Upskilling your Organization to Increase Engagement and Retention with Expert Instructional Designers

When you hire new employees, you evaluate their prior experience, compare their skills to your needs, and decide to add them to your organization. There is a match between what they offer and what the company needs. But talented individuals are only satisfied in one place for a short time. They seek opportunities to take on increasingly complex challenges, enhance their skills and make a more significant contribution to the organization. Managers must keep these employees engaged and challenged within the company, or it will not be long before they update their resumes and look outside the company for professional fulfillment.  One method for employers to achieve this is through upskilling. The employee isn’t learning an entirely new set of skills; they are strengthening existing skills and adding relevant adjacent skills. It’s like the difference between planting and giving a tree what it needs to strengthen, deepen its roots and grow new branches.   An employee can become a domain expert in a critical area through upskilling, become eligible for promotion, and increase their marketability. You can increase engagement and retention by demonstrating that you value them enough to invest time and money into their professional development through upskilling.  Instructional designers can create a comprehensive upskilling program to give your team the tools they need to succeed on the job and build a long-range career path within your organization. Consultants specializing in designing learning paths bring deep knowledge of the most effective instructional methods to help people learn and retain the material. They will consider what the coursework must cover, why it is relevant, who would be interested, and the desired outcome. 

Benefits of Upskilling in an Organization 

Upskilling is advantageous to both employers and employees. The more employees know about their field and position, the more confident and fulfilled they feel on the job. They’re not just going through the motions; they are experts. When employers help their team members enhance their abilities through upskilling, it results in a more engaged and motivated workforce. It allows individuals at all levels to feel they are working toward a common goal and be more invested in the company’s success.  

Focus your upskilling efforts on the following: 

Building Confidence 

Greater job mastery boosts employee self-esteem and confidence on the job. As a result, they are likely to be more willing to volunteer to take on greater work challenges or projects outside their comfort zone. The confidence they gain can mean they are ready to contribute during meetings, share ideas, and mentor co-workers. Upskilling can help give them this confidence. 

Promoting Engagement and Retention 

Talented people want their careers to grow. They want to move up the ladder and make a larger impact. If they cannot get promoted internally, they will likely seek opportunities outside the company. Upskilling can increase their eligibility for those roles and show the company is willing to invest in its people. Combined with a clear promotion path, upskilling is ideal for building a more engaged workforce that stays for the long haul. 

Motivating Top Talent 

Hiring top talent takes time and effort, which can pay off in terms of your company’s success, but it can all be wasted if they are not inspired by working there. Upskilling gives them the resources they need to keep themselves challenged and motivated and ready to take on new projects that may arise.  

How to Upskill Your Employees 

Upskilling your employees benefits your company and your team, but what best practices in designing learning programs should companies consider to ensure a successful upskilling effort?   

Make Training Available and Accessible to All 

Employees may not be aware of training that is available to them or that they can choose options that mesh with their preferred learning style. Training should also be available in various platforms and formats to ensure it’s widely available and easy to access. In-person, online, and video – synchronous, and asynchronous are just a few options.    

Put Employees in the Driver’s Seat 

Allow employees to take charge of their development. Their managers should work with their direct reports to develop a plan to help them reach their professional goals, but ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the employee. These discussions can also help uncover gaps in the training the company offers.   If employees are asked what kind of training they want, they may ask, “What are my choices?” Asking instead what the employee wants to learn about is an open-ended question that helps the employee receive the training they want and the employer to find options to deliver that training that may interest other employees.   Employee-led training will feel less like a chore and more like a goal with milestones they can reach in their own time. They can focus more energy on the training when they have more free time and back-burner it in crunch times.   

Reward Growth and Effort 

Upskilling is an ongoing journey. There is no true endpoint. Recognize that employees are making time to develop their skills and working on improving themselves. Inform them of real deadlines and clear a path to help them get there. For example, if a promotion opportunity will be available soon, tell them so they can put in extra time. Please don’t wait until they miss the shortlist to mention that completing the training would have made the difference.   Partnering with an instructional design agency can help facilitate this process. They can create a program that considers what training is needed, why, and who needs it. Instructional design experts can then determine the best method of delivering that content and bring the relevant subspecialists on board. For example, if a significant portion of your workforce is remote or prefers independent learning, an online course developer with experience in eLearning design may be the solution to upskilling your employees successfully. 

How Can an Instructional Design Agency Help with Training Employees?

No matter what industry you are in or your role in your company, you have much more on your plate than training. While you play an essential role in the professional development of your employees, an instructional design agency can help create a roadmap. It will provide guideposts for you to follow without being so rigidly structured there is no place for the employee to take ownership.  The instructional design consultants at Clarity Consultants can build interactive eLearning courses to improve employee retention and boost engagement. Why is an instructional design essential to any upskilling effort?    

Better Learning and Engagement 

Because learning is their professional focus, instructional designers have more tools and resources at their disposal. They understand different learning styles and how to inspire and engage different types of employees. They can help you create learning paths for different roles to prepare employees for positions they are interested in advancing toward. Instructional design consultants know more about what delivery options are available and which are the most effective.    

Enhanced Program Quality 

Instructional designers know how to build an ideal learning experience. They set clear objectives and paths to achieving them. They build programs for employees, managers, and the organization as a neutral third party. They will design a program that includes testing to evaluate the progress and assessment of the program.    

Holistic Approach to Learning 

Instructional designers can ensure that learning programs align with your company objectives rather than offering irrelevant, disconnected classes. Courses interest learners, but they should also benefit the company. An ideal learning environment aimed at upskilling employees is best attained by providing consistent opportunities throughout the company and being available to all employees. An instructional design agency can help organizations create this learning experience empowering individuals to take a proactive approach to their own development.    

Control of Spend 

Learning is always a worthwhile investment, but too many companies have outdated or irrelevant content or courses trapped in seldom-used technology such as VCR cassettes. Books or CDs can be scattered throughout the building or lost. Companies that relied on in-person training might be floundering to rethink programs if they shifted to a remote or hybrid work environment. An instructional designer can help create a centralized, updated, relevant, and straightforward program to update as needed.   

Partner with Clarity Consultant to Upskill Your Employees 

Clarity instructional designers will work with you to develop a program that meets your organization’s and employees’ unique needs. Clarity designs learning experiences to keep employees engaged and inspired. Clarity Consultants has more than a quarter-century of experience in instructional design and is trusted by organizations throughout the country. If you are committed to attracting talent and retaining your best people, the team at Clarity Consultants can help develop learning programs that keep people motivated and engaged.  Contact us today to learn more. 

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For over 30 years, we’ve managed projects touching every element of learning and talent development.