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With rapid digitization in our working world, Human Resources (HR) and Learning & Development (L&D) professionals are facing increasing pressures to help staff build new talents to fulfill changing job functions and take on new responsibilities. That focus is so important that reskilling and upskilling employees was identified as the number one priority for L&D programs in LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report.

It’s not just L&D teams that are recognizing the need. PWC found that 74% of CEOs are concerned about skills gaps too. While the interest in building new aptitudes is clear, there are still obstacles to navigate to make those initiatives successful. Three of the most common include:

1. Resource Limitations

HR teams have many competing priorities as well as time and budget constraints.

2. Application Considerations

To ensure their programs deliver value, L&D teams need to design training content that is easily applicable and actionable.

3. Employee Time Constraints

Staff members have full and often blended schedules, so finding time to participate in a workshop or eLearning can be a challenge – even when they want to learn new skills.

To break down these barriers and establish a reskilling and upskilling strategy that serves your staff and your business, consider the solutions below.

9 Ways to Address Challenges to Reskill and Upskill Employees

First, let’s look at obstacle #1: resource limitations. I recommend you consider:

1. Prioritizing the most in-demand skills

Take stock of the resources you have available and focus your efforts on skills that will bring the most value to your staff and organization. Connect with leaders in your company as well as your employees to understand the challenges they experience at work, discover skillsets they feel they need to develop and catalog talents that will help your business achieve its long-term vision. To guide the prioritization process, use the strategies outlined in our latest eBook.

2. Identify meaningful KPIs

Demonstrating a return on investment can also help you tackle resource limitations. By showing the value of your programs, you are more likely to get more budget or personnel to support your work. Select realistic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that impact your bottom line and measure your initiatives against these metrics to demonstrate the value.

To mitigate obstacle #2: application considerations, I encourage you to:

3. Plan Learning & Development touchpoints

It can be tricky for employees to walk away from a training and immediately feel confident enough to apply the lessons they learned. Proactively identify opportunities to reinforce essential points from the program through email follow-ups, push notifications and messages in your Learning Management System. You can also join team meetings and offer shortened refresher courses.

4. Offer self-directed tools to apply learnings

It can be helpful to provide resources to empower participants to implement their learnings on their own. For example, we offer the Emergenetics+ mobile app and tools like the Attributes in Action Guides that employees can reference independently to apply their Emergenetics knowledge to communication, conflict management and more. Deliver self-directed resources to support each of your programs, so employees can put your training to good use.

Finally, let’s consider obstacle #3: employee time constraints. Given the long hours many employees are currently putting into work, this challenge may feel the most overwhelming, which is why I’ll share a few more tips of support. To navigate time constraints, you can:

5. Solicit employee feedback

Inspire staff to make the time for your skills trainings by tying the coursework and outcomes to their needs. Survey your employees to understand the aptitudes they see value in strengthening. Then, draw connections between the initiatives you are introducing and the interests of your staff members.

6. Engage managers

When managers see the value in professional development, they are more likely to make time for their teams to attend or, at the very least, encourage them to do so. Partner with people leaders to explain the positive impact of your work as well as engage them in the sessions so they can become your internal champions.

7. Communicate to all preferences

When you promote your sessions, you will be more effective if you speak to the individual interests of your employees, managers and leaders. I recommend considering each Emergenetics Attribute to guide your approach. Specifically:

  • Explain the value of the program
  • Show its relevance to work
  • Make connections to employee wellbeing
  • Align the outcomes to future possibilities
  • Use a variety of channels to communicate about the initiative
  • Explain the pacing behind the courses
  • Highlight why the training matters and the many ways it can be utilized

8. Design your session for all staff

When staff sign up for a program, it’s essential that you deliver a training that appeals to the different ways individuals like to learn. To develop a workshop that engages all attendees, you can find several tips in this post from my colleague Sharon Taylor as well as this post about virtual sessions.

9. Share testimonials

While testimonials will be particularly interesting to Social thinkers, they can engage your broader employee base by demonstrating the value of your session and the enthusiasm of participants. By generating buzz around your sessions and creating fans within your company, more team members will be interested in signing up.

The need to reskill and upskill your staff is only going to increase in the next few years. By proactively identifying and addressing potential obstacles in your way, you can create a strategy to close skills gaps and set your company and employees up for success.

Want to build a winning plan to reskill and upskill your employees? Download our eBook or fill out the form below to learn how Emergenetics can optimize your strategy.


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