The 6 Best Ways to Upskill Your Team

 Upskilling is the process of providing your employees with the tools, resources, and time they need to further their careers and develop personally.

Why is upskilling important? Mainly because it makes your team more valuable and capable of reaping richer rewards through your firm. It's an investment in your own organization, and it won't take long to feel the difference in how your entire workforce operates.

Employee upskilling can often be done internally, all without spending an extra dime. Here's how you can unleash your team's full potential.

1. Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

Two women in a one-on-one meeting.

Peer-to-peer mentoring is one of the best ways to upskill a team of professionals, especially if varying skill levels and levels of expertise are represented on your payroll.

There are mentoring apps and external programs that you can enroll your workforce in. You can also start a peer-to-peer program within your own walls, as well. The benefits of this second option should be obvious—the knowledge being shared will be extremely relevant to your line of work in particular, as will the skills that each pair or group hones alongside each other.

The pairing has been shown to improve productivity and job satisfaction; it also tends to strengthen the interpersonal relationships between your team members and build into your company's culture. The office becomes a much more inviting place to work when these channels of communication are kept open and free.

2. Personal Development Plans

Two women discussing a personal development plan.

Self-assessment is crucial in the professional world. Personal development plans are one way that you can enable your employees to identify gaps in their knowledge and skillset and set goals for themselves.

Essentially, a personal development plan is an employee's way of laying out their goals and aspirations and conforming them into an actionable plan that results in personal progress. Once you've got a clearer picture of what people are saying that they need, you, as their employer, will then be able to figure out how to meet those needs for both your sake and theirs.

You can find a whole host of personal development plan templates online, and they can be implemented in any way that you see fit. You may invite your team to use them on a daily or weekly basis, or more broadly as a means of performance evaluation. Either way, personal development plans keep your team's eyes on the horizon.

3. Microlearning and Microcourses

A woman training independently.

A traditional upper-level degree is also one of the most generous gifts you can offer your workforce. However, not all companies have the means to educate their employees at the Master's level.

If you're a smaller company, a start-up, or some sort of philanthropic, non-profit effort, you might be able to help your team excel through micro courses, online certification, and other micro-credential programs.

Bite-sized learning, in some cases, maybe more approachable and accessible for the busy people working hard to support your company. They may also be more industry-relevant and up-to-date than an ordinary classroom experience, one usually tied to a larger, more general curriculum and overarching degree.

Sites and platforms like Udacity offer micro-courses on the latest in AI, data science, and development, perfect for any team interested in staying ahead of the curve.

4. Internal Training and Paid Personal Training

A few people discussing something.

Many experts will agree that much of what can be done in the way of upskilling can be done internally, at least to some extent. Incentivizing the process of self-improvement encourages your workforce to exceed themselves, both on the clock and on their own time.

Internal training programs can take many forms. Private workshops and seminars, hosted by your most talented performers, may be used to reinforce both your team's professional skills and knowledge and to strengthen soft skills like leadership, communication, and conflict management, as well. All of these skills are vital for any well-rounded employee—along with upskilling usually comes an enhanced sense of confidence, as well.

Paid personal training is the simple act of giving your team time throughout their week, or paid time off to grow. Independent study and analysis, self-reflection, and time to simply learn on their own are all ways that an employee may enrich themselves.

5. Hiring a Consultant or an External Specialist

A woman speaking to a room full of people.

When you've done all that you can think of, what's left? Hiring an external training service or an independent consultant may open doors that you didn't even know we're right in front of you. Sometimes, it really does pay to spring for a certified enrichment specialist.

Many professionals donate their time to online professional mentorship platforms, acting as coaches for those still coming up in their own right within the enterprise. Mentorship platforms are the most efficient way to connect every member of your team with seniors in their exact field for hands-on, personalized upskill training and development.

GrowthMentor is awesome for new company founders and product managers. Sites like Clarity.fmScore, and Mentorcruise can all help you develop your individual contributors, no matter what trade they happen to be serving in.

6. Creating a Company Culture of Continuous Learning

An office.

Learning, even in the professional world, should be a lifelong obsession. What's the best way to set the stage for a company culture that compels people out of complacency?

Part of your company culture most certainly rests on your shoulders as a leader—an open door policy, honest and well-meaning feedback, and even a simple, twenty-minute one-on-one meeting are all excellent strategies that you can extend to your team.

Aside from these interpersonal services, you should also be establishing the groundwork and even the infrastructure of a working environment conducive to upskilling and reskilling. Dedicated spaces in the office for personal enrichment, for example, make a statement to your workforce: that they're expected to learn and to grow, not to simply occupy a role mindlessly.

Allow the spirit of self-improvement to take root and guide your team to bigger and better things. Challenge them constantly, and never hesitate to lend a helping hand if you find them struggling. If you're able to provide the support that they need to excel, you'll be repaid in kind later on.

What Will Your Team Look Like One Year From Now?

Upskilling training doesn't have to fit inside of a box. Depending on your company and the nature of the work that you're doing, your upskilling strategy may employ all of the tips above or none of them at all. Tailor the process to the people you're working with and what they need. The rest will fall perfectly into place.

The benefits of upskilling training will be more than obvious once the ball is officially rolling. You may find that you end up growing just as much through your upskilling plan as your team does.

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