pandemic has undoubtedly been a challenge for all businesses, and the majority expect L&D to become more important in the aftermath of Covid-19. Crucially, remote and flexible working have changed the L&D landscape – so it’s no surprise that 20% of businesses are concerned about keeping employees motivated and engaged during upskilling when they’re not in the office.  

In our digital-first world, your training provider needs to be able to keep up. Offering study centres is great, but the modern workforce is unlikely to feel motivated about the prospect of traveling to their lessons. That’s why your employees would appreciate the opportunity to study in a virtual learning environment with 24/7 access. Remember, just because they’re not studying on-site doesn’t mean they’re not getting a rich learning experience. After all, 50% of companies seek training that is tailored and bespoke – so why not keep your employees engaged by letting them learn during times that suit them? 

A better workplace for everyone 

A degree-level apprenticeship can do more than upskill your employees – it’ll give them valuable confidence and motivation that will blossom in your workplace.  

At Arden University, we recognise that you work commitments mean it’s impractical to take time away to study in a classroom. That’s why we’ll provide degree-level apprentices with our innovative digital-first learning experience, which gives them 24/7 access to our virtual classroom, ilearn – plus a host of other resources, including video lectures, library resources and interactive content.  

Easy access isn’t just for your employees – we’ll also give you as the employer access to reports and dashboards, so you can easily track their progression and performance.  

To find out more about our degree-level apprenticeships and how you can harness the power of upskilling, visit our content hub for more insights.  

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