People Manager
March 23, 2023

Maximizing Upskilling and Training Opportunities in a Hybrid Workforce

Hybrid work arrangements, where employees have the flexibility to work both in-office and remotely, have become increasingly popular in recent years. Large companies have recognized the benefits of this working arrangement and adopted flexible structures for their workforce. For example, Google expects that 80% of its workforce will switch to a hybrid work arrangement in the coming years.

As more companies embrace the hybrid work model, it is becoming increasingly important for employers to equip their employees with the essential resources to thrive in this setup. One necessary strategy is providing them with upskilling and training. In this article, we will explore three ways employers can maximize these opportunities for their hybrid workforce:

Leverage AI tools

One way to maximize upskilling and training for hybrid workers is to utilize machine learning. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI), a form of machine learning, has created new opportunities for employers and is reshaping the conditions of the modern workplace. AI can provide solutions for upskilling hybrid workers through data augmentation (processing information to improve productivity and efficiency) and automation. For example, AI-powered virtual assistants like the IBM Watson Assistant can be integrated into a company's existing digital learning management system to provide personalized recommendations and support for employees based on their skill level and job role.

Another use for AI in employee development are  automation tools, such as UiPath, which can automate repetitive tasks and processes, freeing up employees' time for more meaningful and valuable learning activities. The role of project managers in companies that make use of these tools can subsequently shift to become more leadership-centric. Project managers can engage in more effective task delegation and decision-making thanks to automation and AI tools. It will also become their responsibility to perform quality control and ensure that employees are equipped with the right training to handle these tools and maintain the standards expected. By leveraging AI tools, employers can provide their employees with the support and resources they need to develop other skills and knowledge.

Introduce digital tools

The proliferation of digital tools for employee training and development presents a unique opportunity for hybrid workers. Through software that can be accessed remotely, employers can ensure that their employees have the resources they need to develop their skills and knowledge, regardless of location. Case in point, Sift makes it easy for employees to connect with their colleagues and collaborate on training and development activities such as team building and networking events, across hybrid work locations. Likewise, comprehensive e-learning tools such as Skillshare can provide on-demand access to various online courses and workshops on varied topics such as design, photography, and business to help their workers develop new skills to complement their careers. By equipping employees with the necessary digital tools, organizations can ensure that their staff can carry out their responsibilities and stay ahead in the dynamic business environment.

Encourage self-directed learning

When individuals take responsibility for their own learning process, they can control their professional development and choose the training that best aligns with their career goals. In fact, a study published in the journal Vocations and Learning found that self-directed learning enhances workers' creativity and flexibility and challenges them to learn and develop professionally. Employers can use this method to maximize upskilling and training opportunities by providing access to online resources such as e-books, massive open online courses (such as edX, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera), and industry-specific webinars. These resources can be accessed remotely, making it easy for employees to learn at their own pace.

To encourage independence and autonomy, leaders must reward upskilling and recognize employees' efforts to improve their skills and knowledge. Rewarding skill acquisition can be made more visible throughout the organization by offering bonuses or incentives to employees who complete certain training programs or earn certifications, and announcing their achievements internally (via employee newsletter or intranet post). By nurturing an environment where learning is valued and supported, you can shape an engaged, productive, and innovative workforce.

As the world of work continues to evolve, employers must stay ahead of the curve and provide their employees with the support they need to succeed. By adopting these strategies, employers can ensure that their workforce is well-equipped to adapt and grow in an ever-changing business landscape. 

Written exclusively by JB Wilson for Sift.

About the Author: JB Wilson

JB Wilson worked in sales for several years before pursuing their passion in the HR industry. Their topics of interest today lie in the growing role of immersive technology in facilitating human connections.