Upskilling employees in the IT sector: A strategic approach

July 8, 2022

As skill gaps continue to be a rising problem in a rapidly developing IT sector, it’s time to embark on an upskilling revolution. Learning and development professionals need to approach skilling strategically in order to fulfill demands of the industry. To make this happen, learning and development needs to focus on skill development while making learning fun and engaging. Also, technology needs to be leveraged to allow for easy skill building.

According to the World Economic Forum more than half of all employees around the world need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to keep up with the changing nature of jobs. Chances are today’s workforce has been given at least one opportunity to upskill for their current or new role. Skilling can not only help employees keep themselves updated with the current trends but also add to the growth of the organizations.

As per a NASSCOM report, digital skills like AI/ML, Low Code Development and Cybersecurity are expected to become base skills by 2030. The same study estimates that India has a tech talent demand-supply gap of 21.1%. There is an urgent need to upskill to close this gap.

How should learning and development professionals approach upskilling IT employees strategically? Let’s understand.

How to approach upskilling employees in the IT sector

Focus on skills

When choosing your learning and development tools, it’s important to focus on it being an all-rounded learning solution verses only looking at the cost optimization. As learning and development professionals, you need to treat skilling as a business investment not an expense. Skilling is an asset that will drive profits for years to come.

Upskilling prevents employees from becoming obsolete and helps them be more relevant in the industry. It also helps them be agile at a time when lines between different job roles are blurring.

Here’s one way to illustrate the need to upskill employees amidst the Great Reshuffle. According to the Association for Talent Development upskilling an existing employee costs $1,300. Compared that to the average recruitment cost of $4,425 to hire a new candidate. The difference is stark!

Building skills, especially IT skills is more important than ever in today’s time. Learning and development professionals must take it upon themselves to skill their employees or stand to lose both their employees and profits.

Make learning fun and engaging

Corporate training programs spend too much time on e-modules and online workshops. While no doubt online sessions are an integral part of upskilling, not every aspect of learning has to be spent watching screens passively. It’s time to bring the joy back to learning.

Many studies have proved that knowledge transfer with your peers is one of the best forms of learning. Discussions with our fellow learners has a lot of merit in learning and development. Leveraging the power of social learning can boost understanding and retention, making it an effective tool in learning and development.

Another way to make learning more engaging is through gamification learning. Gamification is how the new generation speaks and it translates well to learning and development. The rewards and recognition at every stage in gamified learning helps navigate the learning curve effectively. Even better is being able to share them as badges and certificates on social media.

Microlearning can also be a great approach to upskilling. Breaking down the content into bite-sized portions makes it easily consumable. This way the learner gets feedback after short modules and can align their learning strategy as they go along instead of waiting for the end of the course. Short bursts of learning make for easier compliance. With microlearning, course completion rates will be much higher.

Leverage technology

The market is filled with many learning and development solutions. It is crucial to pick the right tool for your corporate training programs. Find one that blends seamlessly with your existing systems.

Use tech labs that allow your learners to practice challenges that mirror real-life problems. This will help them get hands-on learning so they can be better prepared for your production environment. An immersive experience like this will enable your employees to pick up the necessary skills.

Taking assessments will help monitor the skill growth of your employees. Invest in an integrated assessments solution to evaluate the core competencies of your workforce. These domain-specific evaluations are meant to check your employees’ suitability for a job role and the need to upskill.

Offer mentoring programs

Set up a mentorship program for your learners where they can be mentored and guided by industry veterans. Having mentors can make the learners accountable for the upskilling courses. This mentorship can also give the employees a roadmap for their professional development. Mentoring can raise the aspirations of the learners and make them more open to upskilling.

As per Gallup, the No. 1 reason employees change jobs is in hope of career growth opportunities. Building a pathway to relevant skills and career growth can increase engagement and retention. So upskilling IT talent is not to be taken lightly.

But it’s rather daunting to build a platform where all these verticals can be accessed together. This is where Techademy comes in, offering an integrated solution to all your skilling needs. Its Learning Experience Platform is built to scale to take care of your learning and development strategy. Techademy also offers virtual tech labs that mimic the real-life tech problems. Learners can upskill and practice safely using live-virtual sandbox labs. Another great offering is mentorship for all the learners. Mentors are available on demand when learners hit a roadblock in their learning process. Learners can access the combined knowledge of the industry veterans.

To learn more about how Techademy can help you with a customized skilling solution for your IT workforce, ask us for a free consultation.

About Techademy

The accelerated pace at which businesses are rushing toward digitization has primarily established that digital skills are an enabler. It has also established the ever-changing nature of digital skills, and created a need for continuous digital upskilling and reskilling to protect the workforce from becoming obsolete.

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