Upskilling has become essential for business survival

The events of the past year have had huge repercussions on the working world. Whether we’ve had to adapt to a new working environment, or even start off in an entirely new profession, most of our realities seem to resemble a new kind of normal.

The same can be said for business priorities – for most organisations, these have rapidly changed unlike ever before. The new digital economy, along with the huge increase in remote working, has meant that businesses are increasingly adopting new technologies such as AI and blockchain, making for a new era of working. So to adapt their workforces for the future of work, many companies are making upskilling a priority.

The need to upskill hasn’t just come about from the pandemic. Long before the majority of us had even heard of Covid-19, there was already a growing skills gap across the globe. Throughout Europe, 40% of the population currently lacks the necessary digital skills required to survive in today’s job market. When it comes to the UK, nine out of ten UK workers will need to learn new digital skills to do their jobs by 2030.

So why is it so crucial that this skills gap is addressed? In the digital age, competition isn’t just between you and the other shops on the high street. Now, businesses must compete with a vast number of companies all over the globe. Only the fastest moving and innovative organisations with employees who are agile and responsive will be able to drive the company forward and succeed. Essentially, a digitally skilled workforce will help to create competitive advantage.

From a business perspective, upskilling also makes a lot of sense. Hiring a new employee can cost six times more than reskilling an existing one. Not only that, upskilling workers has been found to boost confidence and morale and to reduce employee turnover.

Reskilling has always been important, but it will be especially crucial in the post-pandemic world. Many organisations had to rapidly transform this year, building necessary skills and competencies just to survive. Yet, Covid-19 also added to the reskilling challenge. Delivering training and continuing education in an engaging way can be especially difficult from a remote setting.

It’s no surprise then, that there has been an accelerated uptake of digital e-learning technologies, as companies recognise how vital it is to promote upskilling, in a way which is suitable for everyone, and at scale.

These technologies can help employees to learn new skills more quickly, safely, and effectively. They might use augmented reality (AR) for a number of learning scenarios. AR can take a process or task and place the employee at the heart of it to help them learn a new skill.

Along the same lines, virtual reality can upskill employees where situations are critical or dangerous – virtual reality can offer safe practice sessions and upskill opportunities with less risk.

Mobile microlearning resources are another excellent tool for the upskilling needs of your employees. These resources are accessible on their smartphones and might include:

  • Videos
  • Annotated images
  • Assessments
  • Gamification

Using self-directed eLearning, upskilling the workforce can be as simple as opening a dedicated app or website on your smartphone or mobile device and allowing them to choose the areas they want to study.

Thanks to the pandemic, there has been a boom in upskilling apps and platforms available which businesses can implement for their training goals. In our next blog in this series, we will be discussing the latest apps which we believe are the best on the market.

Get in touch with the team