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How to plan Up-Skilling Initiatives with incomplete, imprecise and constantly changing ground facts

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

With organizations diving deeper into digital transformation, upskilling the workforce has moved to the forefront. While digital transformation is creating powerful business opportunities, it is also creating a skills gap. The dynamics of work are also constantly changing and evolving, and organizations have no option but to invest in advanced upskilling strategies to capably respond to market changes and cash on the opportunities. 

The World Economic Forum had predicted that more than 1 billion people globally would have to be reskilled by 2030 to meet the needs of jobs transformed by technologies. 

In today’s world characterized by a hybrid workplace and remote teams, focusing on ongoing upskilling and employee development has become imperative. 

As the impact of the pandemic, organizations have to not only upgrade technical skill sets but have to work towards developing a workforce that is agile and emotionally & mentally ready to tackle a transforming market. While there are clear advantages that upskilling brings to the table, given the forces of disruption at play, the traditional approach of creating annual training plans no longer remains effective. 

Market dynamics are compelling organizations to add new capabilities on the fly. They demand organizations to be flexible, agile, and resilient. In such a dynamic and constantly evolving market, organizations need to make their training and upskilling initiatives agile as well. 

Given these shifts, how can organizations plan their upskilling initiatives? 

Replace guesswork with data analytics for precision 

Jumping on the next upskilling fad and expecting your upskilling initiatives to work? Initiatives designed from a place of gut feel or trends usually end up in the skills graveyard. This is because training only sticks if it is relevant and contextual to the employee. Why should the employee enthusiastically upskill if they don’t feel the need or understand the role these skills will play in their career development? How will the training stick in the absence of relevance? 

Organizations need to engage their employees and help them identify these skill gaps not from gut feel but from data-backed tests. These tests have become crucial data points to evaluate the technical and power skill needs of the workforce. Behavior Analysis tests or 16 Personality Factor tests, for example, can help organizations and employees self-diagnose and identify their exact skill needs. 

With this information, organizations can create powerful peer coaching plans and leverage a robust, technology-enabled peer coaching platform to drive great results. With such a platform, it becomes easier to make the right coach and learner pairings. A comprehensive platform will also provide actionable insights from rich analytics on skill development, performance, employee engagement, and overall transformational insights. All of these make training outcomes more impactful and positive with lesser effort.    

Remove ambiguity in a hybrid world of work 

Employees across the world are battling challenging times. While the chaos and uncertainty that gripped the world of work in the initial days of the pandemic have mellowed, ambiguity and complexity prevails.. 

As employees and organizations move into the Future of Work, it becomes the organization’s responsibility to help the workforce settle into this hybrid world. 

  • News of work from home burnout, concerns regarding career paths, and work opportunities are on the incline. 
  • Managers have to now move from being bosses to virtual leaders
  • Leaders have to discover new leadership styles to suit this new world. 
  • New employees have to find and build trusted networks and paths for career development. 
  • New and old employees are working out how to augment their career paths while ensuring they remain visible. 

The challenges in this new world of work are aplenty and add to chaos and confusion.

Helping employees and management (leadership) find the right direction in uncertain times assumes strategic importance now. Traditional upskilling initiatives are not designed to be impactful in this new world simply because the rules of engagement have dramatically changed. As such, upskilling initiatives have to account for the unique needs of the workforce and help them contextually resolve their problems. 

Peer coaching networks help a great deal in removing most of the complexity that comes with ambiguity. Since peer coaches come with similar life experiences and work challenges, it becomes easier for the learner to connect with the peer coach, understand the context and implement the actions that need to drive behavioral change. As Peer Coaching is a measurable and contextual process, it can be leveraged to drive learning and upskilling programs and cover up those aspects that typical traditional training programs miss. 

Battle constant change with resilience 

If there is one thing that is set in stone is that ‘change is now constant’. Organizations have to now develop their workforce such that they can contribute to organizational resilience. Digital technologies are assisting organizations in this journey. Cutting-edge technologies such as AI are helping them improve business capabilities and outcomes. 

The key to survival and success in these disruptive times is to remain agile towards the workforce and organizational needs. As such, while organizations cannot completely do away with training planning for the whole year, it is essential to supplement it with peer coaching to address the more immediate needs of the workforce. Peer coaching can also be impactful in reinforcing learnings and driving behavioral change that ensures that new skills stick and are implemented at work.  

This becomes especially relevant in these trying times as employees battle to understand the new rules of engagement and figure out strategies for professional success in a remote, disconnected, and hybrid world. 

Peer coaches, through non-judgmental and informal exchanges, can help learners navigate challenges and hurdles with ease. Employees are also more receptive to feedback when it is presented in a timely, contextual and non-judgmental manner. Strong peer coaching also reaffirms learning by providing personalized and contextual nurture actions that include notifications, reminders, alerts, kudos, and more. These actions, along with contributing to skill enhancement, also aid employee engagement initiatives by delivering enablement to employees when they need it.

Connect with us to see how an AI-powered coaching platform can power up your upskilling initiatives and drive them with deep engagement insights from data analytics and Machine Learning-powered engagement scores.

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