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Upskilling is not a new concept. Before COVID-19, employers were investing in upskilling to boost employee attraction, retention and engagement and to gain a competitive advantage when faced with constant technological change.
Today, as some organisations return to growth and others chart their way back to recovery, upskilling is gaining focus once more to ensure teams are prepared for what is likely to be a very different tomorrow.
As we have previously noted, the half-life of learned skills is now around five years, making upskilling essential for organisations that want to retain valued employees and overcome skills gaps, particularly those surrounding emerging technologies.
Investing in upskilling, then, not only enables organisations to position themselves strongly as we work our way back to economic growth – it also helps them prepare for, and thrive in, the future world of work.
So, we’ve touched on why prioritising the upskilling of your people is important, but how do you go about it when so many other urgent priorities demand your attention?
The first step is to conduct a skills analysis for each team member. This will enable you to identify any skills gaps and consider what skills – such as agile working, resilience, adaptability or new digital skills – will be important going forward.
Follow these three steps to carry out an effective skills analysis:
Once you have a clear sense of the current and future development areas for your team, the below six steps will help you to encourage and support your employees through their upskilling:
As a leader or manager helping to pivot your organisation in today’s environment, you’re probably extremely busy right now. Understandably, then, taking the time to assess your team’s current and future skill needs might not feel like a priority.
However, if you do make upskilling a priority right now, it will pay off – not just for your business, but also by reminding your team that even in these unprecedented times, their development and progression is still of utmost importance to you. Investing in your people during this time will also help you future-proof your business well beyond the short-term considerations of returning to growth.
In short, investing in the skills of your staff can help your organisation cope with today’s fast-changing and uncertain corporate landscape.
In the words of our CEO, Alistair Cox: “See this period of adversity and struggle as an opportunity to proactively strengthen the skills within your teams... your employees will thank you for it, because engaging in something purposeful and positive can help them deal with their own anxieties right now….Furthermore, by investing in them now, you are proactively showing them that you are investing in their future.”
Jane McNeill, joined Hays in 1987 as a trainee recruitment consultant in London and is now Managing Director of Hays NSW and WA.
After two years with Hays Jane began managing her own office and quickly took on larger and more diversified teams of people and responsibility for a region in the UK.
In 2001 Jane arrived in Perth , Western Australia and shortly after took over as State Director for WA. After six years of significant business growth she was appointed to the Hays Australia & New Zealand management board in 2007.
In 2012 Jane moved to Sydney and now oversees Hays’ operations in New South Wales with board responsibility for Western Australia.
Jane has an MA in Psychology from Edinburgh University.
Follow Jane on LinkedIn
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