Over the past few years we have heard the term “upskilling” more and more in the technology talent market. With demand outpacing supply in the talent pool many companies believe the best bet for meeting hiring needs is to train from within creating development opportunities for their existing employee base and opening up roles they believe they have a better chance of filling in the marketplace.
- Amazon provides multiple upskill tracks – budgeting approximately $700M to retrain almost 100,000 US based employees – a number that represents about one third of their workforce. Amazon hopes to prepare them for higher level jobs in areas such as data science, business analysis and security to meet their growing demand for talent in those spaces.
- In 2018 Accenture pledged $200M in partnership with multiple non-profits to help provide training and education for the next generation of employees to succeed in the increasingly digital workplace.
- AT&T has earmarked $1B to upskill half of their workforce for new and emerging roles. They believe it is the best way to meet the demands of the changing workplace while maintaining critical institutional knowledge.
Small companies can learn from this as well. Evaluating opportunities to train your existing IT staff and expose them to emerging technologies can be critical to continued success. Technology professionals enjoy working with current technology while having the opportunity to evaluate new technology. Working with outdated tech is a reason we often hear when someone is looking for a new opportunity. Some ways you can “upskill” your team and promote retention include:
- Online Training – The quality and quantity of online training has grown hand in hand with the digital transformation. It is easier and more cost effective than ever to have your team take courses online that will have a direct benefit to your company.
- Conferences/Trade Shows – Similar to training you should be able to find a technology trade show that aligns closely to your industry. Spending a few days with like minded technology folks from around the country is a great way to keep up to speed with the industry and what technology your competitors are using.
- Credentials – Having your staff certified in the core products your company is using is a great way to be sure they keep up with changes that will directly impact your business.
There are other things you can do as well – from networking in person and online, to following innovators in your space to putting aside time every week to read relevant tech news and blogs. Letting your staff know that this is encouraged as part of their professional growth and that they should budget some time for it each week is a simple way to keep them innovating on behalf of your company.