How to create an impactful upskilling and reskilling strategy

Imagine if 50% of your people needed to be reskilled in the next two years…

Well, that’s exactly what the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report has found, estimating that half of the workforce will need to be reskilled by 2025

As the skills needed for workforces continues to change rapidly, organizations and talent teams are increasingly looking at how they can retain their current people and reskill and redeploy them into the roles and skills they’ll soon need. 

But reskilling is more than just moving people around, or just offering learning and development opportunities. A successful skills strategy requires tactical, thoughtful consideration of how those opportunities apply to your people’s current skills, interests, and passions all while maintaining a positive career experience, no matter how far along in their journey they are. 

Creating meaning is crucial, because as soon as employees feel they’re being bandied around from job to job, interest wanes, productivity falls, and motivation nosedives  — which no organization wants to see.

A shift of pandemic proportions

There’s no doubt that the last two years have been unlike any period of time we’ve all lived through, for everyone from employees and business owners to organizational movers, shakers, and decision-makers. 

“The novel coronavirus pandemic led to a reworking of the economy unlike any other since World War II,” according to The Wall Street Journal. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the real unknown is to what degree these changes are permanent. Harvard Business Review says that “this shift requires an innovative response from HR professionals in business, nonprofits, government, and education,” and goes on to report that technological advances will displace as many as 85 million jobs in that period, while also creating 97 million new roles.

While that might seem like an overwhelming future ahead, it’s all about talent teams understanding the skills profiles, readiness to change, development areas, and career pathways of their people to create a meaningful and effective reskilling strategy.

“Instead of planning for headcount, organizations also plan for skills; instead of job architecture, organizations develop a more flexible work and skills architecture; and instead of succession planning as progression planning based on roles, future leaders and successors are identified based on real-time, verified skills and capabilities needed for the future.”

Intentional career moves, not convenient shifts

Bringing meaning and consideration into a reskilling strategy means communicating that a new opportunity is a part of a person’s career, not just them being a pawn in a bigger business decision. Your people feeling part of a plan and in control of their career can help avoid turnover and attrition costs so you don’t lose disgruntled employees who feel they aren’t being heard or seen. 

According to Deloitte Insights, employees rate the ‘opportunity to learn’ as among their top reasons for taking a job, with 94% saying they would stay in a company if it helped them to develop. This is at odds with only 15% of employees who say they can access learning directly related to their jobs. 

Bottom line: give your people training and upskilling worth staying for.

Empowered employees self-determining their futures

Part of creating intentional career moves is building an empowered workforce, responsible for self-determining their futures. BCG’s Decoding Global Talent report shows that 68% of workers globally are ready to retrain to new careers to stay competitive.

“If we believe people can be responsible for their own reskilling, interventions that allow them to decide what skills they need and pick from various options are best,” according to the report. “Employers should empower their employees with the right tools, flexible resources, and supportive context to own their personal reskilling journeys.”

The intent is already there, with two-thirds of employees spending a few weeks or more on skill building in the last year, with half of those learning new skills via an online educational institution, and 36% using a mobile app.

THE IMPACT If more employees would stay in companies that provide excellent training and skilling opportunities, it makes sense to start offering these in a proactive way. Open communication and nudges about opportunities and personalization are a huge part of this. It all starts with understanding your people on a granular level, from one macro view.
    • Reejig’s Opportunity Marketplace can provide a single source for all talent data, with ATS candidates, HRIS details, LMS course completions, and contingent worker profiles across your whole ecosystem creating one dynamic marketplace with 100% skills visibility.
    • Understanding where your current skills and career pathways sit allows you to thoughtfully make reskilling and upskilling strategies, and effectively communicate personalized opportunities to your people around career shifts or next steps that will feel personal and meaningful to them while preparing your workforce for the future and lowering attrition.
    • On the employee side, Reejig’s Career Co-Pilot gives your people the power to manage their own personalized career pathways, learning, and coaching. The experience is custom-designed to their skills and potential, with options to pivot, stretch, and grow their career depending on what they want. Users can see roles Hiring Now, what a Step Up looks like, and whether an adjacent role could be based on transferable skills.

Tips to start creating an upskilling and reskilling strategy to mobilize your people for the future:

With the right tools and systems in place, reskilling half your workforce shouldn’t be an overwhelming mammoth task. In fact, meaningful upskilling and reskilling should just be business as usual and something that’s available to your entire talent ecosystem.

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