Home » The HR Manager: Building a Successful Upskilling Plan

The HR Manager: Building a Successful Upskilling Plan

Investing in your employees can pay off in a big way

By Cynthia Knapek

If you have been following workforce development trends, you may have noticed the term “reskilling” being applied to the process of acquiring hard skills that lead to a career shift. As individuals look to reskilling to broaden options during the Great Resignation, many companies have shifted to upskilling to retain them.

Upskilling is a broad approach to advancement often focused on building interpersonal skills. Investments in employee upskilling increase individual loyalty to the organization and also create a ripple that elevates the effectiveness of the entire organization.

Studies confirm organizations with widely accessible training opportunities see better employee retention. A recent Deloitte study found 71% of millennials who are likely to leave an organization are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. Fortunately, you do not have to have a large training department to make professional development accessible for your people. Here are three ways to get started with (or build on) a plan to upskill your team.

Co-create the plan
Conversations about learning goals should be as much a part of manager one-on-one meetings as any other work goal. Some companies pay big dollars to have their organization’s preferred leadership competencies articulated to enable that conversation. On their website, Deloitte makes available for free their own “leadership capability model.” Sometimes a simple borrowed model can provide a great place to start a discussion.

Employ a partner strategy
Once you are having regular conversations about learning goals and training needs, you may find you don’t have the capacity to offer the diversity of programming to meet everyone where they are. Even companies with internal training departments still outsource a lot of content delivery to partners. This allows you to provide the best of online content from one provider or the best diversity/equity/inclusion content from another. Make your team aware that they have options to create a plan that suits them.

Don’t wait. Train on potential, not current position
Companies often wait until after the first promotion to invest in skills development. Changing that strategy could give your organization an advantage in building a diverse pipeline of leaders. Statistically, women and people of color are overlooked for promotions that move them from being an individual contributor to landing that first managerial opportunity. Access to training early in a career could dramatically change the diversity of the promotable leadership pipeline.