How upskilling can help you build organisational talent
People need to keep learning or re-training throughout their career to meet the growing demands of the new talent economy.
Dubai - For companies that want to remain competitive, this should be the No.1 priority
With the rapid advancements in technology, there are more and more new kinds of jobs and opportunities being created. Employers seek to fill these new job roles with candidates who possess the specialised skill sets. Upskilling has become a necessity for employees as well as for employers to sustain their business and remain competitive.
Globally, there is wide agreement that people need to keep learning throughout their professional journey to stay up-to-date in their careers. A comprehensive study, Global Learner Survey, indicates that a wide majority (81 per cent) of learners in the Middle East agree that education doesn't stop at school. People need to keep learning or re-training throughout their career to meet the growing demands of the new talent economy.
As a result, it has become critical for employers to invest in the workforce and provide them with new-age skills through innovative tools that deliver effective learning. This, in turn, helps organisations upskill the workforce, improve productivity and boost employee engagement. In other words, the sooner businesses start upskilling, the better it is. Following are the various ways in which organisations can upskill their workforce and prepare them for the new age and future economy.
On-the-job training: Many employers find that on the job training is a great tool to help employees learn new skills. A good way of achieving this is by getting more experienced employees to work alongside the junior ones and help them upskill. The process should include the creation of a structured training module to target those skills that need addressing, frequent discussions on challenges and suggestions to overcome them and the use of task lists to ensure that employees don't miss out on any crucial goals during their training.
Investing in online and blended learning courses: According to a latest study on Lifelong Learning, almost 79 per cent of respondents in the Middle East believe that artificial intelligence and other new technologies can enhance the learning experience and lead to better learning outcomes. There is a staggering variety of online training programmes to choose from and employees can choose to either learn more within their own disciplines or find completely new skills to specialise in, which could enable them to become a more valuable asset to the company. Especially if an organisation has more than one location, then online training courses are a great way to upskill the entire workforce. Blended learning, on the other hand, combines online learning with traditional face-to-face classroom methods.
Micro credentials: Not every learner has the time or resources to earn a traditional, credit-based degree. With alternative credentialing, known as micro credentials, students can improve their skills and employability. Micro credentials can help bridge the gap in skill sets offering flexibility that is so important for working professionals. These certified higher education mini-degrees in specific topic areas are delivered in small chunks which gives career-oriented and focused individuals the liberty to stay relevant at their jobs and take a course at a time convenient to them. This helps learners balance their career needs while managing their daily jobs. Micro credentials also allow them to get back from where they had left off, had they missed any classes. A study by Pearson found that 64 per cent of employers see alternate credentialing as an important, future strategy and revenue-generating opportunity.
Mentoring: Mentoring can be defined as a long-term relationship, the focus of which is to support the growth and development of an employee. The mentor does not observe and provide guidance on day-to-day challenges but instead challenges and encourages the mentee to think through issues and approaches by asking leading questions and provides advice when needed. In this way, the employee gains skills and develops new capabilities. This type of influence can have many positive and lasting effects as it also brings an element of human connection into the picture.
In a nutshell, entrepreneurs, working professionals, jobseekers or literally everyone in the business world need to remain competitive by ensuring that they are continuing to develop new skills and talents. Fortunately, there are many means available today by which learning can be made more flexible, portable and cost-effective.
The writer is managing director of Pearson Middle East. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.