Upskilling: The Secret Weapon to a Successful Wellness Strategy

Employees are understandably feeling mentally exhausted or unmotivated. A comprehensive wellness strategy can directly target the root causes of these feelings, such as inactivity, stress, anxiety, poor physical health, and strenuous caregiving responsibilities. In order to target these causes, providing resources to support physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial wellbeing is key. However, there is one strategy in particular that is effective in improving employee wellbeing and engagement that is often overlooked, and it could be your wellness secret weapon. It's called upskilling, and it can re-engage and motivate employees that are unsatisfied and underperforming.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is when you provide ample opportunities to your employees to learn and develop new skills, and it is incredibly successful in growing employee confidence and motivation. Even for high level executives, upskilling provides a sense of purpose, career growth, direction, and fulfillment. It can sharpen an employee's focus, reduce absenteeism, and increase overall job satisfaction. So what's in it for companies? To start, your employees will grow their skills that are relevant and useful to their specific position, but there's so many more advantages. When you invest in your employee's career growth and personal development, it boosts talent retention, employee morale, employee engagement, and overall productivity. It can also help develop a more competitive talent pool of candidates for future job openings. Upskilling should be fully implemented into your wellness strategy, as "career wellbeing" or "career health" is a very important part of any employee's overall wellbeing. It's very much intertwined with both personal wellness and an employee's productivity.

Young female businesswoman in the office

Integrate Upskilling and Career Wellbeing into Your Company Culture

When you create a company culture that not only encourages but supports employee professional growth it's incredibly valuable to overall productivity as well as to the employees themselves. Business News Daily found that 77% of employees said they felt alone in their career development process. The good news is, upskilling is very easy to incorporate into your overall wellness strategy, and here's 5 ideas to get you started:

5 Ways to Use Upskilling in Your Wellness Strategy

1. Begin Forward Thinking

Many employees in today's workforce are worried about the transferability and relevance of their skillset. Technology and tools are constantly changing and improving, and employees are worried about keeping up. It can be stressful to worry about not only excelling in your role, but learning new skills and software on top of that. Employers should start to think towards the future, what technology and skills are becoming popular in the industry? The last thing you want is for your employees to feel like their skills are outdated. This move will not only help your employee's improve their personal and professional growth, it will help your company stay competitive and innovative. 

2. Provide Educational Resources and Tools

Think of continued learning as on-the-job training. Don't just encourage your employees to seek out new tools and skills, but encourage and help them do so. This could be anything from providing access to LinkedIn Learning classes to helping your employees get Google Digital Garage certifications. Another option is to fund in-person classes or conferences. While it may cost more resources upfront, it's a strong signal to your employees that you truly care about their growth and will result in increased motivation and productivity.

3. Give Employees Opportunities to Take More Responsibility

High-performing employees are constantly searching for more stimulation, whether it be taking on a new initiative or project. While you don't want to overload your employees with too many responsibilities or responsibilities that are out of their scope, most employees seek projects where they will learn something new or take on a challenging task. This can also help your management team check in with staff to understand their career goals. For employees that don't necessarily have a clear path, taking on new projects and trying new things can help give them a sense of direction and purpose. On the other hand, for employees that have a direct career path in mind, taking on a new challenge can be inspiring and engaging. However, when implementing this strategy, it's very important to support your employees as much as possible and don't just let them "fend for themselves." If they take on a new challenge and feel as though they've been thrown into chaos, it will be counterproductive and actually leave them feeling more demotivated and defeated. They should have easy access to help and guidance when needed, and feel support from their teams and managers.

4. Encourage Strong Mentor Relationships

As an employer, you have control to assemble teams to include less-experienced workers and more-experienced workers, to create strong mentorship opportunities. You can even take it a step further by explicitly pairing up new employees with a mentor to show them the ropes and help support their career and learning aspirations.

Two young businesswomen having a meeting in the office sitting at a desk having a discussion with focus to a young woman wearing glasses

5. Award All Successes

Most importantly, employers can make sure to award all successes, not just the big wins. Of course acknowledging big wins are helpful, but it's also a great motivator and culture driver to acknowledge the smaller, day to day accomplishments. This will keep employees excited about their progress and growth within the company, and boost their engagement and productivity.

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