The Upskilling Imperative Book Summary - The Upskilling Imperative Book explained in key points
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The Upskilling Imperative summary

Shelley Osborne

5 Ways to Make Learning Core to the Way We Work

4.3 (83 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

The Upskilling Imperative by Shelley Osborne is a guide to help organizations create a culture of learning. It emphasizes the importance of upskilling employees and providing them with the resources needed to stay current in a rapidly changing job market.

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    The Upskilling Imperative
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    A robust learning culture can help companies retain staff and keep up with new technologies.

    Starting a career used to mean going to school, getting a job, and then continuing on the same path until retirement. You’d learn the skills you needed to work in your desired field, and then that was it – smooth sailing for the next 40 years.

    Of course, these days that’s not enough. For one thing, young people joining the workforce today are likely to continue working for the next five decades, which is far longer than previous generations. 

    On top of that, rapidly changing technologies mean that most skills only stay relevant for five years. In such an environment, how can you make sure that you, or your company, don’t become as obsolete as a 1990s floppy disk? 

    The key message is: A robust learning culture can help companies retain staff and keep up with new technologies. 

    Most people don’t have positive associations with workplace training. Either a bad performance review means it’s required by HR, or it’s something only offered to high performers. Training programs are marked by passive learning, outdated methods, and a one-size-fits-all approach. In other words, they’re boring. 

    Another reason that workplace training hasn’t always been a top priority for businesses is that the outcomes and measurable results can be unclear; senior executives often just see it as a box to check rather than a beneficial investment. But that’s all changing. More people are realizing that adaptability is needed to maintain a career, or business, into the future. That’s why it’s vital that employers and employees find ways to bring relevant, dynamic, and sustainable learning – or upskilling – into their mindset. 

    According to a survey by online learning company Udemy, 39 percent of US workers feel that the skills gap has had a direct impact on their careers. And 51 percent of employees say they’d quit a job if the company didn’t provide enough training. By integrating continuous learning and development into your business, you can avoid the endless loop of falling behind and then playing catch-up.

    Instead of reinventing the wheel every few years, it’s time to design effective, on-demand, and relevant training that anticipates and prepares for the changes that are coming.

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    What is The Upskilling Imperative about?

    What’s it about?

    The Upskilling Imperative (2020) introduces practical tips for companies to ensure their staff have ample opportunity to learn skills for the future. With industries and technologies changing all the time, it shows business leaders the steps they can take to stay ahead of the curve and establish robust, accessible learning environments.

    Who should read The Upskilling Imperative?

    Who’s it for?

    • Managers or C-Level executives looking to upskill their teams
    • People interested in Learning and Development or HR

    Employees who want to change the way their company views training 

    About the Author

    About the author

    As the Vice President of Learning at Udemy, Shelley Osborne is responsible for upskilling employees around the world. Before joining Udemy to develop the company’s corporate learning strategy, Osborne served as the Vice President of Learning and Development at Farside HR Solutions. She has given talks at TEDWomen events and contributed commentary to CNBC and the Wall Street Journal. The Upskilling Imperative is her first book.

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