Engaging Employees in Upskilling and Reskilling through the Emergenetics® Attributes

Engaging Employees in Upskilling and Reskilling through the Emergenetics® Attributes

June 14, 2021

I recently read an article from Forbes that talked about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While many blogs play on concerns about disappearing job roles and current employees not having the skills to keep up, the tone of this post focused more on the opportunities we have with these coming changes.

Engaging Employees in Upskilling and Reskilling through the Emergenetics® Attributes
Engaging Employees in Upskilling and Reskilling through the Emergenetics® Attributes

The reality is that as companies make shifts toward automation, their first instincts are not to simply reduce the existing workforce. Instead, leading organizations are taking an active role in developing their staff to build the talents they will need in this revolution.

By promoting professional development, companies not only support employee engagement, they also strengthen their bottom line. A report from Davos described how replacing your workforce is more costly than reskilling and upskilling workers. Their estimates suggest that reskilling workers will cost about $24,800 USD per employee.

When you consider that retention can cost between 50 percent of a person’s salary for entry-level roles and up to 125 percent for mid-level staff, it becomes clear just how reasonable that upskilling price tag actually is.

With major shifts coming to jobs across the globe, Learning & Development teams will need to build engaging, meaningful upskilling and reskilling programs to prepare for the future of work.

How Can You Create Engaging Training Programs?

I don’t think I’m surprising anyone by saying that different learning styles resonate with different people.

Still, I see many organizations deliver the same types of trainings in the same way, which can make it difficult for employees to retain information and remain interested in going to the trainings.

As we are preparing employees for changing job roles, it’s more essential than ever that they engage with our programs.

As you develop your Learning & Development initiatives, I invite you to consider how each of the Emergenetics® Attributes prefers to learn so you can drive engagement and effectively upskill your staff.


A person with a preference for Analytical thinking appreciates data and expertise. Be sure to include quality research, flow charts and information from outside experts in your content.

Consider sharing some resources beforehand so participants in the group can read ahead if they wish and feel more knowledgeable about whatever skills they will be building in the course. I also encourage you to actively solicit critical questions through communities, digital boards or classroom discussion and share out responses.

For in-person sessions, bring in desktop games or puzzles as Analytical learners often prefer to have something to work on when there are lulls in information.

For in-person sessions, bring in desktop games or puzzles as Analytical learners


To connect with Structural thinkers include clear guidelines, directions and stick to the agenda (or at least, let participants know when you are about to deviate). Regularly provide summaries of essential learning points.

People with a preference in this Attribute tend to learn best through hands-on experiences and activities that tie to concrete outcomes. With upskilling in particular, I recommend explaining the connections between the trainings, the activities they participate in and their direct applications to current or future job roles.

In live sessions, participants with a Structural preference may feel most comfortable in a more formal classroom setting and may appreciate handouts with specific takeaways.


Participants with a preference in Social thinking learn best with and through others, so include personal stories, examples and imagery that ties into people – and it’s even better if it’s people they know!

Don’t be afraid to make some emotional connections to the content and add a bit of drama or story-telling to your learning materials.

Offer opportunities for interaction through in-person activities, digital boards or video conferencing.

In the classroom, consider switching up seating charts so individuals can engage with different attendees throughout the day.


Attendees with a preference for the Conceptual Attribute enjoy making connections and tying their work to the future. With upskilling and reskilling, there should be natural connections to your subject matter and the future – so share them!

Those with a Conceptual preference tend to appreciate stimulus, so be sure to include multimedia, imagery and metaphors to illustrate concepts.

Ask open-ended questions, provide summaries of content and use activities that allow participants to experiment.

For in-person experiences, the Conceptual learner works best outside of formal classroom settings. Give participants an opportunity to work outside, engage in activities with unique set-ups or change seating regularly.

Give participants an opportunity to work outside, engage in activities with unique set-ups or change seating regularly.


First-third Expressiveness: People with this behavioral preference, tend to be more engaged when they can reflect independently before sharing ideas or participating in activities. Build in time between activities or questions so individuals can gather their thoughts.

Third-third Expressiveness: Participants who align to this side of the spectrum typically retain information best when they have a chance to process externally, so consider including some role-playing games and simulations to help this group cement their learning.


First-third Assertiveness: To support their interest in building harmonious relationships, try using small group activities. You will have attendees who prefer a steady pace, so self-paced activities with ample time for completion will likely appeal to their preferences.

Third-third Assertiveness: Those with a preference for third-third Assertiveness typically enjoy a direct style and a fast pace. Include some activities that serve as a competition or require quick action. You may also consider adding incentives for completing tasks ahead of time.


First-third Flexibility: The first-third of Flexibility gains energy once a decision has been made, and they can push it forward. When providing guidelines and expectations, don’t change course midstream. If you have to change direction, give a valid reason, allow for questions and time to process.

Third-third Flexibility: Those in the third-third of Flexibility like to keep their options open. Allow for participants to provide revisions in their upskilling path.

The learning experiences you deliver to employees can always be improved upon by considering the interests of each of your attendees. Your participants are likely to be cognitively diverse, so as you create programs to help reskill your staff, set them up for the future by adapting your content and style to the needs of all of the Emergenetics Attributes.

You’ll be promoting better engagement in their learning as well as improving the probability that they will retain information, which will empower them to gain the skills they need to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Source: Emergenetics International

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