Upskill your workforce

23 June 2021

Upskill your workforce

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Part 1: Leveraging quality management systems to upskill your workforce

If there was ever a time to upskill your workforce, it's now. As we emerge from the pandemic and consider how to build back stronger and more resilient, companies need to establish talent strategies that strengthen employees’ core cognitive capabilities, emotional and social skills, and their digital and analytics abilities.

Developing these skills will not only strengthen companies' resilience in the face of future disruption, but it will also address an increasingly evident problem: the widening skills gap between what employers need their employees to do, and what their employers can actually do.

  • 79% of CEOs say a lack of key skills is threatening the future growth of their organisation.
  • 94% of business leaders now expect employees to learn new skills on the job – a sharp increase from 65% in 2018.
  • Employers expect to offer reskilling and upskilling to over 70% of their employees by 2025.

The problem is an incredibly high proportion of retiring workers who will leave their role without passing on the required knowledge to perform these roles to an acceptable standard.  A recent survey found 57% of baby boomers believe they have shared less than half of the knowledge needed to perform their job responsibilities with the colleagues who will assume those requirements on their retirement.

Compounding this is the challenge that all organisations face of retaining 'job-hopping' millennials: a generation in which 6 out of 10 people are open to new work at any time. Millennials are the generation most likely to switch jobs, leaving their company with the high cost of interviewing, hiring and training a new employee. This job restlessness is only set to increase with Gen Z entering the workforce, compounded by the attractive increase in remote working opportunities.

Employees with high productivity and great morale can be hard to find, and competitive organisations understand the benefits of retaining them.

The financial pain of losing an employee can be alleviated by investing in existing employees to keep them engaged and retain them within the organisation. As such, the ability to upskill your workforce has many benefits:

  • More engaged employees
  •  Lower turnover
  • Reduced cost

Why is upskilling important?

Upskilling refers to the process of acquiring new and relevant competencies, such as analytical skills, digital skills and organisational transformation skills. It is aimed at workers who are already in stable and thriving fields, but who need extra training to advance in their existing company, or perhaps to remain relevant.

Upskilling programs are increasingly broadening from on-site training, full-length courses and conferences to bite-sized, accessible digital learning.

Many organisations recognise the benefits already: in McKinsey’s most recent global survey, they found that most respondents reported skill building to be the best way to close the skills gap, more so than hiring, contracting or redploying employees. Sixty-nine percent of respondents also reported that they have doubled down on their efforts to reskill or upskill employees since the pandemic began.

However, many business leaders are finding that their existing upskilling efforts are not fit for purpose and do not provide the ROI that they would like.

So, how can organisations address this growing issue and upskill their workforce?

The first step is to understand, manage and capitalise on the knowledge that is already within the organisation. Learning more about the skillset of the older generation can help ensure you don’t lose out on their insights from years in the industry.

A common problem is that business functions operate in siloes, so the knowledge of experienced employees is not always shared with those that will fill their role in the future.

Learning how to distribute ‘tacit’ knowledge is key, and the answer could be as simple as looking at core management processes, such as document management and knowledge management. Businesses should focus on using technology to demolish siloes and share crucial knowledge and experience through one single source of truth.

Document management vs. Knowledge management

Although often used interchangeably, document management and knowledge management are distinct processes, and understanding their differences is integral to sharing tacit knowledge and upskilling workforces.

What is document management? What is knowledge management?
  • Assumes the user knows what documents are needed
  • Focus is to store and organise information rather than to share
  • Does not address the relevance or usefulness of information
  • Makes documents available across a range of issues within a certain topic
  • Does not assume the user knows what is needed, and guides the user to the correct information
  • Focus is to efficiently deliver the most relevant information quickly
  • Gives priority to useful information rather than just storing historical data

In order to bridge the skills gap, organisations should be prioritising knowledge management and the sharing of crucial information to the next generation.

Leverage your quality management systems

To gain the competitive edge, organisations need to implement a quality management system that integrates document management and knowledge management, providing complete visibility of overall business functions.

Q-Pulse allows you to categorise, centralise and control your upskilling and training information with ease, empowering you with unshakeable control of your documented information in a single source of truth.

With Q-Pulse you can:

  • Record, schedule and manage training records and pathways in a single source of truth
  • Align training and upskilling with your regulatory and compliance demands
  • Monitor ongoing learning
  • Create a training-based culture of learning
  • Guarantee and prove to auditors you have the competent, developed workforce you need.

Next steps

Q-Pulse is an effective tool for capturing and recording existing skills, but it is just the first step. In order to upskill entire workforces, companies should look to create a culture of learning. Equipping employees with the digital tools to empower them to take control of their learning is central to developing this culture. 

Want to learn more about capturing and leveraging the expertise of your workforce through an online learning platform? Our second blog looks at utilising e-learning solutions to upskill your workforce.


Upskill your workforce

Capture and leverage the expertise of your workforce through an online learning platform.

Find out more


Ideagen's Sophie Willink
Written by

Sophie Willink

As Ideagen’s Content Marketing Executive, Sophie produces informative content to provide customers with digestible insights into the world of quality, audit, risk and compliance.

With a background in psychology, Sophie is passionate about understanding human behaviour and the role technology can play in measuring, reporting and improving behaviours to create higher quality business environments.

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