5 Important Upskilling Tips for Public Sector Employers

For many organizations, the word upskilling is frightening. As organizations grow and technology becomes smarter, we have to find ways to train our current employees on higher-level skills that can't be as easily automated or consolidated. Today's article will go over what upskilling is and some tips on how to make it happen at your organization.

What Exactly Is Upskilling?

Before we dive into how to upskill, let's start with the basics: what is upskilling? Upskilling is the act of teaching employees new and interesting skills within their department or field. As public sector employees grow with the organization, their jobs and duties change. New technology, skills and methodologies arise. It can be hard to keep up with all of the changes while tackling day-to-day career work. The best organizations leave room for upskilling so staff can keep up with change and increase organizational performance.

How Is Upskilling Different Than Reskilling?

Reskilling is all about the work you need to do to move employees into a different or adjacent job. When you reskill workers, you take them out of their current position and train them to do something else. As employees move to different roles or departments in the public sector, they may do both upskilling and reskilling to prepare for career moves.

What Are The Benefits of Upskilling the Public Sector?

There are several benefits to upskilling in the public sector. A few highlights are below:

  1. Upskilling improves retention. Employees want to work at an organization that takes the time to understand and invest in the educational needs of their employees.
  2. Attracting the right talent. If you want to attract great employees, let potential staff members know that you invest in your employees.
  3. Upskilling improves constituent satisfaction. When your employees know better, they do better. Your team can serve constituents better with all the knowledge they are gaining from their education.

5 Tips for Upskilling Your Public Sector Workforce

Here are some tips and strategies that can help you take the next steps in your upskilling journey.

1. Think About Future Workplace Trends

The workforce has changed a ton over the last couple of years. The advancement of automation at work and the current pandemic have been huge talking points when it comes to the workplace. One of the first steps to upskilling the workforce is to take a look at current and future workplace trends. What's happening at work, and what do we need to be prepared for? As you are working with employees and developing a workforce training plan, you must keep these trends in the back of your mind.

2. Develop Learning Plans With Each Worker

Learning plans are essential to an actionable upskilling effort. When developing a learning plan for employees, you can attach S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals to each plan. Talk with each employee about the trends you see and how they see themselves fitting into the equation. What excites them about the workplace trends you've uncovered? Where do they want to spend their learning time?

3. Provide Interesting Opportunities for Public Sector Employees

Outside of personal development plans, you can provide more interesting learning opportunities to all of your employees. It's always great to spend time learning as a group because different employees will find value in various parts of a presentation or mentorship experience. Consider taking notes and having group discussions on the material you learned to make this tip more successful.

Here are some learning opportunities you might want to provide employees:

  • Conferences
  • Lunch and Learns
  • Seminars
  • Virtual/Online Learning
  • Mentorships

4. Give Employees Time to Learn at Work

If you want your upskilling plan to work, you have to give employees some time within work hours to move this goal forward. Hopefully, your plan with upskilling is to teach employees new things, so they stay within your organization for a longer period. By investing in the growth of your employees, you increase employee retention and create a culture of continuous learning.

5. Learn From Other Organizations

You are not the only organization dealing with upskilling and reskilling issues. In fact, organizations inside and outside the public sector are workforce planning to see what their team should look like in the next few years and even decades. Work with other public sector leaders in your area to see how they are planning for the future of work. By working together, you can share resources and learn more about how to set up your workplace for future success.

Take Employee Upskilling One Step at a Time

It's easy to get wrapped up in all the things you should be doing to prepare your team for the future of work. We want to make progress and keep our team growing, but day-to-day operations still need to be handled. Find a happy medium of activities that your employees can do while maintaining operations within your public sector organization.

Melissa Asher

With over 24 years of experience in human resources, specializing in training and development, test administration, and recruitment, Melissa brings a wealth of practical expertise to her Senior Leader role. As a hands-on leader, she is responsible for the growth and development of CPS HR’s Training and Development and Executive Search Divisions as well as leading key business development activities.

About CPS HR Consulting

CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country.  Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients.  We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.