How to find new ways to nurture talent
It just doesn’t make financial sense anymore to fill skills gaps by outsourcing. It’s just too expensive and time consuming. Instead, organizations are looking for new ways to develop their existing talent by enabling employees to continuously develop their skills and knowledge.
Supporting the continuous development of your employees is as beneficial to the organization as it is to the individual. According to the World Economic Forum, 40% of the workforce will require retraining in the near future.  And according to a Gartner report, we’re seeing a 10% annual increase in the skills required to perform one job. 
Organizations that fail to effectively address skills gaps will undoubtedly hurt their profits, productivity and ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities. The only viable solution is to increase qualifications from within. Instead of looking outward, we need to look inward and focus on building the skills of our existing talent pool to remain competitive now and in the future.
Read on to find out why internal upskilling is essential to address skills gaps and how it can drive company growth, increase employee retention and improve collaboration across teams.
As the first one? Let’s take a look at what upskilling is and why it’s important.
What is Upskilling?
Upskilling refers to helping employees acquire new and different skills to meet current and future job requirements. It helps people perform better, stay relevant and prepare for new tasks and responsibilities.
People can improve through workshops, mentoring, training, online courses and more. These new skills can cover everything from coding and data analysis to leadership and communication. For VPs of talent management, the key is to identify the skills most important to the organization’s success and provide employees with the training and resources to acquire them.
Every company’s workforce development strategy must include upskilling. Companies can increase performance, retain top talent and stay competitive by investing in employee growth and development.
So why is upskilling important for business growth?
Why is upskilling important for business growth?
Upskilling can significantly affect your bottom line, both directly and indirectly. It will help you reduce skills gaps, increase productivity and support career growth, helping your company stay competitive.
The modern business environment is changing rapidly. Skills that were previously in demand may now be irrelevant. Instead of constantly looking for employees to meet current needs, upskilling allows you to develop your workforce to anticipate future needs. This will increase their productivity, morale, engagement and loyalty.
In addition, when people acquire new skills, it helps them work faster and better, increasing the company’s productivity. Upskilling can help employees take on new roles and responsibilities, increase job satisfaction and motivation.
Another advantage of upskilling is the support of employee growth in line with the growth of the organization. This is because employees who see a clear path to growth and development are more likely to stay with the company.
While organizations that prioritize upskilling will have the upper hand, it is important to note that many organizations still use the traditional top-down method of training employees that has been popular for decades. Read on to find out why this needs to change.
Why top-down training won’t close skills gaps
Top-down training, where management selects and enforces training topics, has been common in many organizations for decades. But today, this traditional approach to employee development simply can’t close skills gaps fast enough.
To remain competitive, organizations must upskill their workforce faster than ever. Unfortunately, traditional training programs can take too long to create and implement, and skills gaps remain unaddressed. In addition, leadership training programs are often generic and do not meet the needs of employees. Without employee participation, these programs can disengage and demotivate.
Instead, organizations must engage professionals and students to collaborate with each other to learn and adapt. With this approach in mind, students shape the training agenda, resulting in higher engagement and rapid and continuous upskilling for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of collaborative learning for upskilling from within.
4 benefits of upskilling from within through collaborative learning
Companies can fill skills gaps and grow by upskilling employees through collaborative learning. Here are 4 benefits of this bottom-up approach to learning.
1. Better engagement and retention
When employees have a say in their learning and development, they are more engaged. Employee retention increases through employee-driven collaboration and upskilling. Research has found that engaged employees are 21% more profitable and 17% more productive than disengaged employees. 
2. Increased agility and adaptability
In a rapidly changing business environment, organizations must be agile and adaptable. Organizations can quickly adapt to market, technology and industry trends through employee-driven collaboration and upskilling. Employees can quickly upskill to meet new demands and identify the skills they need to succeed.
3. Better alignment with business goals
Each employee’s learning needs will be relevant to their current job and future company goals in one way or another. With employee-driven upskilling, you’ll have better alignment between training and business goals. As a result, you’ll facilitate your company’s growth by aligning upskilling initiatives with business goals.
4. Improved collaboration and knowledge sharing
Employee-led collaboration and upskilling encourages knowledge sharing and collaboration. In-house experts and colleagues can learn from each other and foster a sense of camaraderie. A continuous culture of learning and development, in turn, leads to a more qualified and informed workforce.
2 success stories to help you get started
Now that you have seen the advantages of upskilling and the disadvantages of traditional training methods, let’s look at real examples of companies that have successfully upskilled their employees from within.
AlphaSights, a global on-demand knowledge company, has doubled in size and expanded its training by creating its own courses. The company invited its internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to create training using the authoring tool and work with colleagues to become co-authors.
AlphaSights used a bold upskilling strategy to turn to the experts who know their learning needs best – their employees – and bring them into the course creation process using 360Learning. With the help of an easy-to-use authoring tool, SMEs from various departments such as engineering or business have turned their knowledge into eLearning courses. The training content immediately became more specific, relevant and engaging.
Eventually, the company mobilized more than 300 employees—27% of its workforce—to become course authors and share their knowledge.
ConnectWise, an IT solutions provider, has empowered its help desk technicians and new hires to learn on the go and stay abreast of industry developments. ConnectWise created training programs that required less time away from vital tasks and filled key skills gaps.
The biggest challenge for ConnectWise was creating training that was more tailored to their industry. The company used the 360Learning platform to reduce onboarding time for new hires by helping them learn in their workflow.
The first step for ConnectWise was to collect all of its training materials on a centralized platform so that students could find the learning they needed without wasting time. Thanks to the new technology, the L&D team spent far less time on administrative tasks and was able to build, update and deliver training at the point of need. As a result, they reduced course development and delivery time from one to two months to one to two weeks.
With inspiration from two leading organizations brought together, how can you start your own professional development program? Follow these 5 steps to success.
5 steps to a successful professional development program
Once you understand the importance of upskilling and its potential benefits to your organization, the next step is to implement an effective program. This 5-step framework can help your professional development program succeed.
1. Identify skill gaps
Identifying the skills and competencies of your employees is essential before increasing them. This requires a thorough analysis of your company’s current and future needs and an understanding of the skills and knowledge of your employees.
2. Develop educational pathways
Once you identify their skills and competencies, you can create learning paths for your employees. Over time, educational pathways build specific skills and knowledge.
3. Use internal experts
Using internal experts is one of the best ways to upskill your workforce. These employees can share their expertise in specific areas, making the content more relevant and credible. Your in-house or subject matter experts will be in high demand, so be sure to put a process in place; for example, using your Learning Management System (LMS) to make it as easy as possible for experts to share their knowledge.
4. Encourage continuous learning
Scheduled training sessions are great for bringing students together, but they don’t allow you to train in the flow of work, or in other words, when employees are facing problems and challenges that need to be solved at a specific moment. . That’s why it’s so important to give students the opportunity to declare their learning needs in real time and encourage professionals to help fill those needs quickly and efficiently by sharing their expertise through online courses.
5. Evaluate your professional development program to improve over time
To make sure your skill development program is working, measure its results. This may include tracking employee performance metrics, conducting surveys to gather feedback, and analyzing the return on investment of your skill development program.
By following these steps, you can create an effective upskilling program that will help your organization close skills gaps, increase productivity and grow.
Upskill The Right Way
Whether it’s employee, customer or partner growth, upskilling from within gives you a certain chance of success. Gather your professional development needs from in-house subject matter experts who can create courses, coach students and contribute to academies. This way you save time, reduce costs and keep your training relevant. Watch a 360Learning demo to learn how to future-proof your workforce by upskilling from within.
 Future of Jobs Report 2020
 Gartner HR Research found that 58% of employees will need new skill sets to successfully perform their jobs
 10 up-to-date statistics about the connection between employee engagement and health