Why You Should Upskill Your Workforce

This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.

If you’re struggling to find talent, you aren’t alone. A top internal concern of CEOs around the world is finding talent who can bring the right skills into play at work. With the half-life of skills dwindling, hiring for skills is no longer the most viable solution. Going into 2020, the half-life of learned skills is only five years, and technical skills have an even shorter life expectancy.

While this seems bleak, there is a silver lining: With learned skills bringing less to the table, you can focus on finding talent with a knack for learning. 

Doing so brings out another responsibility. Unskilled labor offers huge potential, but you have to build skills training into your organization’s culture. As a startup, you have an advantage in being able to build a learning infrastructure from the ground up. 

If you want to have a competitive edge, upskilling your workforce has to be a priority. Here’s how you can support a culture of learning at your startup.

Dedicate Resources to Learning

It can be difficult for a startup or small business to dedicate resources to an HR team, but it is an important priority. A dedicated HR professional can identify potential problems in the workforce before they occur. For example, the first step in upskilling is running a needs assessment to determine what skills you need to prioritize, says Katy Caselli, founder and president of Building Giants LLC.

“Understanding how to do a good evaluation is really critical in any organization,” she says. “Consider assigning someone to learning about needs assessments, training and development.” Some ways to train the trainer include sending a dedicated individual to accrue knowledge through conferences or other professional development channels. Knowing how to identify learning opportunities and how to increase training effectiveness is critical to establishing a successful upskilling program.

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