The Importance of Upskilling in Challenging Times

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If you have been able to work from home during these challenging times, count yourself lucky! Drastic halts and slowdowns in the business arena have quickly necessitated action to keep businesses afloat. Many industries have taken drastic measures during this global pandemic that have resulted in Covid-19 layoffs, furloughs, and hiring freezes. Some of the industries that have been worst affected include, but are not limited to, hospitality, oil and gas, airlines, transportation, and manufacturing.

The constantly changing restrictions on the movement of people and business operations leave us in a time of great uncertainty and it’s very hard to predict how things will change in the coming months and years. The best you can do is attempt to anticipate what is likely to happen next and begin to tactfully plan your next move.

Cloud computing is one area of business that has seen a surge in popularity and demand during the pandemic. Indeed, businesses have seen great value in moving to a cloud computing model for increased agility, cost optimization, and scalability. One of the limiting factors for the migration to the cloud has been a lack of skills.

The good news is this means there will be lots of job opportunities for skilled AWS cloud practitioners and great value to be gained by companies who invest in AWS training. There was never a better time to start upskilling and preparing for the abundance of digital transformation and cloud computing opportunities that companies and individuals can benefit from over the coming years.

What Is Upskilling?

By definition, upskilling is the training that helps an individual become better at the job they are already doing. Upskilling helps employees acquire new skills that make them adaptable forces that can bend and shift with any new changes in your industry.

Companies often invest in upskilling to boost productivity and ensure their employees are up to date with the latest developments and industry trends. Through upskilling, employees are also able to fill skill gaps or take on managerial roles within the company when presented with the opportunity.

By upskilling in these challenging times, employees will have a greater wealth of knowledge and understanding and will be in a better position to react to whatever your industry and the modern market demands. This allows employers to leverage their skills and carry their organizations across murky waters.

In relation to cloud computing upskilling may involve training your developers with the skills to implement development pipelines on AWS, teaching your SysOps staff the skills for operating and managing infrastructure and applications in the AWS cloud, or upskilling your solutions architects with AWS Solutions Architect skills. It’s not about changing their role within the business but giving them the necessary skills to transition to a cloud first or hybrid operating model.

Benefits of Upskilling

Upskilling comes with a plethora of benefits. These include:

Upskilling Forms Confident Teams

To sail through the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations across the globe need confident teams. According to experts, upskilling is one of the best ways to boost employees’ confidence at work. This, however, doesn’t mean that employers should invest in training just to make their staff feel better about themselves. By creating confident teams, they will have employees who can speak up whenever they have exciting ideas. Additionally, there are high chances that upskilling employees will make them proactive, and they will be able to identify solutions before problems become a crisis.

Using upskilling to boost confidence is particularly critical for those employees who might feel unseen. For instance, hiring a seasoned digital cloud training professional to offer AWS training to your IT team will make these individuals who are often “unseen” become more confident and use their innovative minds to contribute to business growth.

Upskilling Boosts Productivity

Now that the pandemic has forced companies to create remote teams, productivity has become a major concern. One of the best ways employers can enhance the productivity of their work from home teams is through upskilling. Upskilling enables employees to come up with fresh ideas and solutions, undertake more challenging tasks, and do more in less time.

Studies show that eight out of ten employees report that upskilling has made them more productive. Through upskilling during these challenging times, every member of your staff will be able to contribute more to your team’s successes. Higher productivity means better results, and better results suggest happier and more engaged teams.

Upskilling Makes Changes within an Organization Easier to Handle

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown everyone that an unexpected event can disturb peace in the workplace. While no one can always predict changes, employers can prepare for them and adjust as they come. Upskilling is one of the best ways of preparing for change and ensuring that employees adjust to it in no time.

Upskilling Leads to Increased Customer Satisfaction

Your customers are at the core of your business. To ensure customers are happy, organizations must prioritize the happiness of their employees. Providing learning and development opportunities helps your team feel engaged and motivated in their roles, and this means they provide better services to your clients.

Upskilling during this new normal will keep your team up to date on relevant industry trends, recommendations, and insights – and this will provide optimum value to customer experience. With a highly skilled and well-rounded team, you will find that every member of the team has a better understanding of who your customers are and how they can tailor their roles around them.

Upskilling creates a culture of learning

If your business supports training and development during these trying times, then it will undoubtedly foster a culture of active learning even after the pandemic. In such an environment, employees will seek to upskill on their own initiative, and this will encourage continual learning instead of annual training sessions. Ultimately, your company will be more responsive and ready for today’s ever-changing employment landscape.

Steps to Effective Upskilling in Challenging Times

To make sure that your organization thrives after the pandemic, you can follow some steps to enhance your workforce skills. They include:

  1. Identify The Skills Your Business Recovery Model Depends On

As your organization decides on the methods that will shore up its future, you need to map out the skill pools that will disproportionally affect and drive it forward. To succeed in this, you need to rapidly identify crucial employee groups and value drivers.

Try to reimagine how the day-to-day work will change once you enhance the skills of your existing workforce. Then, start upskilling the critical workforce you believe will bring disproportionate value to your adjusted business model. When upskilling, focus your investment on the most important skills, including adaptability and resilience, social and emotional, digital, and higher cognitive skills.

  1. Encourage Collaborative Learning

Having a collaborative learning environment enables upskilling that is seamless and intuitive. Even though individualized learning is crucial, it is important to ensure employees are learning in the flow of work. Make it possible for them to share ideas, and introduce subject matter experts to ensure they are learning from the best.

  1. Act Small, Enjoy A Bigger Impact

Even if you run a company with 5,000 employees, try to act like a small company so that you can realize a bigger impact when upskilling. By doing this, you will make bold moves more rapidly since you will not be forced to shift around large groups to try a novice idea.

Acting small also allows your organization to have a clearer view of skill deficiencies so that it can prioritize the gaps they require to address and select the right candidates for upskilling. This doesn’t mean that organizations that choose to go big cannot be agile when it comes to upskilling, just that it can be more challenging for them.

  1. Protect Your Employee-Training Budget

Even though this pandemic has reduced your income, and your business profits are slowly shrinking, do whatever you can to protect your training budget. You might think that you are netting a saving when you cut the training budget, but in reality, you will be delaying a lucrative investment. It’s worth noting that this crisis will require a larger skill shift than any other financial crisis in history. Therefore, use your training budget to make upskilling a key strategic level for adapting to the new normal.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, the concept of upskilling has been gaining traction long before the pandemic. As businesses look towards a post-pandemic future, you should focus on offering learning and development opportunities, or you risk staying behind in this ever-competitive arena. Additionally, there is no better time than now to leverage the flexible working hours prompted by the pandemic to offer an opportunity for your staff to boost their skills. This will help your business excel now and in the future.

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