Navigating the Path to Professional Upskilling
6th November 2023
There has been some interesting and thought-provoking research over the last twelve months, highlighting organisations' need for greater agility so they can retain their talent.
If you are thinking of not reading any further because this isn’t an issue in your organisation, stay with me a little longer and look at the below stats, it might make you think again:
Workplace Intelligence’s recent study found that 74% of Millennial and Gen Z employees will likely quit within the next year due to a lack of skills development opportunities.
Manpower’s 2022 research reported that global talent shortages reached a 16-year high and that three out of four employers reported difficulty finding the talent they needed.
Amazon commissioned an anonymous survey of 3,000 employees across the US from a mix of organisations and industries, which found that most employees were concerned they lack the skills (78%) and education (71%) required to advance their career, and the pandemic is at least partly to blame. In addition, 58% of employees fear that their skills have gone stale since the onset of the pandemic, and 70% feel unprepared for the future of work.
From what I see in the organisations I am working with, and across my professional network, if we asked the same questions in the UK, I believe those figures would likely be much the same.
So, how can we resolve some of these issues in our organisations?
LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning report talks about how, for individuals, agility fuels career growth and relevance, and for organisations, agility equals the ability to survive and thrive even amid economic headwinds.
And what is agility if not constant learning?
This 52-page report provided three key ways that L&D leaders can drive agility. One of the three is upskilling and the need for the workplace to “realise that agility requires building more relevant skills, more quickly.”
With many employees believing that they don’t have the right conditions in their organisations for career growth, and global talent trends showing that one of the current workforce's top priorities is career advancement – how can you support this advancement while developing the relevant skills needed for the business to thrive more quickly?
A crucial way is through upskilling
Upskilling is a crucial part of your succession planning strategy. A well-defined talent development strategy, clear communication with employees about their career paths, and regular progress assessments are essential. For example, by ensuring your upskilling programme is aligned with your organisation's long-term goals and the skills required for leadership positions, you’ll provide a seamless transition when succession is necessary.
The importance of upskilling in today's rapidly evolving professional landscape cannot be overstated. Whether you're an individual looking to advance your career or an organisation aiming to keep pace with industry changes, the journey towards upskilling is crucial.
However, like any journey, it has its fair share of challenges. So, I thought it would be useful to explore the various ways to upskill, the common challenges encountered, and strategies to address these challenges.
Upskilling refers to the process of acquiring new skills, knowledge, or competencies to enhance one's professional capabilities. This proactive approach is essential in a world where technology, industry trends, and job requirements are in a state of constant flux. There are several different ways professionals can embark on their upskilling journey, including:
Formal education, which remains a primary option for upskilling.
Online learning platforms, which have equalised education opportunities and offers convenient access to high-quality content so individuals can work at their own pace.
Industry-specific workshops and seminars keep individuals updated on the latest trends and best practices in their field.
Mentorship and coaching play pivotal roles in upskilling, providing a personalised and targeted approach to identifying and addressing skills gaps.
Challenges in upskilling
While upskilling is undoubtedly beneficial, it is not without its challenges. Here are some common hurdles and ways to overcome them:
Balancing work, personal life, and upskilling can be daunting. To address this, create a realistic schedule that allocates time for learning. Employers can also support their staff by offering flexible work hours or study leave.
Formal education and specific courses can be costly. Scholarships, employer-sponsored programs, and budgeting for professional development can help mitigate financial challenges.
Fear of change can hinder upskilling efforts. Professionals must embrace a growth mindset and understand that acquiring new skills is an investment in their future. Encouraging a culture of learning within an organisation can also alleviate this fear.
Identifying the right skills to acquire can be overwhelming. This is where coaching and mentorship come into play. Working with an experienced coach can help individuals define their goals and chart a clear path towards upskilling.
The role of coaching in supporting client upskilling
Coaching is an invaluable tool in the upskilling process. Here's how coaching can support to address the challenges mentioned:
Tailor the programme to the organisation's and individual's unique needs and goals, helping navigate the upskilling journey effectively.
Raising individual’s self-awareness on what is holding them back or has the potential to do so in the future.
Assist in setting realistic, measurable goals, ensuring that upskilling efforts are focused and purposeful.
Hold individuals accountable for their progress, ensuring they stay committed to their development.
When challenges arise, provide strategies and support to overcome them, helping individuals stay on track.
Ensuring that they are also enjoying the journey too.
Upskilling is vital to professional growth and adaptability in today's dynamic workplace. While challenges exist, they can be overcome with the right strategies and mindset. Embracing coaching as a personal and professional development tool can make the journey towards upskilling more efficient and rewarding. By investing in continuous learning, both individuals and organisations can thrive in this ever-changing world.
Tagged as: Training
Share this post: