Reskilling: What Is It, Benefits, Challenges
In today’s highly competitive business environment, technology, office needs, and economic requirements are changing at an unprecedented rate. The advancements in enterprise software, driven by continuous digital transformation, are driving higher demand for new skills and competencies.
An organization must have the right workforce to remain competitive. They need to be innovative and productive. A learning and Development initiative centered on employee reskilling can help ensure that your workforce is well-equipped to succeed and grow your business.
What is Reskilling?
Reskilling allows employees to learn new skills in order to be able to take on a new job role to be used within an organization or to meet new requirements for a role. This happens when the employee’s prior tasks or responsibilities are no longer relevant, usually due to technological advancements or skill gaps.
Why is Reskilling So Important Right Now?
While skill development is important at every age, COVID-19 has raised the stakes. It greatly accelerated digitization. Companies that had been reluctant to move from legacy systems to cloud-based platforms were forced to change because of the pandemic.
Every leader must embrace digital transformation and integrate new technology into their business practices, regardless of industry or job function.
The digital transformation has led to an increase in the development and use of software and systems, which have reduced the shelf-life for current technical skills and created a demand.
As digital transformation drives productivity, automates processes, and executes complex computations quickly, there is a greater demand for digital skills like machine learning and AI. To adapt to changing circumstances, organizations must invest in their employees’ reskilling. They risk losing market share and falling behind their competitors.
To keep organizations competitive and deliver net-positive results, it is important to prioritize employee training programs. And just as significantly, Building industry-relevant skills will allow employees to stay current on the latest trends in their fields.
Also read: 10 Best Strategies to Attract and Retain Skilled Employees
Reskilling vs Upskilling
Employers can use reskilling or upskilling to address the skills gap in their workforce. Each term has its advantages and uses. But when should you use upskilling and when should reskilling be attempted?
Let’s look at the differences between these L&D trends.
When employees learn new skills and are able to assume a new job function in their company, it is called Reskilling. For employees whose skillsets are similar to those required for a new job, reskilling may be an option. A data entry specialist can, for example, be reskilled to become a data analyst.
Upskilling, on the other hand, requires employees to learn new skills and information, but not to assume a new job. It provides employees with the knowledge and tools they need to do their job better and more efficiently. Upskilling can be used by employees with a significant skill gap that needs to be broken to improve performance.
For example, consider a reporting specialist that is skilled in Microsoft Access. The reporting specialist must have the necessary training to be able to use Tableau or other data visualization software in order to excel in their evolving role.
Reskilling is implemented in situations such as:
- Retain reliable, high-performing employees who have lost their jobs.
- You can retain employees whose original job function is no longer required by your company due to the retirement of legacy software.
- Keep your employees happy while you implement a business strategy that moves personnel from one department into another.
Upskilling is implemented in situations such as:
- Employee success is our goal.
- Your workforce can adapt to industry changes.
- New software implements
- Your workforce should be confident and competent in their area of expertise, regardless of changes.
Benefits of Reskilling for Organizations
These are some of the benefits that reskilling programs can bring to your company.
1. Reduced training and hiring costs
Organizations find it costly to hire new employees. This is because they invest a lot in the new hire, their employee orientation, and role training programs that are accompanied by new-hire training and onboarding programs.
Training for new hires does not just include training in job roles, but also in company processes. Your current employees already know about software and protocols.
You can reskill your employees to work in other job roles within the company. If and when their current position is no longer relevant, you can save money on employee onboarding costs as well as overall employee training costs.
2. Retain your best employees
Reskilling promotes employee retention by reducing voluntary employee separations. Employees can contribute more skills to your organization, which helps them remain competitive and makes them stay longer with your company. It also shows that you are confident in their future and that you are willing to invest in them over the long term.
3. Develop your employees’ skills
Employees can improve their professional and personal skills through reskilling programs. It is the foundation for an employee growth plan which provides reskilling training to keep up-to-date with technology changes and future-proof their career.
4. Retain company knowledge and processes
Between The Great Resignation, Layoffs, Elimination of Old Roles, and General Employee Turnover, company knowledge loss is a big concern for organizations.
All of the valuable information that your company has, which can take years to acquire, goes with an employee who leaves.
You can retain your top employees by reskilling them with the company knowledge they require. These employees also have valuable company knowledge that allows them to work independently, complete more tasks quickly, and produce better products.
5. Higher workplace moral
Your organization’s value of its employees is evident through career pathing. It creates a sense of security and encourages employees’ happiness, satisfaction, and motivation in their work.
6. More versatile employees
Reskilling allows employees to expand their skills. They become more flexible in their roles and gain a way to elevate their positions within the organization.
The internal mobility of employees within a company is possible through reskilling. There are many benefits to internal mobility, such as a decrease in time and money spent hiring, better employee retention rates, and greater diversity and innovation at work.
An employee who was working with customer service software may be replaced by a customer relationship manager and moved to public relations. Employees can demonstrate their transferable skills and apply their customer service knowledge to bring new ideas and perspectives to their team.
Also read: Top 10 Employee Training Tracking Software
7. Meeting future demand
Targeting the development of key skills within your current workforce. You can meet future demand. This will not only prepare your employees for the inevitable challenges, but it will also equip your team with the skills necessary to be flexible and adaptable in the workplace.
8. Improves the reputation of the company
Employers who are committed to investing in their workers are the best choice for today’s top talent. Your organization will be more attractive to both current employees and potential hires if you have the right reskilling strategy.
Benefits of Reskilling for Employees
These are some of the benefits that reskilling can bring to employees.
1. More job security
As it enhances employees’ value within the company, reskilling gives them a better sense of job security. This shows that they have the skills and knowledge that are required for their job and that their company is ready to invest in them.
2. Learn new skills for career advancement
Reskilling is a great way for employees to make career changes on their own. This is particularly important given the rapid pace of digital transformation, where automation and AI have eliminated many jobs.
3. Option for internal mobility
Employees have a greater chance of staying in the company if they can reskill. The more skills employees acquire, the more likely they are to be able to take on more challenging or higher-ranking roles within the company. Employees can reskill to not only keep their job but also gain the opportunity to grow their skills and reach higher levels.
How to Create a Reskilling Program in 2022
The task of reskilling employees requires strategic L&D planning. These are some steps to help you set up your workforce for success.
1. Create your reskilling plan
Planning is the first step to a successful training project. Your reskilling strategy should include a map of your current skills, gaps, and where you are going. Your current workforce and roles are well-equipped to support your initiatives. This will help you base your reskilling decisions.
2. Identify employees with transferable skills
To make it easier to reskill, identify the essential skills you need. Then look for skills or abilities that are closely related to the ones in demand. People with similar competencies might already have the skills or be able to learn them for a new job.
A current skills inventory of your employees helps you to identify secondary and tertiary abilities. It can be used to identify skill gaps and to select employees who are most suited to transition into new jobs. A skill gap analysis produces a list of skills that employees have, are lacking, or need to learn.
3. Set goals
After identifying the skills needed for each department, it is time to create clear and tangible outcomes. This will help you structure and measure your reskilling efforts.
Setting SMART goals can be a good approach. The SMART acronym for SMART goals stands to be specific, measurable and achievable, relevant, time-bound, and relevant. These parameters will ensure that the goals are achievable within a given timeframe.
A SMART goal to reskill is, for example, “increase the number of IT staff enrolled in cybersecurity training programs by 10% in the next three months.”
Reskilling is a way to get employees to embrace the idea. You might consider offering incentives to encourage employees who are willing to learn new skills or expand their capabilities.
4. Select the right training method
Training must be tailored to each employee’s learning needs, as there will be differences in the skills of your employees. To ensure flexibility and to provide options for all learning styles and skill gaps, consider having multiple employee training methods.
Find the best employee training method for your company.L&D teams must understand the learning styles of their employees and take into account other factors, such as cost, timeline, and goals.
The best employee training methods are
- On-the-Job Training
- Instructor-Led Learning
- Simulation Training
- Group Activities
- Video Training
- Job shadowing
- Case Studies
Also read: 4 Essential Skills & Training Tools for Trainers
5. Utilize technology
To deliver high-quality reskilling programs, leverage employee training software. This software can be used to create engaging programs, track employee engagement, analyze and collect feedback, as well as allow you to develop and deliver reskilling programs. Let’s take a look at two of the most widely used learning and training software.
- Corporate Learning Management System (LMS): A corporate LMS manages all aspects of employee training, from creation to delivery to track. It allows employees to identify their learning goals and track their progress towards them.
- Digital Adoption Platform (DAP): DAP integrates with other enterprise applications to assist users in learning in the flow, with in-app guidance. A DAP such as Whatfix allows employees to update their skills on the latest tools, processes, and applications without interrupting their workflow or productivity.
- Knowledge Management System: Employees can search online for information about company policies, benefits, and processes. These knowledgebase software tools can be used as an internal wiki for companies. They also reduce support tickets and HR queries.
6. Collect and analyze metrics of success
If a reskilling program is not effective, it has no purpose. You must evaluate the effectiveness of your training efforts.
Data can be collected from many sources including discussions and post-training assessments to measure training effectiveness. This data can then be used to evaluate the Kirkpatrick Model.
Monitoring KPIs like course completion rates and training progression rates, assessment scores, or improvement in proficiency or productivity are all important to determine training effectiveness as well as knowledge or skill acquisition at the end of your program.