We’ve covered the importance of reskilling and upskilling your workforce, both for employee engagement and organizational agility – but it’s not enough to simply provide your people with training. Without any follow-through that would allow your employees to use their new skills in meaningful ways, reskilling your workforce loses its impact. It’s therefore important to make experiential learning opportunities available alongside reskilling programs – but to ensure that these work in tandem, there are a few things that need to be taken into account.
A recent report based on joint research by MIT and Deloitte highlights the importance of experiential learning opportunities:
“The corrective, our research shows, goes beyond a greater emphasis on workforce restructuring, retraining, reskilling, and “rightsizing” efforts. For many workers, more skills — and even better experiences — without more opportunity is insufficient. If workers don’t value the opportunities they’re offered — if those opportunities don’t speak to their passion, potential, and purpose, for example — they can and will likely leave.”
But how can organizations create these opportunities, and, just as importantly, how can they make sure the right opportunities reach the right people?
Before we move on to the question of matching opportunities to people, let’s talk for a moment about the environment most employees currently inhabit.
As people grow in professional environments, they begin to take interest in subjects outside of their immediate areas of responsibility. It could be that a salesperson suddenly realizes they have a penchant for product design, or that a support agent finds that they have a lot of relevant insights for the marketing department. It’s these people that you want to encourage and help pursue their interests – not just because of the immediate benefits to their personal aspirations and the increased assistance to neighboring departments, but because this kind of interest helps promote a “think big” culture and a broader perspective of the company, its goals and its needs. When it’s time to pivot or reallocate, these people will have a better grasp of what, how and why these decisions are being made, and will be in a better position to contribute to company-wide efforts.
But there’s more to it than that.
If you want to keep your employees proactive and engaged, and help your organization thrive – you have to make sure that you’re creating the right sort of opportunities and experiences for them.