How Upskilling Can Take Your Career to New Heights

Although upskilling can require a significant investment, the return on investment is typically much higher than other strategies.

Warehouses must combat industry disruptions with an upskilling training program to remain competitive and help their employees’ careers grow. The benefits of upskilling far outweigh any potential downsides, so it’s a solid strategy for HR departments to adopt.

Warehouse Workers Are Underskilled

The warehousing sector has an ongoing issue with its workforce. A surplus of job openings and a shortage of experienced, loyal workers has created a skills gap. As a result, many warehouses are left without the means to function optimally.

HR departments must upskill employees within the next few years to remain productive and competitive. Experts project technological advancements will disrupt nearly 45 percent of employees’ fundamental skills between 2023 and 2027. In all likelihood, warehouses will consistently lag behind unless their workforces receive comprehensive training on in-demand abilities.

Why Should Warehouses Retrain Workers?

Technological advancements, widespread labor shortages and digitalization have made upskilling imperative for most industries. These disruptions will have a colossal impact on sectors like warehousing. In fact, automation alone will take over more than 11 million jobs in the United States by 2032.

If warehouses can’t afford to outpace their competitors’ technological upgrades, the stability of their revenue streams is at risk. However, machinery will never match human ingenuity and adaptiveness. Organizations can outpace technological advancements by consistently training and growing their workforce’s skill base.

Even if warehouses don’t initially feel the impact of industry disruptions, employee retention will likely remain a pain point. The warehousing sector has a turnover rate of around 37 percent, even though 3.6 percent is the average. To combat this, they must make workers feel valued and irreplaceable in their roles. Training them on new skills can create a reliable, loyal workforce.

After all, a majority of employees genuinely want to learn new skills. According to a 2023 survey, nearly 70 percent of working adults feel very or somewhat optimistic about upskilling in response to workplace automation. Considering it has become a necessary part of business evolution, HR departments would be wise to implement it.

What Are the Benefits of Upskilling?

An upskilling training program carries benefits for warehouses and employees. For one, it can increase employee productivity substantially, leading to higher long-term returns. A more efficient workforce can easily handle greater responsibilities, expectations and workloads.

Warehouse workers also benefit from receiving new learning opportunities. Most importantly, it adds to their professional value and leads to career growth. Because of this, morale, employee retention and workers’ perceptions of their employer all improve. The benefits of upskilling outweigh any potential negatives.

Even though training employees can require a significant investment, the return on investment is typically much higher than other strategies. Sourcing hires externally has a high upfront cost and an impractical waiting period for returns, making it a relatively poor long-term investment. On the other hand, upskilling internal hires has virtually no downsides.

How to Upskill Employees

Most employees are willing to upskill. In fact, around 68 percent of the U.S. workforce wants to retrain to broaden their knowledge base and improve their on-the-job skills. Since they’re already on board, the process should be relatively straightforward for HR departments.

Upskilling begins with a comprehensive assessment. After all, HR professionals can only know where to improve if they recognize employees’ skill gaps. Once they identify potential areas of improvement, they can begin to strategize and implement their upskilling training program.

Once professionals begin upskilling employees, they track metrics and performance indicators to measure their efforts’ effectiveness. Eventually, they perform an audit to determine if any skill gaps remain. Progression isn’t always linear, meaning this process can take time.

Tips on Upskilling Employees

Warehouses can only experience the full benefits of upskilling if training professionals strategize correctly.

1. Seek Employee Input

Since stagnant career growth is among the leading causes of turnover, HR and training professionals should engage with employees to understand the best approach to upskilling. After all, they could provide invaluable, real-world insight into relevant skills gaps.

2. Set Realistic Goals

HR departments must ensure they set realistic goals. Even though a process can look achievable on paper, employees are only human — any factor from age to experience level could impact their learning speeds.

3. Implement a New Program

A workforce-wide retraining is no small feat, so HR professionals should consider creating a new upskilling training program to address their warehouses’ unique needs. While any existing retraining framework can be suitable, it’s much more impractical and may not meet their expectations.

4. Track Industry Trends

HR and training professionals must consider constantly shifting global and industry trends when determining how to upskill. Although automation and modern technology are in their best interest, staying one step ahead of such advancements is a better strategy — it keeps employees’ new skills relevant for longer.

Everyone Benefits from New Skills

Warehouses are only a few adjustments away from experiencing the benefits of upskilling. HR professionals will see morale improve and net a higher return on investment once they use their new upskilling training program.

Emily Newton
Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine sharing the latest innovations in the industrial and tech sectors.