How to Upskill Your People and Win at Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are productive employees.

They’re inspired by the work at hand. They’re excited about the future of your organization. They’re looking for ways to advance their careers.

It’s no secret among talent development professionals that providing people with learning opportunities—development that can help them move in new, positive directions—is a huge factor in boosting employee engagement.

That’s the good news. The even better news is that to get there, you can effectively supercharge employee development and take your learning programs to a whole new level. You can do it with an advanced upskilling program focused on employees’ and the organization's needs.

“That means investing in all types of learning, identifying and filling skill gaps, and keeping people employable,” said Kelly Palmer, Degreed CLO.

Investing in upskilling strategies presents a huge opportunity to stand out and combat a troubling reality. Employee engagement in the workplace has stalled, according to Gallup, leaving 85 percent of global employees not engaged or actively disengaged at work.

As a solution, some employers are increasingly embracing employee engagement strategies. For example, 70 percent of workers in 2016 said they’d leave their companies to fully use their existing skills, and 65 percent said they leave to learn new skills. Barely half (56 percent) said they have opportunities for career development within their current organizations, according to a study by IBM. That same year, 39 percent of companies invested in internal mobility programs, which do a great job of promoting employee engagement. However, by 2020 that number had grown to 47 percent.

“It’s not enough to just talk about upskilling people,” Palmer said. “It’s essential to understand exactly how to put an advanced, people-focused upskilling strategy in place now.”

At Degreed, we want to help you get upskilling right. That’s why we’ve just published 7 Steps for Upskilling Your Workforce, a new guide from Palmer. It shows you how to implement an advanced upskilling program that fits your organization.

Done effectively, upskilling is a continual process that can boost employee engagement, increase internal mobility, and reduce turnover. Kelly Palmer has broken it down into seven steps:

1. Identify future skills. These are the critical capabilities your workers will need in the next one to three years.
2. Assess skills. This gives you a baseline you can use to set upskilling goals and measure progress in meaningful ways.
3. Set upskilling goals. These help you fill skill gaps.
4. Map learning to skills. This helps you figure out the best learning methods for your organization—online, team-based, peer-to-peer, or on-the-job.
5. Measure skills progress: You’ll see how to create an effective dashboard to continually track progress.
6. Match skills to opportunities: This lets you connect employees with new projects, stretch assignments, or even jobs through a dynamic career marketplace.
7. Communicate metrics of success: These are the report positive results that are particularly relevant to your business priorities and important to senior leaders.

If you're interested in reading more about each step, you can download our guide here ( You'll also learn how Degreed is using this same framework to implement an upskilling strategy for our own employees!

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Remote working has gained a lot of attention in the past few months. And the key driver to the smooth workflow of remote working is obviously AUTOMATION. Click here to know how automation is taking charge in unusual times like these:
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Managers usually judge employees based on a rigid set of competencies that are more reflective of a “unicorn” employee. With peopleHum’s competency-based performance management, put a finger on what’s really crucial and help employees reach their highest potential-
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This well intended approach is far to top down for me. I would suggest moving from hired hands who are told what to do, to trusted partners who are asked what to do. If that includes some skills training, great. The context makes all the difference.
These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background:
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