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How businesses can scale up upskilling


In the ever-evolving landscape of the Australian workplace, the last half-decade has seen unprecedented shifts, largely catalysed by the global pandemic.

Certain positive trends have emerged amid these transformations, including the widespread adoption of eLearning to empower and upskill workforces. However, this paradigm shift calls for a dynamic response from HR professionals across diverse sectors, including businesses, non-profits, government bodies and educational institutions, ushering in what can aptly be described as a skills revolution.

Whilst the prospect of upskilling employees holds immense promise for enabling organisations to achieve new levels of excellence, a pertinent challenge arises in the face of rapid corporate growth. 

The conundrum lies in the sheer scale of training required to help employees remain at the forefront of their capabilities. With hundreds of learners engaging with dozens of courses simultaneously, the traditional approach to training becomes untenable. 

Organisations should consider adopting a multifaceted strategy that balances scalability, flexibility and efficacy to navigate this obstacle and harness the full potential of upskilling for sustained corporate growth. Here, I outline five key approaches that can pave the way for organisations to thrive in this era of transformative change.

1. Embrace blended learning for scalability

Scaling a training program to align with corporate growth demands an innovative approach. The solution lies in blended learning, a strategy that melds the advantages of online courses with the dynamism of in-person and virtual classroom sessions. By offering self-paced online content supported by regular touchpoints in virtual and physical settings, organisations can support diverse learning preferences while ensuring consistency in knowledge acquisition. They can also foster a sense of community and interaction among employees, which is essential for creating a thriving workplace culture.

2. Foster continuous learning as a cultural norm

The key to sustaining corporate growth through upskilling is cultivating a continuous learning culture. This entails instilling the belief that learning is not merely a sporadic activity confined to training sessions, but a perpetual pursuit woven into the fabric of daily work life. 

Organisations should encourage employees to proactively seek out new skills, offer incentives for further education, and provide access to curated resources that empower independent learning. By transforming upskilling into a natural part of the work routine, businesses can evolve in tandem with industry trends and technological advancements.

3. Personalise learning pathways

Each employee possesses a unique set of skills, interests and aspirations. Recognising this individuality is integral to optimising the effectiveness of upskilling initiatives. Organisations should look to invest in tools and platforms that enable the creation of personalised learning pathways. By tailoring training programs to align with employees’ strengths and ambitions, organisations can foster a sense of ownership over professional development, leading to higher engagement and retention rates. 

This tailored approach enhances skill acquisition and reinforces the notion that the organisation is invested in the holistic growth of all employees.

4. Establish robust metrics for progress evaluation

To ascertain the impact of upskilling efforts on corporate growth, it is crucial to establish comprehensive metrics for measuring progress. These metrics extend beyond the mere completion of courses and delve into the tangible outcomes that upskilling drives, such as improved performance metrics, increased innovation, and enhanced adaptability to market shifts. 

Regularly assessing these indicators allows organisations to fine-tune their upskilling strategies, ensuring that investments yield tangible returns and remain aligned with overarching business goals.

5. Develop training that scales to support growth

Company growth can pose a challenge: with hundreds of learners and dozens of courses running concurrently, training programs can become too large to manage. There are only so many training sessions one person can run weekly. Organisations can move to a blended, self-paced training model to scale a training program, with online courses supported by in-person and virtual classroom sessions.

For example, Colliers Project Leaders, which views the superior skill level of its practitioners as a competitive advantage, focuses on onboarding new practitioners quickly and providing ongoing training to keep all staff at the peak of their profession. Using our learning innovation system, D2L Brightspace, Colliers Project Leaders can train more people and raise skill levels faster, which is critical to maintaining the service quality of a business growing at 15 per cent per year.

The takeaway

The Australian workplace is paradigm-shifting, with upskilling emerging as a linchpin for corporate growth. By embracing blended learning, fostering a culture of continuous learning, personalising learning pathways and establishing robust progress metrics, organisations can navigate the challenges posed by rapid expansion while empowering their workforce to reach peak performance. 

The convergence of technology, strategic thinking and a commitment to employee development holds the key to unlocking unprecedented levels of success in the evolving corporate landscape.

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