Upskilling Programs and Employee Response. Part 2: How L&D can Address Issues

Plethora Learning | Blog Author | Mitali Murdeshwar
Mitali Murdeshwar September 14, 2022
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Employee upskilling is no more just a good to have in an organization, it’s now imperative thanks to the rising growth in digitization and emergence of newer technologies. 

In the previous blog, Part 1 of Upskilling Programs and Employee Response, we discussed some of the chief reasons for lack of employee participation. In part 2, we will be looking at how L&D can proactively address these issues.  

Studies have shown that employee upskilling has emerged as a strategic need with 52% of countries agreeing there’s an increased demand for matching skills and talent. Additionally, for 80% of CEOs, the need for new skills has become the biggest business challenge.  

In other words, the recent changes in the way the world works has called for a new style of learning and development to rise. However, as we saw in the previous blog, there are often roadblocks that L&D teams face while creating impactful employee upskilling programs. In this blog, we will revisit those issues and also look at ways and means to address them to create effective learning programs. 

Challenge 1: Employees Do Not Have the Time 

On an average, employees are generally able to dedicate a mere 5 minutes a day for learning! Needless to say, lack of time is one of the biggest factors why employees find L&D initiatives a burden. They are so busy racing to finish work schedules that it’s not easy for them to find dedicated hours for skilling up. 

Proposed Solution: Learning in the Flow of Work (LIFW)  

The idea of learning in the flow of work focuses on the fact that employees can have short pieces of learning right as a part of their work schedules instead of having to dedicate separate hours for it. This means they should have access to learning right at the time when they are facing any problems or challenges in their work.  

LIFW lets employees skill without disrupting their daily workflow. It’s a strategy that caters to anytime, anywhere learning and does not involve the traditional “push” approach to learning. It is all about L&D teams offering accessible and on-demand content to employees while letting them control their own learning.  

Challenge 2: Content Lacks Relevance 

Upskilling programs should hold at their core the central idea of addressing the company’s skills gaps and preparing employees for their existing or new job roles. However, employees often feel that the learning content is not relevant to what they wish to learn or isn’t up-to-date. More importantly, many complain that it doesn’t align with their job roles, responsibilities, and future aspirations. 

Proposed Solution: Content Curation  

As learners are always juggling multiple tasks at work, they want learning experiences that are specially customized for them and can justify the time they spend on them. Curated content can provide a customized and tailored approach that meets the specific interests of learners, their needs, aspirations and future goals. 

Curated learning gives learners more ownership and control over their learning journey, which spikes their interest, creates better engagement, and encourages them to upskill better. It also drives higher learner engagement since it is more personal and relevant to learners’ specific needs.  

Challenge 3: Training has a One-Size-Fits-All Approach   

When it comes to upskilling programs, a one-size fits all approach hardly ever works. It is essential that skilling programs are specific to job roles and skills. If L&D teams continue to curate generic training programs that are the same for all employees, it is likely that employees will give a lukewarm response. 

Proposed solution: Personalized Learning  

Personalized Learning enables L&D teams to better align learning to upskilling and reskilling needs as well as business goals. At a time when personalized recommendations are the norm for everything, from shopping to movies to food – skills training is no exception.  

Personalized learning offers learners more autonomy and control over their learning journey, which increases their interest, creates better engagement, and encourages them to proactively access learning resources. 

Challenge 4: Company Doesn’t Promote Training Benefits 

One of the key reasons upskilling programs do not elicit more employee participation is because organizations fail to promote their benefits. It is necessary that the workforce actually sees how the programs can drive their careers and enhance their jobs. Otherwise, they will view them as futile in the absence of sufficient information. 

Proposed Solution: Connect Employee Development with Company Development  

The key to making employees see the advantages of upskilling programs is to let them know that their individual goals are aligned with larger company objectives. Once employees see how training programs are the way to enhance their roles and productivity, it is likely that they will be motivated to take charge of their own career advancement opportunities.  

It is the role of L&D to help learners see the bigger picture that the upskilling program they are participating in is a vital part of the company’s growth moving forward. 

Challenge 5: Upskilling Programs are Tedious and Boring 

Although upskilling programs are necessary for employee development, long and boring ones can tire employees and make them lose interest. This will directly impact their performance and productivity affecting their existing jobs. 

Proposed solution: Microlearning  

Microlearning has become a preferred strategy for organizations looking to create engaging learning solutions without overwhelming their learners. Microlearning is the use of bite-sized, easy to digest and retain learning nuggets that can be delivered through a variety of different media. This can include interactive modules, videos, gamification and much more! 

Key Takeaways 

In order for upskilling programs to act as a catalyst for employee development, it is necessary that employees are engaged enough. No matter how good the training program is, if employees are not onboard to partake of the learning experiences, the programs are likely to fail. Upskilling initiatives that are integrated within employees’ regular workday have higher chances of eliciting participation. 

Plethora offers a host of courses that drive engagement and achieve optimum learning outcomes using bite-sized learning, easily consumed and retained by today’s time-deprived millennial workforce.  

Click here to know more.