Business ResourcesUpskilling: A Two-Pronged Approach

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Emily Schweiss
writes on July 13, 2020

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

― Pablo Picasso

Companies and organizations that prioritize and promote learning for their employees have higher employee engagement and retention. By offering access to education for your team, they will be empowered to continuously grow and transform.  

We recommend a two-pronged approach to fostering growth: Job Expansion and Job Enrichment. Start by providing training required for employees to meet the competencies of their job now while you work with them to develop an understanding of the knowledge they will need in the future.  

Job Expansion

Job Expansion is the addition of tasks while in the same role or at the same level. It is horizontal growth. For example: 

A Graphic Designer learns HTML & CSS  ➜  they can take on web design projects

Work with employees to identify their skill gaps compared to their job duties and upcoming projects. Ask them about areas of interest that might widen the scope of their impact at work. Develop a learning path together that incorporates the skills needed to do the known tasks and projects, as well as growth opportunities. Check in with your employees frequently in one-on-ones and don’t save this discussion for annual reviews.  

Since these new skills are important to their current role, employees are able to put these new skills to work immediately, reinforcing their learning. The organization will also quickly see an impact from their investment in their team.

Job Enrichment

Job Enrichment is the opportunity for promotion. It is vertical growth. For example:

A Technical Support Analyst learns PHP  ➜  they are promoted into a Junior Developer position

As we mentioned before, you should discuss career goals with employees to identify pathways that benefit the organization while they work to meet their objectives. Use this information to make progression plans for different career pathways to give your employees a roadmap to success.  

Ideally, your HR team will have also mapped out competencies required for each role within your organization. This is an important and useful tool that lets employees know where to focus their learning efforts to reach their career goals with your company. Transparency in the skills required to level up makes for a more equitable process. 

Tie in a mentorship program allowing support for your more junior employees and an opportunity to practice and prove leadership skills for your more senior employees. 

Leveraging the Treehouse Curriculum

Once the skills needed have been identified, work with the Customer Success team here at Treehouse to build a custom track for each member of your team. If you have a group of folx working towards a similar learning goal, consider coupling a custom track with Compass, our assessment tool, to tailor training to each individual and shorten training time.

Investing in your employees adds value that is ongoing for both the individual and the organization. A culture of learning starts at the top, with senior leaders setting the example and allowing their direct reports the time to attend and apply training. By giving team members an opportunity to challenge themselves and grow within the company, you will increase retention while upping their effectiveness and productivity.

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