enterprise - team development - Upskilling

Minding the gap: How to upskill employees without derailing your business.

We could lie and tell you that upskilling your organization is easy. If only.

Here at Udacity we hear every day from enterprises that are struggling to close technical skills gaps. They all report the same challenges: Not only do they find their technical training solutions lacking, they also find it nearly impossible to hire new talent quickly enough to stay competitive.

A recent report from Gartner, “An Executive Leader’s Guide to Agile Learning,” acknowledges this universal pain. “Hiring for skills represents only a stopgap measure [and] each enterprise will have to develop the talent it needs within its own workforce.” 

The harsh reality is that tech upskilling requires commitment––to a culture of continuous learning––as well as access to real-world, job-relevant, project-based instruction, in the most cutting-edge technologies.

But it’s not all bad news. Some highly successful companies, like Airbus and Telenor, have cracked the code on how to upskill employees globally. They offer hyper-effective technical training solutions in core competences like Autonomous Systems, Data Science, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, and of course everyone’s favorite hot topic in the Chat GPT-obsessed tech world, Artificial Intelligence.

When hiring efforts almost inevitably fall short, many organizations grasp for seemingly simple upskilling solutions. Their go-to is licensing a generic library of video-based instruction. This approach may check a box for HR or L&D in terms of achieving “something for everyone,” but it typically only scratches the surface of material that demands depth and dimension. 

While introductory and highly conceptual tech upskilling can seem appealing at first, it’s only a matter of time before cracks start to surface, and the “upskilling solutions” start to lack credibility among audiences with actual tech expertise. 

So how to eliminate talent gaps once and for all? With upskilling solutions that deliver job-ready skills your teams can put to use at work starting on day one. Let Udacity’s decade-plus of experience guide your way and check out our latest ebook: Drive business impact with these 5 upskilling pillars.

1. Talent Gap Analysis

Every company’s tech landscape is different, which means your approach to closing talent gaps must be tightly aligned to your specific business needs. Is your team lacking talent with expertise in cloud computing, for example? Make sure the tech upskilling solution you choose covers all the critical building blocks––from microservices to full-stack apps––and that it takes into consideration your availability, security, and scalability needs. The correct upskilling solutions for you should be carefully tailored to your goals, not assembled as a one-size-fits-all library with limited relevance.

2. Tailored Learning Paths

For your upskilling solutions to actually meet the needs of your organization, they must address specific business needs. This means beginning with a legit skills assessment, followed by tailoring the learning experience to your learner types (for example, leader, practitioner, and generalist). Finally, for tech upskilling to be successful, make sure it’s directly connected to your team’s roles and responsibilities. How else can you ensure it’s both relevant and effective for your teams?

3. Supportive Learner Experience

It’s all about balance: In-person-only programs are too rigid to deliver upskilling at scale, but completely self-directed learning can be too loose to get the job done. It’s far better to look for upskilling solutions that can be everything, everywhere, all at once. Only Udacity offers an expert-rich learning environment, with cohort-based learning that drives engagement, and a generous serving of real-world feedback on self-directed projects. This is how skills mastery happens.

4. Project-Based Skills

Tech upskilling doesn’t do any good if the new skills can’t be immediately applied on the job. Putting newly mastered skills into practice right away creates the most impact––both on learner careers and on organizational goals for closing key talent gaps. When choosing a tech upskilling partner, look for open-ended projects based on real-world workplace scenarios. Then just wait for the magic to happen. At last.

5. Business Impact

Upskilling your workforce should be cheaper and more cost effective than hiring new talent. Get real about the challenges you’re looking to overcome with any global upskilling initiative. Consider some of the most common problems our customers are solving by partnering with Udacity:

  • Project delays and failures
  • High employee turnover
  • Lack of innovation and competitive disadvantage
  • Mapping the wrong personnel to key business/project goals
  • Delaying innovation and digital transformation
  • Over-reliance and overspending on consultants
  • Inability to absorb disruption (i.e. new technology)

Then be sure to dig into our insightful guide, so you can Drive business impact with these 5 upskilling pillars, and execute world-class technical training best practices. 

Don’t forget to review the outcomes of our upskilling pioneers. Check out these case studies from Airbus, United States Air Force, and Telenor—global organizations that have figured out how to transform their workforce and drive meaningful business results. 

To learn more about Udacity’s leading approach to upskilling and talent transformation, please contact us.