How to Upskill Team Members (and Why Your LMS Isn’t Delivering)
Making the most of your team today is especially important, considering the fact that most companies can’t add to their workforce due to the current pandemic. This hiring freeze could cause a vital skills gap, since hiring managers are unable to bring in people to fill those gaps. In light of this, the most efficient solution is to upskill team members and invest in their development.
When it comes down to it, it’s safe to say that a company’s success is determined by how diversely skilled its employees are and how well you understand those skills. Creating a plan on how to upskill team members – developing an employee to obtain new and better skills – is one of the best ways to ensure that your team constantly improves and expands their industry knowledge. It’s also the only way to prevent company-wide skill gaps from slowing employee performance and affecting the bottom line.
As a result, upskilling existing employees is much more efficient than bringing in new ones and training them from scratch. It is also much more cost effective as well. Unfortunately, the traditional LMS has a one-off approach to employee training. Essentially, development resources are provided (the content in the LMS) but doesn’t map the resource to a specific skill as part of a specific employee’s personal development plan.
Basically, such an LMS fails to capture the bigger picture on workforce development, which is just not enough to upskill (or reskill) the modern employee.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the issues with traditional LMS’s and find out how we can overcome these issues to construct that all-star team.
Let’s jump right in.
The problem with traditional learning management systems
Upskilling is a practice that makes employees a more valuable member of the workforce. They are able to perform new tasks, improve on previous ones, come up with more impactful ideas, and ultimately, play a larger role within the organization.
To achieve such outcomes, businesses need to:
- Assess the skills gap within the company. This can be done by individually assessing an employee’s skills and competencies, and then comparing those results to a standard based on the skill within a role to find out how much training is required.
- Chart a career path for every employee that you plan to upskill, and invest in learning resources that are available to that (and every) employee, any time. This helps align their personal career goals with that of the organization.
- Provide ease of access to information to enable continuous learning. We, at TalentGuard, do this by suggesting company-provided experiential training based on an individual’s skill gaps and desired career path.
If your company is one that decides to go the technology route for training employees, you can deliver the standard, probation-period training. You can even implement a somewhat extended training program.
However, when it comes to upskilling and even reskilling, traditional learning management systems are not equipped to handle the employee and program-centric requirements.
1. Some systems are not evergreen (they don’t allow continuous development)
The vast majority of traditional learning management systems are designed to deliver training once. They are built to cater to a fresh batch of employees, rather than those that require additional training later on in their careers.
In addition, they can’t be personalized for different employees with different training requirements (different courses, varying training frequency, etc.).
2. Stand-alone learning management systems can’t provide career paths
Current learning management systems don’t facilitate learning based on an employee’s ideal career trajectory. They don’t suggest courses based on what skills the employee needs to develop at a particular stage of their development to progress in their careers.
Furthermore, LMS’s don’t offer career pathing and development options that help companies address the changing competency requirements of different employees as they move forward in a professional capacity.
3. They don’t facilitate continuous training
Traditional learning management systems don’t allow companies to integrate training courses into the various workflows of their employees. They usually function as a singular training platform, accessible only during the earliest stages of an individual’s employment.
Such systems cause companies additional investments simply to upskill their existing employees, resulting in those employees costing companies more than they should.
4. They are siloed from development and performance
Lastly, the traditional LMS only provides the initial tools needed by employees to function in their positions in the most basic sense. It doesn’t actually help develop an employee into a more efficient and skilled one. These learning management systems are built to deliver one or two courses at a time, and don’t track employee performance to deliver training whenever it’s needed.
This causes employees to get siloed from any actual performance-enhancement, which makes any training they are given at the start insignificant to the future development of the employee. Barriers to their knowledge acquisition also limits the potential value they could add to the company.
Whether at your company or at the next, it will be beneficial for any employee to expand their horizons, develop multiple skills in various fields, and learn how to make positive impacts in several ways.
How to upskill team members the right way
Upskilling existing employees is nowhere near as easy as training during the early stages of employment. It’s especially difficult when people are already taking on additional responsibility, and the company cannot afford a huge chunk of the workforce putting everything down to focus on training.
To get ahead of the issue, organizations need to create and implement an effective upskilling strategy.
Here are some of the primary components of such a strategy:
1. Gauge the existing shortage of skills
Find out which areas need additional input from the workforce and single out the core competencies needed for that area. A full competency-based skills audit will inform you which additional skills are required at the moment and which ones will be required in the future for the entire workforce.
Besides showing where skill gaps exist, this will also reveal areas for employee development and better workflow management.
A skills audit can also display lateral skill requirements, which can then be fulfilled to enable employees of all departments to complement each other’s skills.
2. Determine the exact knowledge and type of learning to be delivered
20 of your employees could require 40 different courses between them, delivered through 2-3 different mediums, in just one training stage to upskill them. In light of this, determine exactly what an employee needs to learn, how they best absorb knowledge, and any workarounds that will help them maintain a streamlined workflow.
Since different departments within the same company could require different levels of skill growth in its employees, it’s important to also consider the varying needs of training when implementing an LMS.
At TalentGuard, we analyze the training requirements of each employee to find out the best ways to deliver continuous training on an individual level.
3. Create personalized training programs for your employees
As mentioned in the previous point, individual attention is needed to effectively deliver training to each employee. This calls for a personalized training program that takes the cognitive and developmental capacities of different employees (and their daily responsibilities) into account when creating their development goals (as outlined in their career paths).
A learning management system that sets training modules according to the employee’s career progress prepares employees for any and all challenges that career advancement might bring.
We find a personalized training program provides your employees with the specific tools that they need to acquire new skills, alongside timely manager feedback that keeps employees motivated and makes their development more meaningful. Manager feedback also doubles as a guiding tool for employees to make adjustments to how they acquire and implement new knowledge.
4. Assess effectiveness and provide feedback
Training and development are one side of the upskilling coin. The other side involves real-time performance assessment and reporting/feedback.
To assess how effective the training is, companies need to track the progress of employees as they complete the program, along with their performances in the field.
Real-time reporting helps managers keep track of where an employee might need additional assistance and what the subsequent course of action should be to overcome any training obstacles.
Upskill your teams the right way
Employees all around the world have been affected by the global pandemic. This calls for companies to train and develop their existing talent for any upcoming challenges, and align their training and development programs to their business goals.
Instilling new skills in your people can not only help them advance in their careers while keeping them employed, but also help companies stay afloat, grow, and scale – even in the most difficult times.