Upskilling Your Workforce: Preparing Employees for the Future of Technology

By Marina Gregory, CAO - 30 May, 2018
When you hear the words artificial intelligence or virtual reality, there is always an apprehension, especially as an employee. They’ve been told that technology will soon make employees obsolete and that robots may, in fact, take over the world. However, there is plenty of evidence to say otherwise. What you do have to watch out for, is technology that is set to improve productivity and efficiency, whether your workforce is ready for it or not. As leaders, you can focus on upskilling your workforce to be prepared for this change.

New technology surfaces daily and it can be tough for your employees to adapt if they are not equipped with the right skills. In an effort to upskill quickly, businesses have fallen into the trap of hiring new talent to fill the upcoming gap. Instead of this, businesses should invest in their current talent. We need to retrain our employees. Technology isn’t slowing down so it’s up to us to make sure our employees can keep up.

Upskilling Your Workforce: The Smart Plan

There are many reasons why upskilling your workforce is the smart plan. To start, it is important to understand how much a high turnover rate truly costs. In 2016, two short years ago, the cost of losing a single employee was estimated to be $25,000. However, this is only the loss, not the replacement.

To avoid the overwhelming cost and the stress, it is time to start upskilling your workforce. There are many other benefits to upskilling as well including:

  • Retention. Employees who are given the chance to grow and develop within the company are often more fulfilled and happy in their position. Putting forth the effort it takes to implement a training program shows interest in your employees, which boosts morale.
  • Customer satisfaction. We all know that happy employees make happy customers. When your employees are content and fulfilled, their emotions toward their employer will show to the customer. In today’s world, it is all about the customer experience.
  • Lower cost. As mentioned, losing an employee is costly. However, it is also costly to find talent, interview and go through the retraining process. If the employee does not work out, it may have to be repeated. Upskilling allows you to retain your employees, thus lowering the cost of rehiring in the future.

As technology increases, new jobs will develop that require new skills. For your company’s sake, you will want to have talent in that area to remain competitive. Your employees will be ready to take on the added responsibility and the new skills by being proactive now. Businesses must be able to adapt to the changing environment in order to survive.

How to Upskill Effectively

There are many innovative ways to upskill your employees. First and foremost, it is critical to have a plan and a strategy in place and it should be able to shift as technology shifts. Your strategy could include any of these effective upskilling methods:

  • On the job training. Hands-on training is perfect for all types of skills and departments. It’s perfect for employees who want to get their hands dirty in different departments or in different roles.
  • Online courses. There are thousands of companies that use online courses as a means of retraining and refresher courses. Employees are able to work on these courses at their own speed and in between their work. You are also able to offer many different courses this way, for employees to take as they please.
  • Special seminars and events. Special seminars and events that can be hosted at your place of business are perfect opportunities for employees to get involved and learn. These opportunities are also great for team building and comradery, which is great for morale.

There are so many options for upskilling your workforce. If you want to increase your retention rates, boost your customer satisfaction and lower the cost of losing your staff, it’s time to prepare employees for future technology by upskilling and retraining. The future is in our hands.

Author: Marina Gregory, CAO