6 steps to successful upskilling
The upskilling experience is unique for everyone. A financial analyst may have exceptional analytical qualities but interpersonal difficulties, while a community manager can be a major social media specialist, but may struggle to organize their files.
For your employees, upskilling means incorporating new know-how and soft skills into a professional context to address personal skill gaps. As HR professionals, you know better than anyone that this can be a matter of employee motivation, performance and commitment.
But done successfully, upskilling allows everyone to flourish while considerably improving employee value and empowering employee ownership of their career paths.
Here’s how you can help your team upskill successfully.
1. (Re)define and support the manager role
Improving employee skills is not something that can be improvised and it is not something HR can do alone.
It is essential to support managers in this adventure, which can be a real challenge for both parties. Upskilling is a major investment that, depending on your current structure, may a radical change in their position. To develop their teams, they must become a mixture of manager and coach, a positive leader and part of a genuine culture of support.
For successful upskilling, managers will need to:
- assess employees’ current skills
- clarify the expectations of both parties
- set objectives and milestones for the course ahead
- propose an assessment system and ensure daily long-term monitoring
And they’re going to need your help.
2. Conduct skills assessments
Before beginning an upskill plan, managers must first take stock of their team’s skill levels and what they have learned. It is essential to know each person’s strengths and weaknesses in order to implement a consistent and customized action plan.
To do this, you can use a skills reference base and/or an individual record of professional achievements to effectively assess their levels. It is also an opportunity to identify potential, previously undetected talents. In this phase, it is important not to neglect soft skills, which can include the employee’s values and behaviors.
3. Set clear expectations, goals and milestones
It is essential that employees know exactly what is expected of them in this upskilling process. At the same time, management and HR must know how the employee is positioned and what they expect from this upskilling process: What are their aspirations and motivations?
Writing clear goals
It’s important to clearly express the expectations you have of the employee by setting concrete, precise, feasible and measurable objectives. The manager must be able to answer these questions: Why are we doing this? How are we doing this? What are the expected results?
Establishing intermediate milestones
To ensure that the employee is not discouraged by the scale of the task, it is essential to proceed in stages. The project must thus be divided into several parts, and each party must have its own intermediate objectives.
Then, when doubt or a drop in motivation is felt throughout the process, it can be helpful to refer back to expectations in order to see if they are being respected and if they are still relevant.
4. Use smart, time-saving tools
Using the right tool opens up the possibility of moving forward more quickly and confidently. The employee and manager can have access to the same tool and will be able to enter the relevant information throughout the process. Don’t hesitate to integrate digital tools to facilitate the upskilling process. Ideally, you want to opt for skills management platforms.
And this is what 365Talents allows: employees can declare their skills themselves. Their managers, meanwhile, find all the skills of their team on the platform and can manage, assess and complete these skills and propose upskilling based on what the tool reveals.
5. Create a system to chart progress
The assessment system must be precisely explained to the employee and include:
- Focus skills, i.e., what skills will be assessed
- Expected deliverables, i.e., what will be used to assess the skill
- Resources, i.e., what is at their disposal to achieve the objectives
- Schedule, i.e., the time available to achieve the objective
You may also want to set up an autonomy grid in which the skills to be reviewed are listed and classified into either tasks to be mastered or families of skills. A rating system (by color, letter or number) can be established, which will chart the employee's progress.
A learning management system (LMS) helps your people uncover and act on upskilling and professional development opportunities. Integrating with a talent experience solution like 365Talents supercharges your LMS with skills data and puts your people at the center of your development strategies.
When you integrate your 365Talents with your LMS, your skills framework is centralized, unified and shared between your solutions to upskill your people on the right expertises.
For your employees, integration helps centralize their data on past trainings and new skills acquired, engaging them with smart suggestions for new learning opportunities based on their job and desired skills.
For managers, integration offers unique insights to better know their team’s expertise and identify what skills they are missing, to solve skill gaps before they appear.
Finally, for HR, integration can improve your employee skills and performance with cost-effective personalized training suggestions, ensuring resources are used by increasing the training completion rate.
365Talents integrates with EdFlex, 360Learning and RiseUp, among other popular LMS solutions.
6. Ensure regular, long-term monitoring
Because upskilling takes time, regular monitoring is essential to know where employees stand. Also, bear in mind that skills develop throughout a career, so the employee should not feel daunted by the scale of the task.
This is why an upskilling action plan is based on rapid victory: the easier it is to achieve a stage, the more the employee will be boosted by that success and the more they will want to move on to the next stages. The ambitions initially defined may then be revised upwards or downwards depending on the employee's progress.
Monitoring also allows everyone to give their feedback. Employees must be able to express themselves freely, and it is essential that their manager also gives their feedback so that everyone can improve the pathway. Communication is the key to successful upskilling.
How to upskill successfully
In short, the 6 steps that we consider essential in upskilling are therefore:
- Support managers
- Assess skills
- Clarify expectations and define objectives and milestones
- Choose smart tools
- Define assessment system
- Monitor regularly over long-term
Ready to chart a new course for your people at work?
To learn about the tools 365Talents provides for successful upskilling, start discussing with one of our experts. S/he'll be able to guide you through your HR tech project.
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