Upskilling: Why it Matters in the Hiring Process

Blog / Upskilling: Why it Matters in the Hiring Process

No one has a crystal ball.

We can’t tell you exactly what the jobs of the future will look like, but what we can tell you is that companies are having to deal with ever increasing demands at a faster pace.

And that means that HR and talent acquisition teams need to ensure that their organizations are made up of highly motivated employees with a foundation of skills that help them to learn to adapt to whatever comes their way.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is the process of teaching your employees new skills so they are prepared to compete in the workplace of the future. Upskilling has been going on for centuries, but most recently has been the answer to automation. Now this isn’t to say that automation is bad. Machines are just better suited to accomplish some manual tasks more efficiently. But while tech continues to increase, this also means that while some jobs disappear, others will take their place and we all have to be willing to adapt.

Upskilling and Inclusion

Not only does upskilling help your company and employees compete, but it also goes hand-in-hand with inclusion efforts. Often, greater diversity is seen in entry or lower level jobs and certain departments. As you move up the proverbial workforce ladder, diversity decreases in many companies. Upskilling can be a powerful way to improve diversity in your company. By upskilling your employees, you are giving them the tools they need to pursue a path to higher paying jobs while increasing diversity throughout your organization.

Upskilling and Recruitment

When you offer valuable training opportunities to your employees, it can help build your employer reputation. In other words, offering upskilling can lead to skilled talent seeking out your company. These are also the highly motivated employees who are excited to upskill, meaning your efforts will be more successful. When you post entry and lower level jobs, be sure to include mentions of training or upskilling and opportunities to move within the organization in the listing.

Keys to Successful Upskilling

You can’t just train your employees in new skills and hope for the best. Having a support system is a key for successfully upskilling your employees. Here are recommendations to ensure you have a good support system. 

  • Cohort Groups: If employees are moving from one department to another, give them a chance to mingle before, during and after they begin working in the new department. This allows them to share their experiences and challenges.
  • Weekly Check-Ins: Assign HR professionals to check in with each upskilled employee weekly. This allows them to check on the employee’s wellbeing and address any potential challenges. 
  • Mentoring: Pair an upskilled employee with accessible, longtime employees in the new department. Be sure to only accept only mentors who are willing and excited to support the new employees. 
  • Organized Onboarding: Be detailed and methodical in your onboarding process. Don’t assume that upskilled employees know where things are or how to do them simply because they already work for the company–it’s not uncommon for practices to differ across departments. 
  • Thoughtful Assessments: Employing assessments (like Workzinga’ suite of assessments) can be helpful to give you a good understanding of the entire person. You can get to the human factor of your employee and how they will jive with a new department, new role, or new dynamics.

Some Final Thoughts

Upskilling can literally change an employee’s life. It can give an employee something to aspire to and make the American Dream more tangible for everyone. It can also give workers hope in an ever increasing digital and automated world.