As you’re making plans for your budget and staff in 2024, consider where upskilling could strengthen your workforce.
Planning for the new year should include evaluating the needs of your business and your employees for company growth. The job market will be even more competitive in 2024. Employers must invest in employees to develop their skills to retain the best and the brightest, while being an employer of choice to prospective workers.
Training ensures your employees remain up-to-date on advancements in the field and perform their jobs more efficiently, while improving productivity and overall job satisfaction. Individuals in the market need to master the skill sets for the jobs they’re seeking and possess the ability to learn something new.
Training is important for keeping your workforce productive. IBM research found that employees’ learned skills have a half-life of five years, with more technical skills at two and a half years. Some skills aren’t used regularly, while others may become obsolete with continued technological advances.
Businesses that invest in employee training enjoy 11 percent greater profitability, according to engagement consultant Seismic.com.
If you decide your workforce could benefit from upskilling and you have the budget for it, there are several things to consider:
- What kind of training do you need to do?
- How are you going to deliver the training: through workshops, coaching or mentoring, face-to-face or virtually?
- Who will you be training?
- Will the sessions be for large groups, small groups or individuals?
- What is the format and how do you choose the appropriate material for the training?
The state of Massachusetts is investing in its employees to retain and attract people to work in its municipalities. Local 509 Service Employees International Union, which represents human service, educational and public safety employees in Massachusetts, retained Quinsigamond Community College to offer a pilot program of training workshops to its members. One of my roles is as an adjunct professor at QCC, where I’m the facilitator for these workshops, which began in September. If the pilot program is successful, the workshops will continue to be rolled out in 2024. So far, the feedback about the workshops has been exceptional.
The workshop topics cover:
- Emotional intelligence
- Introduction to leadership
- Developing positive assertiveness
- Effective communication
- Crisis management.
One of my clients is investing in its employees by providing four training modules to its managers and supervisors. The company has hired me to facilitate workshops on performance management and disciplinary write-ups.
Barriers to gaining new skills
Skills development, however, is facing barriers in many companies. A 2023 survey sponsored by DeVry University and conducted by Reputation Leaders found that while 80 percent of organizations offer upskilling to their employees, only about half of employees take advantage of the benefits. And fewer women and people of color reported having access to and using skills development opportunities than men and white workers, according to the survey.
The survey also found that employers and employees don’t agree on which skills are most important. Employees believe they should learn such technical skills as AI and software engineering/coding, but employers place more emphasis on softer skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership. The report said there is a crossover of these priorities that both employers and employees should consider in upskilling.
Lack of time also was cited by the more than 1,500 American workers who were surveyed. Many said they don’t have time for training during work hours.
Don’t create unnecessary barriers for your employees to access training for their skills development. Ensure that women and people of color have equal opportunities for upskilling. Communicate the importance of training to your managers, so they can encourage employee participation. You may want to reach out to a professional, like me, who can help you meet your skills development needs.
If you would like advice on training and upskilling your employees, contact Melody L. Beach Consulting Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
50+ Job Seekers workshops
The 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group’s workshops are free and virtual on Zoom, with some held in person.
Upcoming workshops are:
- Thursday, Nov. 16, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: “Ask the HR Experts,” with Cheryl Gelzer Alexis and me.
Join us for a virtual, open forum to get your HR questions answered. Whether you are generally curious about how HR departments work or are currently employed and seeking direction on the next steps to take for a specific situation, we are here to help.
Cheryl Gelzer Alexis has managed Learning & Development initiatives for MassHire South Shore Career Center. Cheryl has over 25 years’ experience working in Human Resources for Harvard University and several Fortune 500 corporations.
I founded Melody L. Beach Consulting Group, which provides human resources services to small- and medium-sized companies and transitional coaching for individuals looking to make a change.
- Monday, Nov. 20, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Interview Practice with Ed Lawrence.
For good or bad, first impressions matter. When interviewing you need to put your best foot forward, and that takes practice.
- Do you have an interview coming up?
- Do you know how to respond to behavioral questions?
- Do you need suggestions on how to address gaps in employment?
Please join us on Zoom for answers to your questions and learn how to respond to a variety of questions that may be presented to you during an interview.
- Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: “Assessing the Market,” in-person at the Natick Community-Senior Center with Ed Lawrence.
- Are you planning on staying in the same role and industry and wonder what the demand is for your expertise?
- Are you changing careers and need information on required training for your desired role?
- Are you unsure what’s next and wonder what the hot jobs in your area are?
- Do you have an interview coming up and don’t have any idea what the salary range in your area is?
Join us as we discuss labor market information (LMI) and show you where to find the information you need.
Why you need to know about this: Knowing the market can help you make informed decisions in planning the next steps in your career and give you the edge you need in employer discussions.
Register by 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20. The program is limited to the first 20 reservations.
The Natick Community-Senior Center is at 117 East Central St. in Natick.
- Tuesday, Nov. 28, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: “Networking and Concise Introductions.”
Did you know that 80 percent of all job searches are done online? But 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking.
Networking is critical for your job search. Yet, most people fear networking. Let’s overcome that fear.
Join us as we review the principles of networking and discuss how to introduce yourself at networking events and convey your interests concisely.
Why you need to know about this: You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. Whether you’re at a networking event or a job interview, how you present yourself can have a major impact on the relationship.
- Tuesday, Dec. 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: G2G (Give to Get)
G2G is an open forum for Q&A, breakouts to discuss your job search questions, and plenty of time to network and connect with fellow 50+ job seekers. Every attendee’s name will be placed on the Wheel of Names. You could win a free coaching session in this Zoom meeting.
Laughing All The Way….Comedy Fundraiser
Reach out by text or email
Contact me by downloading my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or emailing me at email@example.com.