By: Marc Havercroft, President, Go1
As the UK faces an impending recession, uncertainty looms in the current workforce, leaving employees fearing job cuts and questioning their financial stability. This lack of security has a direct effect on employers, who may find that their workers are less engaged and committed to the job at hand.
While a recession is out of an employer’s control, at a time with potentially heightened disengagement, it is particularly important for employers to take control of what they can to help their employees feel more secure and supported in their current roles.
But of course, future uncertainty doesn’t sit just with the employees but with leaders too. What they need from their staff now might change in the near or far future.
So, what can employers do that helps their employees feel secure today but also sets them up for an evolving future?
In many ways, the benefits of training beyond the job at hand are self-explanatory. After all, who doesn’t want the opportunity to develop new skills, learn new things, and progress in their careers? Still, a deep dive into the statistics reveals exactly how beneficial professional development can be even when the skills aren’t immediately required in a person’s day to day.
According to LinkedIn’s ‘2022 Global Trends Report’, employees ranked ‘upskilling’ in the top five most valued priorities when it comes to feeling secure and supported. Plus, 74% of people are willing to learn new skills or retrain to remain employable. The message is clear: employees want opportunities to develop their skills.
Additionally, research conducted by Go1 and Fosway concluded that 40% of current worker’s core skills are expected to change in the next five years. Meaning that from an employer perspective, widening the skill sets of current talent needs to be paramount in order to adapt to an ever changing climate.
And that’s definitely something I’ve seen to be true. For example, the advent of data lakes and the ability to be comfortable in analytics of all forms seems almost a default in roles that two years ago would not even have it as desirable.
We need to hone in on where the skill gaps are and distinguish what skill sets employees already have to offer a business, as a crucial factor leaders overlook is the difference between a worker’s practical experience and skills used in current duties.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, in a study of 3,700 UK employees, found that more than a third of workers (37%) already have the skills to cope with more demanding duties than they currently have. But if this is untapped then it doesn’t add value. However, they can be maintained and improved via workplace training, and that could be essential if the skills are going to be of use as duties change.
E-learning solution, Go1 offers an extensive library of courses to aid the expansion of employees’ core skills, ranging from introductory to advanced. With learning tools on everything from project management to Python coding, businesses can not only ensure that they continue to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving workplace, but also open up the opportunity to train workers beyond the job at hand – learning new skills outside of their day-to-day role.
Such cross-industry upskilling can lead to improved employee versatility and employee retention as well as encourage continuous learning. Overall, instilling learning and development (L&D) practices adds immense value to a workplace, unlocking current talent abilities that may lay the ground for future positions.
Yet, for organisations to effectively facilitate and integrate any kind of training into their business structures, companies need to ensure that their managers and senior leaders are fully supported and equipped with the acquired skill sets to deliver such learning and L&D practices that will engage and empower teams.
Post-pandemic behaviours and a current cost-of-living crisis has led to managers finding themselves under more scrutiny than ever before as they’re stretched across multiple objectives, workstreams and even departments. Pushed to the front line, middle management are not only responsible for driving business results, but are also expected to support the emotional and psychological well-being of workers, as they attempt to maintain company culture in a hybrid world of work.
In turn, pressure mounts on senior individuals, as well as the teams they manage, limiting their ability to provide meaningful support and L&D opportunities that will ensure their teams are fully captivated. In fact, in 2022, ‘managers not making time for learning’ was named the number one barrier to L&D progress.
To achieve high learning performance, the tools need to be handed to team leaders and line managers so that learning can be supported in the heart of the workplace. Go1 works with businesses to ensure that tailored L&D strategies are more streamlined to fit within the flow of manager’s work and avoid adding to their already busy agendas. Investing in the training of line managers and improving their skills has been shown to have a tangible impact on retention rates and bottom line success.
It’s indisputable that equipping the workforce with additional skills beyond the job at hand will ultimately expand and transform learning culture, and prove integral to the fate of an organisation.
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