Report: 3 ways to help employees learn new skills

In the age of COVID-19, it's essential that companies upskill workers and make training an ongoing practice. Here are the obstacles and solutions for business leaders, according to a new report.

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As the coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies around the globe to reevaluate their workforce, translating into workforce reductions or hiring freezes, it is critical that business leaders adapt to the situation––which means upskilling workers and offering ongoing training to employees. 

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However, the need for this kind of training is not always being met. On Wednesday, Pluralsight released a report that examined the disconnect between 1,500 enterprise technology leaders and learners in the United States and Europe in the way they approached upskilling and remote learning. While 94% of employees surveyed reported that their companies offered training programs, the failure to meet employee needs, the report notes, can threaten company growth. For instance, the report notes that employees with more than a decade of experience under their belt are the least likely to report confidence that they have the skills to be successful at their job in three years.

"Skill development is the lifeblood to innovation and company success … [and] there has never been a time where upskilling has been more important," said Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight, in the press release. "As organizations work to establish new normals around activities such as online learning and remote work, they need to take a strategic approach that delivers customizable content and plans that ensure that both business objectives and employee needs are being fulfilled. By expanding strategic technology upskilling efforts, businesses put themselves in a better position to innovate and compete."

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Here are the top three takeaways from the report:

1. Customize your upskilling programs

Technologists want specific programs to learn skills, but only 23% of business leaders reported that they tailored their program to meet employee needs. Employees younger than 25 use online programs like coding labs, mobile learning, and written material more than those who are older, the report shows, although two-thirds of companies don't provide these opportunities.

2. Give your employees time 

The primary barrier to successful upskilling was a reported lack of time––38% of respondents cited that this was the reason they could not train. American employees fall behind in tech skill development compared with their counterparts abroad, and 60% of US technologists reported that they are forced to learn these skills after hours. But a third (31%) would be willing to do this training if their employers allocated time.
 
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3. Pay workers for their work 

The number one motivator for employees to upskill was compensation, according to the study. Not only did this drive employees to participate in training, but the technologists who were actively training and upskilling also saw the greatest financial benefit. Forty-four percent of technologists received a 10% income boost over the last year, and 23% of technologists experienced an increase of 6-10%, the study reports.

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