For businesses looking to not only navigate the challenges of the current climate but to evolve to face the future, now is the perfect time to reskill and upskill employees in the New Normal.
We’ve entered the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, after all, where the Internet of Things promises to make the environment sentient, where AI, AR, and VR have become parts of everyday life, where tiny intelligent robots perform heart surgery on animals, and drones deliver medical supplies to far-flung destinations in record time.
We’re in an era of metamorphosis, and as our surrounding world becomes more and more autonomous, the demands on our workforce are changing – and businesses need to change too. The modern landscape is in flux and the future’s coming at us quickly; now’s the time to upskill and reskill employees in the New Normal.
Before we talk about the best ways to prepare the workforce for new challenges, it’s important to discuss the difference between upskilling and reskilling.
Upskilling is simply providing training to help workers remain relevant in their field. An example of this would be insurance companies training their actuaries to better calculate risk by analysing the sudden explosion of data from fitness trackers, or financial companies skilling-up their workforce on emerging blockchain technologies.
Reskilling is the process of training employees to do a completely different job than the one they currently have. For instance, in the last US election, there was a lot of talk about the utility of training out-of-work coal miners to become computer coders. One software start-up in Eastern Kentucky wound up doing just that, revitalising their community in the process. Although that start-up hired and trained workers from outside their company, reskilling internally has become a popular initiative with businesses that want to avoid laying off employees and having to look for new workers.
For many forward-thinking companies, the chance to upskill and reskill employees in the New Normal is a golden opportunity, and billions of Euros have been spent on doing just that. These organisations are solving problems before they occur, preparing themselves for big successes over the next decade and beyond.
In fact, companies that have taken steps to address the skills gap don’t even have to wait; they’re already reaping rewards. According to PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, CEOs are finding many correlations between upskilling initiatives, economic optimism, and revenue confidence.
Some of the key benefits include:
A stronger corporate culture
Higher workforce productivity
Improved talent acquisition and retention
From looking at the CEO survey, it’s clear that these initiatives paid off in several ways. Upskilling made the employees feel valued and led to better relationships, highlighted and encouraged an innovative mindset, and made the workplace an attractive place to work.
Companies that have not yet addressed the skills gap are not alone, as the survey reveals that only 18% of organisations globally say that they’ve made significant inroads in establishing an upskilling programme:
Many companies have had to radically shift their business models in response to COVID-19, and as a result have landed on new, better ways of working. For instance, some stores that were forced to shutter brick-and-mortar locations during lockdown have now gone 100% online, have found success, and are there to stay.
These amorphous conditions have further accelerated the need to upskill and reskill employees in the New Normal. Employees may have been able to adapt to some new technologies and ways of working on the fly, but more comprehensive training is now needed, especially since the lack of key skills is one of the top concerns for CEOs.
This uncertain climate has been challenging, but it’s also been transformative. As we look towards the future of work, we see the need to evolve, to learn, and to become the best that we can possibly be. With upskilling and reskilling initiatives, the tools are all there – we just need to put them to work.
To find resources and solutions for workforce reskilling, check out My Trailhead. And for more information on how to optimise the workplace for a post-pandemic world, visit Work.com.