UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and allow our economy and communities to thrive. As part of our mission to advance the upskilling movement, we are pleased to share the following article featuring several of our partners. This piece originally appeared in Human Resource Executive.
A high-tech client of Accenture approached the global management-consulting firm about reskilling its workforce and, within two years’ time, Accenture was able to help transform this company’s curriculum from 100 percent classroom-based learning to 75 percent digitally based. The result? Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture, says the client saw a 92 percent average increase in the number of people being trained per year.
For companies that want to remain competitive, upskilling (and/or reskilling) should be a No. 1 priority.
Jaime Fall, director of UpSkill America, says that upskilling the current workforce is critical for retention because it’s becoming harder to attract new employees.
“As skills needs continue to shift, employers look for people who come to the company not only with the right skills, but that they’re a good culture fit,” says Fall. “But those people already exist within the organization—why not do whatever is possible, within reason, to give current employees the skills or knowledge they need to be able to move up in their careers?”
To fully prepare for the future, employers must create a culture of learning that fully supports the rise of new skills. There are countless options for doing so, but UpSkill America has identified six models of upskilling: apprenticeships, pre-employment training, high-school completion/equivalency, employee training, certifications and/or college degrees.
No matter which avenue companies pursue, Accenture’s Shook says, the time to upskill the workforce is now.
“Ultimately, to thrive—not just survive—in this time of high-velocity change, organizations and individuals need to embrace lifelong learning,” she says. “Gone are the days when you learned a skill and practiced it throughout your career. The new life script is to learn, work and repeat.”
Mike Fenlon, chief people officer at PwC, notes that upskilling has also been at the center of PwC’s business model. All employees are asked to adopt a growth mindset because the company views learning as a lifelong commitment.
In the fall of 2017, PwC launched its Digital Fitness mobile app, which tests technical knowledge, as well as behavioral skills and relationships in the organization. Once complete, employees are presented with feedback on strengths and skills gaps and are then connected to learning assets within the app, including podcasts, articles, quizzes, videos and links to training courses.
“Upskilling has been at the heart of our business model because our greatest asset is our people and their expertise,” says Fenlon.
Perhaps the biggest concern cited by experts is determining which skills will be needed in the future. UpSkill America’s Fall says that, because technology and the necessary skill sets change so fast, it’s hard to know what skills will be needed in two years. The challenge, then, is what do employers do absent this knowledge?
Fall recommends employers start creating a learning culture now so that, whatever skills are needed down the road, companies are responsive and have all the processes in place to roll out a successful upskilling initiative. Another critical part of this process is getting managers on board.
“Managers can be blockers for people getting promotions,” he says. “Something that employers need to think about is, How do we ensure that managers understand the critical importance of developing the people beneath them so they can be successful in their current role?”
This piece was excerpted from “Now is the Time to Start Upskilling your Workforce” by Danielle Westermann King in Human Resource Executive. Click here to read more.
Tweet “Employers look for people who come to the company not only with the right skills, but that they’re a good culture fit. [T]hose people already exist within the organization.” @Jaimen8r (Director @upskillamerica)
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UpSkill America is an employer-led movement that promotes training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs. UpSkill America is an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.
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