5 Tips to encourage your employees to upskill and reskill

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The fast pace of technology improvements, the impending arrival of an era where AI and big data are changing work, automating jobs and creating skill gaps in the market are all making more and more companies preoccupied — and rightfully so. What can you do? Upskilling and reskilling will be part of your strategy.

Why are simulators so important for car manufacturers?

Designing new car models is very expensive and time-consuming. Especially the construction of physical prototypes slows down the process. Today’s advanced simulators enable to conduct many of the initial tests in the driving simulator. In this way, the maturity of the new car is a lot higher before the first prototype is created. If 70% or 80% of the work is done on a virtual prototype, this will save a huge amount of time and money on the car development costs. The simulators are therefore crucial to experience the driving, and all car manufacturers have several of them in their research facilities.

What do you at IFM (and especially the research group Adrive) focus on?

You could say that we are a method manufacturer. Our objective is to create the methods and tools for car manufacturers and their supplier to limit the number of prototypes. Because driving simulation is a big field, we cannot research everything. We focus on three main domains: ‘vehicle dynamics and controls with steering, tire and suspension application’, ‘controllability in failure cases’, and ‘ADAS/AD (Advanced Driving Assistance System / Automatic Driving)’.

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In a 2020 report by PwC, 74% of CEOs stated they were concerned about the availability of key skills and of those, 32% admitted they were ´extremely concerned´. To ensure a thriving future, companies are now required to invest in their workforce more than ever, upskilling and reskilling them to prepare them for new ways of working.  

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Upskilling is the process of improving a current skill set. It’s a vertical growth path towards optimized abilities and potential leadership in a specific field of expertise.

On the other hand, reskilling focuses on entirely new abilities, preparing an individual for steering their career in a different direction.    

There are numerous benefits to upskilling and reskilling, from improving a company´s long-term perspectives, increasing productivity and internal mobility, to ensuring talent retention and bringing new, likeminded talent.

For these efforts to be successful, employees need to be fully on board. It´s not enough for companies to assess their needs, design learning paths and enroll employees. Managed incorrectly, both upskilling and reskilling become complicated processes, met with resistance and can turn ineffective. To support you, we have listed 5 tips to encourage your employees to upskill and reskill. 
1. Start from the top

Higher management does not only have an essential role in establishing a vision for the future of the company and the skills necessary for fulfilling it but is also indispensable when instilling a strong learning culture. Beginning with higher management, the mindset must pervade all layers of the company, onto people managers and down to every single employee. 

Lead by example, ensuring that higher management and people managers are engaged in continuous learning. Encourage them to share their experience, their struggles and successes and to encourage their workforce to do the same. Involve the internal communication department and ensure that these messages are disseminated company-wide on a regular basis.  
Further on, higher management and people managers can take an active role by participating in mentoring programs or 1 to 1 coaching, strengthening further the reskilling and upskilling strategy you are devising. 

Getting management involved through all these means will support the creation of a culture of learning, beneficial not only for supporting a bright future for the company but also for attracting new talent. Younger generations are especially eager to learn and improve themselves and will be more willing to join a company with the same mindset. 

2. Make it accessible and interesting

Are you aware of the learning format preferred by the workforce in your company? Whether they prefer full days of training or bitesize information, learning onsite or online, it is mandatory to consult them before starting to design learning paths. At Barco, we predict a future of work and, by consequence, of learning and development that is hybrid and blended. 

The safest option is to create a flexible 360-degree learning environment, delivering learning content in multiple formats: instructor-led, be it online, onsite or hybrid, but also pre-recorded videos or e-books for individual learning. Make training material available on-demand and mobile-accessible to offer the opportunity to learn whenever convenient. 

In live instructor-led training, turn sessions interactive - by using polls and quizzes - and collaborative - by using breakout rooms for teamwork and in-depth discussions. According to LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report, a staggering percent of L&D professionals believe that employees who learn together are more successful (91%), and that it helps create a sense of belonging (92%). 

3. Optimize learning journeys

Once you have conducted research in your company to find out what kind of learning journeys your employees would like, then designed and rolled out the upskilling or reskilling programs, you will need to constantly track, measure and optimize.  

Constantly review learning paths and register progress.
Ask for regular feedback from both trainers and trainees by establishing several checkpoints along the journey.

According to the same report by LinkedIn, in the UK, 43% of L&D professionals are using different methods to determine how satisfied employees are with learning programs, including qualitative feedback, surveys, talent retention rates and company mobility rates. 

Education technology can be of tremendous help, providing data and analytics of engagement, attention and interaction with the training material and other participants. The number of online courses completed and business metrics (deals closed, customer satisfaction, leads generated, etc.) before and after training as well as productivity increase can prove especially useful. 
Assessing learning journeys and optimizing them will make learning easier and more effective, and support talent acquire new skills or improve existing ones at a faster and more enjoyable pace. 

4. Incentivize learning

Incentivizing employees is part of any company´s internal strategy. It helps employees feel more motivated, productive and valuable. That is why incentives should not be missed in the overall strategy for upskilling or reskilling workforces.  

But what kind of incentives could be offered? Financial incentives or in-kind rewards can definitely prove useful but there are many other ways to show appreciation.  

Gamify learning and give achievement badges or certificates that can easily be shared on LinkedIn or on internal social channels. Make sure you have top achievers put into spotlight by their managers in team meetings, by higher management during regular company meetings or during end-of-the-year events.  

Lastly, you can even feature them in internal campaigns in newsletters, interviews and articles to support that culture of learning so necessary in nowadays´ successful companies. 

5. Promote wellbeing

Uncertain times take a toll on mental health. When your workforce is worried about the stability of their job or the health of their loved ones, upskilling and reskilling will be difficult and take longer. How can L&D improve their employees´ capacity to learn?  

Create a general sense of stability and calm regarding the future of the company and jobs. Ensure employees are not overwhelmed by their workload. Encourage employees to stay hydrated, get good sleep, eat healthy and adopt stress management techniques.

Involve internal communication and HR and drive wellness campaigns. That can range from a regular newsletter with tips and tricks encouraging a healthy lifestyle to (virtual) sports or yoga classes and workshops on stress management

All these can improve your workforce´ ability to acquire new knowledge and will make your learning paths shorter and overall, your upskilling and reskilling efforts more effective. 

Barco weConnect supports your organization´s upskilling and reskilling efforts 

Barco weConnect supports the upskilling and reskilling efforts of your company. Our virtual classroom software solution is suitable for both remote and onsite training, hence perfect for flexible training. It offers a front row experience to all participants, enabling fast and effective information acquirement. Participants can share content, break out in working groups, vote in polls and respond in quizzes. They will enjoy an engaging, interactive experience, across any device.   

Furthermore, the data and analytics provided by our solution will help you adjust pedagogical methods, optimize future classes and consequently, enhance the upskilling and reskilling outcomes needed for securing a bright future for your company.  
Register now for one of our demo sessions or read more about how the Barco weConnect virtual classroom solution can enable successful learning experiences in your company.