COVID brought with it many changes and a lot of learnings. It reiterated what we all always knew but never paid attention to. For any #business to grow, having #skilledmanpower is of utmost importance and in turbulent times like these, #employeeretention has become the need of the hour. #Reskilling and #Upskilling employees is the key to #businesscontinuity in today’s times and companies must plan for it systematically. Here is an article on ‘Reskilling and Upskilling to stay afloat’ by our Operations Head – Delhi, Nandita Krishan. Do read, comment and share your thoughts! Happy Reading!

As businesses gradually turn on the path of business recovery and growth, employers face tough choices regarding shortcomings in skills, knowledge and relevant competencies that were laid bare by the forced virtual way of working following the pandemic lockdown.

A 2018 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study found that 50 percent of jobs ran the risk of greatly changing or becoming obsolete. After COVID-19, that’s even more accentuated. Thanks to all of the workplace adaptations due to the pandemic, the question for many becomes how to re-invent the available workforce to fill the vast void in new digital world.

It is a misconceived notion that during tough times employees need to do what they have to by utilizing their current skills. This is especially not true during the current crisis, as its effects have been extremely uneven across different industries and functions. We’ve already seen the major changes that the Covid-19 pandemic have brought in the economic landscape and, with them, the demand for new approaches to mobilizing your existing talent base.

This pandemic has demonstrated that no one has control over the future — not markets, Governments, institutions, individuals or even the economy as a whole. In order to be future ready, organisations need to be agile, nimble and have skills and competencies that are relevant for now and the future, and this is why the time for employee reskilling and upskilling is now.

Given the economic strain, plenty of industries cannot afford to hire a new workforce or even retain their existing talent. Then would it not make sense to retrain employees to take much-needed positions?

In truth, some of the industry giants have jumped on the upskilling train long before the pandemic. Amazon, for instance, has invested huge sum of money into reskilling and upskilling programs, and Mastercard has been running its own retraining program since 2016.

It would be ignorant, however, to see upskilling just as a way to keep the company afloat in these difficult times. In the long run, upskilling and reskilling programs can improve employee engagement and retention, attract new talent, increase collaboration between departments and speed up the adoption of new trends within the company.

Reskilling and Upskilling are both important tools for closing the skills gap in today’s workforce. Upskilling involves learning new skills or teaching employees new skills in their current role, while Reskilling involves learning new skills to qualify for a different job or teaches employees new skills to help them get a new job in the same company or elsewhere.

As we progress in career, we need to sharpen our skills along with learning new ones. While reskilling focuses on creating new skill sets for individuals to qualify for new role; Upskilling teaches new skills for the same role. Typically, reskilling programs require a degree or certification that individuals complete through corporate learning initiatives or outside education institutes.

Employers who wish to start upskilling/reskilling programs must first identify the skills needed to keep abreast with the ever-evolving competencies needed to succeed at workplace. Here’s an outline of the steps needed to create an upskilling or reskilling strategy for your employees.

  • Define the initiative. To avoid layoffs and redundancy, upgrade the skill set and knowledge that your current workforce has to offer, determine whether you can upskill employees already in similar roles. Given a choice and clear objective, most employees will choose to adapt and learn the new skill.
  • Design a skills plan. By carefully identifying the employees capable of reskilling and matching them to open positions, one can develop a skills plan tailored to your organization’s exact needs.
  • Match jobs and begin reskilling. You can start with open positions that have remained unfilled due to a shortage in the talent pool at large. You can even gain an edge on competitors by teaching your existing employee’s new skills in upcoming technologies and work trends.

By upskilling and reskilling your workforce with collaborative learning opportunities, easily accessible cross training, and mobile learning, you can still achieve ambitious goals with lower headcount. Learning opportunities such as these will identify your most agile and devout learners who you’ll want to keep around after COVID-19 stops wreaking havoc.