The pandemic gave the world of work time to study the widening gap between the knowledge and experience of the workforce and the needs of the employers. With disruption in global supply chains and chances of recessionary trends in the economy, it was clear more than ever before that the existing workforce needed to adapt itself with additional and newer skill sets so that it was able to provide the right talent for the organisations to upscale their operations. In a recent Gartner survey of 113 learning and development leaders, 71% said that more than 40% of their workforce needed new skills due to changes to work brought by the pandemic.
The pandemic emphasised on the need to have a resilient and agile workforce that is key to the success of any organisation, and any situation. In the surveys that happened across industries, cross-training and upskilling employees came out to be the top goal for hiring teams. Upskilling not just enables organisations to chart the future roadmap to growth, but also enables the employees to create growth roadmap for themselves. And thus, this year, saw the world of work making big investments in upskilling and reskilling its workforce.
Here’s how it became a win-win for both, employers and employees:
Upskilling: The biggest asset for workspaces
When an organisation invests in its employees’ growth, learning, and development its workforce feels appreciated and are much less inclined to leave the organisation. According to a study by McKinsey, a major reason for employees leaving their jobs was that they didn’t feel appreciated by their employers or managers. The study also stated that the prime reason of resigning is that workers do not have the chance to acquire new projects or find their work interesting through diverse clientele. Valuing and respecting smart talent are key focus areas of employers today.
Besides, the cost of hiring new talent was identified much more than the cost incurred on upskilling the existing workforce who is already in sync with the organisational values and culture. And that’s why more and more organisations focused on investing in various learning programs and training for the existing workforce and empowering them further ahead.
The ever-increasing talent gap was one of the major concerns for organisations across industries, and this was driving the need to improve and increase the skills of the existing workforce. In the absence of ease of finding the right and highly-skilled talent at the time when it is needed the most, the organisations realised the need to upskill the existing talent and make them better equipped to handle changes and crises. The world of work realised that the solution lies in training and upskilling existing employees to either perform more duties in the current roles or perform multiple or varied roles at the same time.
Several organisations thus created their own portals to train employees to newer standards. For instance, organisations like Accenture and Tata Consultancy Services have entered the EdTech domain where they can recruit fresh talent through their own courses and evaluations. While there are others who have signed memorandums with top tier business and tech schools to routinely train employees as per organization’ specific needs and demands.
Role of upskilling in employee growth and retention
The first step to growth is learning, and this can come only with an urge to constantly learn, unlearn, and learn yet again. Having realised this, the workforce figured out how upskilling was critical for not just organisations, but for their own growth as well. Employees could no longer be indifferent to upskilling because it has far-reaching impacts, the primary one being self-growth. The advantages for employees turned out to be multifaceted:
Advancement in careers: The workforce realised that those who received upskilling could advance well in their careers. They could also progress by complementing their degree knowledge and their experience ith the new-age skills to build a profile for high-ranking positions in the organization.
Contracting knowledge gaps: Automation and digital transformation have risen to the top of the list of objectives in the quickly changing workplace, along with soft skills like digital literacy and adaptable leadership. To tackle these problems, upskilling was considered the biggest tool.
Optimism and high morale: Employees felt more confident in their current roles if they had the skills to execute their jobs more efficiently, and adapted well to the changing demands of the world of work. This would, in turn, lead to an overall increase in their morale.
Upskilling: Whose priority is it?
While upskilling is the responsibility of both employees and employers, the onus lies on the organisations to ensure that the workforce is in sync with the changing world. Organisations must provide an atmosphere conducive for learning and development of their employees. In fact, there are multiple ways organisations can incorporate upskilling:
- Distance education and online courses: Organisations can make certain that the workforce acquires the necessary skill set on schedule by using various platforms synced with human resource team’s calendars. Additionally, frequent onsite seminars and lectures by specialists in the field (internal/external) can help employees rekindle their interest in the work they do.
- Expanding roles and jobs: Employees who are offered new positions can broaden their skill sets and assume greater responsibilities in their current positions. Giving them additional decision-making power or giving them complete accountability for their current tasks are ways organisations can imbibe leadership skills in the workforce. This increases their level ofparticipation and makes their engagement to work more satisfying.
- Mentoring initiatives: A mentorship programme can be implemented by an organisation for a limited group of teams or workers to help them learn new skills and improve their productivity and thinking in order to achieve a broader goal. This is a more active and practical upskilling strategy where employees implement what they learn right away and gain insight into how top-level management works. The passing of knowledge from experienced staff to interested candidates is the real hands-on, out-of-the-book training.
All this can help improve employee engagement, productivity, and retention rates significantly. In the world of work where attrition rate is increasing at a very fast pace, taking care of employees’ needs and growth charts can most definitely be the answer to reduce attrition and increase retention rate. On a concluding note, it won’t be wrong to say that upskilling has indeed become an important tool for the world of work to increase retention rate and also enhance employee experience and engagement, while at the same time, acting as a boon for the organisations because of the perks it provides to all the parties involved. The only thing that the organisations must ensure is taking precautions for any breaches, and making informed decisions in identifying the right learning and development programmes and trainings to upskill the workforce. Organisations also need to adopt a dynamic approach to reskilling talent, one that encourages everyone to work together, towards a common goal-to make the world of work future ready!
Source: GWFM News