Upskilling: 5 Strategies for Success, and the Key Roles HR and L&D Can Play

The World Economic Forum’s 2018 “Future of Jobs” report stated that over half of employees will need “significant” re-skilling and upskilling by 2022. Organizations are already struggling to find, train and retain the talent they need to compete in the ever-evolving digital economy. Trends such as automation and the rise of cybercrime are quickly changing the skills organizations need to survive and thrive

The 2019 Upskilling Initiatives Survey, compiled for Raytheon Professional Services by Training Industry, Inc., shows that 84% percent of companies have upskilling as a priority for their businesses, and that HR and L&D both play a major part in those initiatives. Furthermore, 90% of companies surveyed see a connection between upskilling and improved employee performance.

That is why the HR and L&D functions have major roles to play in the execution of business strategy. The programs they develop with business leaders are key to ensuring the organization has the skills it needs to accomplish its key goals — to stay competitive both now and into the future.

The LinkedIn 2019 Workplace Learning Report shows promising signs as budget constraints for upskilling programs dropped from 49% in 2017 to 27% in 2019; and 82% of L&D professionals say their executives are actively supporting employee engagement in learning and closing the skills gap through upskilling initiatives.

To maximize efficiencies and optimize upskilling programs, it is critical that HR and L&D collaborate effectively. To that aim, we have identified five strategies that can help you chart the course to collaboration between L&D and HR and establish a learning strategy to address your talent needs.

HR, L&D Roles

Both functions have important data, context and programs that the organization needs to meet the talent demands of contemporary and future business. HR has the overarching responsibility of making sure the organization has the talent it needs to perform ongoing operations and prepare for the future. L&D takes on the challenge of executing the talent strategy when it comes to training current employees to meet changing requirements, and onboarding new ones.

Proactive Managers, Employees

It’s also important for employees and their managers to take an active role in upskilling. When L&D leaders make employees aware of training opportunities and help them identify skills they need to perform well, it empowers them to take initiative and can improve learning outcomes. In addition, L&D should keep managers up to date on their team members’ progress so they can encourage additional training as needed.

And by conducting periodic skills assessments, anytime the business identifies an emerging skill set or capability as critical for success, L&D and HR already know what the organization has in-house and who they need to hire and train for that purpose.

Creating a Road Map

Many organizations use learning paths or road maps for courses and individual learners’ development plans. To fill the skills gaps, L&D should create a series of road maps to show each employee how to develop from his or her current state to a future, upskilled state. These road maps benefit L&D leaders as they can visualize current skills gaps and how they are working to fill them, and learners too as they can visualize where they are now and where they need to go — and how to get there.

Time for a Change

Employers need to put learning and development opportunities at the heart of their companies, creating a high performance learning culture. Collaboration is not always easy.  Many  HR and L&D functions still operate in silos and are unaware of what the other is doing.

Many also are not in the room for the strategic conversations that could help them understand their company’s current and future talent needs. Oftentimes, executives fill in L&D leaders about business strategy changes when the ball is already rolling and it is too late for them to respond effectively. In those cases, L&D leaders should aim to establish open communications to ensure their learning strategy is consistently aligned with the company’s key goals.

With senior leaders’ growing recognition of the skills gaps,  collaboration will be increasingly important for businesses to succeed now and in the future. Let Raytheon Professional Services help you create effective strategies and programs to address all your talent needs, and build a high performance learning culture.

Reach Out to RPS

Get in touch with our team now to identify and deliver effective upskilling initiatives. How would you tackle upskilling in your organization? Do you have lessons learned that you’d like to share? Start a conversation in the comments below or connect with us at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags #upskilling, #learning,#training.