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7 Tactics to Upskilling

Disruptive technology is re-shaping the present-day work environment.  Technological advances are making long-standing job roles superfluous.

Digital Disruption being faced by many companies is exacerbating the gap between what employers want their employees to be able to do and what they can actually do.  This skills gap needs to be bridged rapidly but with due consideration to the course taken to fill it.

A change in job roles with the help of Upskilling has become necessary in light of the evolving Disruption.  Upskilling comprises of acquisition of new and pertinent competencies, made necessary because of the current or emerging work environment.  Upskilling adds to the skills the employee already possesses.  It is a key component to robust Talent Management and can be a source of Competitive Advantage.

Having a robust Upskilling Strategy in place is the first step towards a successful Upskilling effort.  Upskilling Strategy can create new roles for existing employees leveraging their experience.

However, the brass tacks of an effective program to bridge the talent gap are the following 7 tactics to Upskilling which can help employers Upskill their workforce:

  1. Learning and Development
  2. Job Rotation
  3. Job Enlargement
  4. Job Enrichment
  5. Peer Coaching
  6. Peer Mentoring
  7. Hire External Experts/Specialists

Contingent on the organization’s requirements, based on a skills gap analysis, one or more tactics in combination may be needed to fill the skills gap.

Let us look at some of the tactics in a little more detail.

Learning and Development (L&D)

L&D programs are a common approach to Upskilling and foundational to becoming a true Learning Organization.  These programs are dependent on a number of factors.  One of the key factors is L&D Strategy, which can be developed based on a number of models.  Depending on the model chosen, L&D Strategy development will generally go through the following 4 phases:

  • Training Needs Analysis
  • Learning objective stipulation
  • Training material and approach design
  • Monitoring and Evaluation

Methods chosen for Upskilling will naturally vary for every organization due to the variation in L&D strategy and program, for e.g., online courses, online courses along with live lectures, peer coaching with an Upskill track on Learning Management System.

Job Rotation

Job Rotation is another first-rate technique to Upskill.  New skills, knowledge, and competencies can be learnt by moving employees between jobs.  Employees learn skills, knowledge, competencies of a specific job other than their own.

Purpose of Job Rotation can be preparing backups for a job, exposing future managers to all types of jobs, exposing HR employees to other jobs for better understanding.  Job Rotations are generally at the same level and are temporary in nature.

Job Enlargement

Job Enlargement comprises of adding more activities within the same level to a current role.  It expands the ambit of a job by spreading the breadth of duties and responsibilities usually within the same level.

Purpose of Job Enlargement is to encourage employees to expand their skill set by intensifying their performances and exposure.  Job Enlargement imparts diverse skills to employees and aids their career growth.  Added job responsibilities necessitate training and assist in gaining further experience.

Interested in learning more about the 7 Tactics to Upskilling?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 7 Tactics to Upskilling here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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