How to upskill employees

August 25, 2021

upskill employees

If you’re struggling to find workers, it’s probably not you, or your brand or even your job posting. There simply aren’t enough workers to go around for all the skills needed these days. CareerBuilder recently partnered with The Harris Poll to survey thousands of hiring managers and workers, and we found that 85% of hiring managers say they plan to start focusing less on candidates’ prior job titles and more on their skills and experience. At the same time, 2 in 5 workers say they don’t have the skills necessary to advance in their career. So how do employers and job seekers tackle this skills gap? Both groups agree that workers have at least some responsibility to learn new skills, but employers can’t always wait around for that to happen. Plus, not all workers have the time or money to invest in programs and courses. Here’s how to offer training on the job. 

Consider the time and resources it takes to hire versus train. 

What if you spent less time and money finding that perfect candidate (who doesn’t exist) and instead diverted those efforts to training? Also keep in mind the cost of a bad hire, which in many cases can be prevented by prioritizing transferable skills or soft skills, like time management and communication, during the hiring process. According to our survey, 88% of hiring managers say they currently hire based on strong soft skills and then upskill workers with job-specific training, and 89% of workers say they would be comfortable doing this. Upskilling employees goes even further: you’re training workers to do the job as you need it done. 

Look within.

How can current employees help with the training that’s required? Could you assign each new hire a mentor or peer coach to see that each acquires certain skills? No one knows how to do the job you need done better than those who have already been churning away at your company. Can you train and upskill current employees who are already familiar with your product and process? Not only is showcasing upskilling offerings a hiring strategy, it’s also a great retention strategy. 

Partner up.

Universities, school districts, tech schools — these types of community partners could create programming or provide a pipeline of talent for your business. It's also a way to get your brand in front of clients and job seekers. 

Community organizations and centers will often host coding workshops or data analytics training. In exchange for a small sponsorship fee, could you be the exclusive employer with a commitment to hire graduates?  

Would a company that does business with your company have a vested interest in training folks who come work for you? Let’s say you make equipment for a global spirits distilling company based in your town. Might that giant company want to partner with you on a training program if they knew you couldn’t find qualified workers? Consider those who depend on your products — they may be a great source of funding or other resources. 

If your company doesn't have the resources to manage these efforts, look into staffing firms that provide training. Those folks are close to hiring trends and have talent pipelines, and many now offer training in certain industries. 

Search the web.

These days, free online courses make it convenient for anyone with access to a computer. In just a few hours, employees can get a grasp of the fundamentals. 

However you go about it, upskilling workers should be a top priority for staying competitive in the coming years. Just keep in mind that people can only take on so much, so any training should be manageable with realistic timelines, as to avoid burnout.  

For more insights, read the full report. 

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