Now’s the time to invest in upskilling and reskilling

Last Chance: Now’s the Time to Invest in Upskilling and Reskilling Your People

By Mark Probert

The title of this blog may seem dramatic but in January 2020, just as the pandemic was developing, the World Economic Forum said the world needed a reskilling revolution. They said by 2022 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. And that was before the pandemic! Research by Worldcom shows that 54,000 CEOs and CMOs around the world seem to agree. Upskilling and reskilling was not only the topic with the highest levels of engagement but also the one where engagement increased the most between April and December 2020 – up an incredible 160%.

The second largest increase in leader attention (identified in the same Worldcom report) was for retaining talent. Engagement with this topic has increased by 124% since the beginning of the pandemic, but this was not matched with an increase in leader confidence in dealing with the issue. And employees feeling that their career has taken a backseat during the pandemic could be contributing to this leader anxiety. One survey of office-based workers across Europe, found half of all those surveyed were anxious about a lack of training and keeping skills up to date during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below I offer four ways to support how your people upskill and reskill, so your organisation comes roaring out of the pandemic with supercharged employees.

Make Upskilling for Internal Mobility a Priority

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2021, more than half (51%) of global L&D professionals report internal mobility is even more of a priority now than before COVID-19. Internal hiring rates were nearly 20% higher from April through August 2020 than during the same period in 2019.

Why? Because the same report shows that employees at companies with high internal mobility stay almost twice as long as those who don’t. And not only are they more likely to stay, but recent Glint data (referenced in the LinkedIn report) shows they are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged.

Ask Your People What Development Opportunities They Need

Leaders should be helping people identify areas for upskilling and reskilling. Are you, as a business, providing the tools to support people identify where their focus areas should be and are leaders having the conversations with their people to support this?

 You need to make sure that you have a structured way of gathering the information which allows for anonymous feedback. This will ensure you get an honest representation of the programs you need to provide.

Make Sure Learning and Development and Performance Management Are a Line Management Responsibility

Capturing feedback from across the business is helpful but it doesn’t deliver the personal context you need to ensure that every employee has access to the development they need. To do this you need to combine learning and development and performance management in the responsibilities of a line manager. Then regular 1-2-1s will enable the line manager to behave more like a coach and help each employee to feel more in control of their own development.

Allow Your People to Learn at Their Own Pace

If you are going to invest in learning and development, you need to make sure that you are allowing people to get the most out of the opportunities you provide.

Self-paced learning allows people to access materials at their pace, meaning that they can focus on things that they find challenging – with support from their line manager/coach – and speed through what they already know. It also allows them to plan for when they are in the best frame of mind for learning so that the time invested pays off for them and the business.   

Upskilling your employees has the potential to increase employee loyalty, engagement, performance and more. But when dealing with a crisis like Covid-19, upskilling and reskilling can slip down your priority list. It will be your people and their performance that drives your organisation forward. So, give your recovery the people power it needs by adopting a proactive approach to upskilling and reskilling.

I’m sure there are many other ways you can lead the upskilling revolution and I’d love to hear about them.

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