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Rachel Aldighieri

Data & Marketing Association

Managing Director

Read more from Rachel Aldighieri

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Why ‘micro-upskilling’ can introduce learning culture into your organisation

How L&D can help combat the rising talent shortages using micro-upskilling.
People staring at digital wall

Brexit, Covid-19, rising inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, have contributed to the Great Resignation, and it is anticipated to continue in 2022, with around 20% of employees expected to resign this year. This, combined with rising talent shortages, are key reasons why talent retention is front and centre of many HR professionals’ minds.

In the post-pandemic world, we are increasingly entering into a global labour market, with remote working at its core, so the risk of being left without the right talent and workforce skillsets is increasing.

Investing in staff and expanding their skill sets has never been more critical

Where has all the employee training gone?

Recent research found that 32% of UK employees changed jobs in the last 12 months because their employer didn’t offer upskilling or training opportunities. Therefore, investing in staff and expanding their skill sets has never been more critical.

A DMA poll found that 97% of professionals believe all employers should offer a minimum of one hour per week towards structured upskilling, yet only 30% of professionals currently upskill a minimum of one hour per week.

This must change if we are to address the talent crisis head-on, by embedding learning cultures into every organisation.

How does micro-upskilling create a learning culture?

When people feel supported and that their career is being invested in – with clear, structured progression opportunities laid out – it strengthens their relationship with an organisation. 

Micro-upskilling is about committing as little as one hour a week per employee to structured learning and professional development. A ‘little and often’ mentality creates a habit that can fit around other responsibilities without damaging productivity – that’s important as professionals increasingly struggle to find the time to upskill via lengthy training days.

This approach to learning facilitates skills acquisition in the short-term while instilling a long-term learning habit that benefits the employee and employer. Employees will benefit from the flexibility and convenience of using structured, learning software to acquire bitesize training at a pace suitable to them and their employer.

However, in order to succeed, micro-upskilling relies on having direction, support and structure from the top down – senior management, line managers, and HR personnel need to be invested. It is all about open dialogue and clear communication. 

For those organisations with tight budgets, there are many free learning tools available. But professionals must also be proactive and plan ahead, working towards mutually agreed personnel and business objectives, to utilise the right tools and programmes.

There is a huge opportunity for other industry bodies to play a pivotal role in their respective industries

How can L&F enhance learning opportunities across communities?

The DMA, for example,  is working with its community to introduce micro-upskilling as a key element of membership, to not only help marketing personnel enhance their skillsets but to also introduce learning cultures as one of the bedrocks which will future-proof our industry.

It will also be liaising with members over the coming months to seek their input on adding another pillar to the DMA Code – an aspirational agreement to which all DMA members and their business partners must adhere – centred around people. 

This expansion will cover two main areas – skills development and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). The aim is to promote the same people-first ethos underpinning the DMA Code to members’ workforces.

It is imperative that a culture of continuous, structured learning be developed across all industries and the entire workforce to address talent shortages – there is little reason why this can’t be replicated and extended to every sector. There is a huge opportunity for other industry bodies to play a pivotal role in their respective industries.

Act now to address the talent crisis

Talent shortages will only worsen if, as a community, we do not actively seek a culture change now. It affects everyone within an organisation, as it can increase pressure and reliance on the limited personnel with the required skillsets within organisations – or even those without the right skillsets or training who are trying to compensate.

Micro-upskilling presents an enormous opportunity to democratise and advance the skillsets of all talent

If we are to combat rising talent shortages, as well as improve employee job satisfaction, continuous learning cultures – underpinned by micro-upskilling – will be essential.

Micro-upskilling presents an enormous opportunity to democratise and advance the skillsets of all talent – but we must act now to become more talent-focused, creating business cultures with continuous, structured learning front and centre.

Interested in this topic? Read How to turbocharge your talent with smarter learning processes.

Author Profile Picture
Rachel Aldighieri

Managing Director

Read more from Rachel Aldighieri

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