The Future of Work: Upskilling to Meet your Changing Challenges

The marketplace, your competition, and your products are constantly and rapidly evolving, which drives significant change to the very nature of what your employees will be doing day-to-day in the coming months and years.

Ignoring these impending changes or trying to hire your way out of them is really not an option, particularly if you manage a large, distributed workforce of specialized and skilled employees. In fact, most companies are generally leaning more on upskilling and reskilling their teams instead of just trying to hire more people with the requisite new skills. And the upskilling trend has ramped up since the pandemic with 42% of companies increasing efforts to provide their employees with new skills.

The Question is How–not if–to Upskill

The appeal of upskilling is apparent: both employees and the companies they work for enjoy very clear productivity boosts when they are provided the tools to learn new skills. Further, according to a 2020 PwC survey, 41% of corporate leaders reported that upskilling programs strengthened their corporate cultures and helped to keep their employees engaged. That same survey reported that CEOs whose companies had implemented more advanced upskilling programs were much more confident about the future growth of their organization over the next twelve months.

How you manage this upskilling transformation will make all of the difference in how much you really experience the increased flexibility and productivity of your workforce.

Whether rolling out a new software system to pharmacy techs or providing new tools and techniques to fleet mechanics in distribution centers, the key to successful upskilling is to tightly and naturally integrate learning and work together.

All of the Benefits Without the Downtime

Too often, upskilling involves sending workers away to sit in a conference room somewhere with a professional trainer for several days. Alternatively, some companies do provide virtual training that employees are asked to complete on their own time. Both scenarios certainly have their advantages for particular kinds of skill training, but every minute a field worker is out of the field is a minute spent away from the important job that he or she has been hired to do.

To minimize downtime from the mission-critical work, corporate training and human resource leaders must consider ways to integrate the necessary skill training and information sharing into the natural, daily workflow of workers on distributed teams.

For example, it is possible to deliver training through mobile and wearable devices. These virtually omnipresent devices may be able to provide upskilling in small increments, to serve up information in response to contextual cues such as running into problems or answering questions, and to provide accountability to managers and compliance teams who must have documentation of training completion and comprehension.

This kind of integration can lighten the load of learning while exposing teams to innovative, engaging, and digestible training throughout the workday. Not only does it allow remote workers to stay on the job, integrated learning may actually improve the learning process by being delivered in the worker’s natural environment and context, boosting accessibility to and recall of the information being taught.

Integrated Learning for Real Flexibility

One of the clear goals of upskilling is to increase employee job flexibility–enabling each worker to take on new and different tasks and to backfill for other critical roles. Traditional upskilling takes the employee out of her normal context and off of the job, which actually undermines the main goal of flexibility, at least for a time. And if upskilling really becomes an ongoing proposition for your skilled workers, then you may not ever fully appreciate the benefit of increased flexibility if you have to continuously remove them from their work to train them.

Instead, by integrating the introduction of new materials and skills into the worker’s daily workflow, you can ensure that the work continues to get done and the company continues to function–all while the employee is constantly and consistently gaining new skills and additional flexibility for the future.

Satisfaction of a Job Done Right

Providing ways for your remote workforce to learn new skills and manage new information is vital to the future success of your organization. Upskilling is a very important aspect of keeping your specialized workforce relevant under the pressures of innovation and competition. And since 66% of employees ranked learning new things and developing new skills as a major motivator for them and 80% say that upskilling boosts their confidence, getting upskilling right is a vital part of minimizing your turnover, and ensuring that you remain an employer of choice.

But, are you doing it the right way? The nature and size of your upskilling investment demands accountability. Management needs to be sure that the knowledge is being received, understood, retained, and applied in the field. Compliance functions also may need the training to contribute to documentation and certification of specific employees.

To know whether or not your upskilling investment is paying off, you need to be able to collect and analyze feedback from employees as they receive and apply the training. This is just another way that integrating your training efforts into existing and necessary workflows is important to fully realizing the benefits of any upskilling initiatives. Without that integration, you are left to assume or rely on disconnected and out of context feedback, giving you a less than accurate picture of the impact.

To learn how DaVinix can help you integrate your skills training and information management into your remote workers’ natural workflows visit