Highlight: Employee upskilling and reskilling usually don’t sound like a good idea at a time when businesses are battling to stay afloat, do they? Wrong.

It is a common misconception that employees must do what they must with their present talents amid difficult circumstances and not consider how to enhance their skill set. We’ve already seen the economic environment alter as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as the tough requirements and resources for innovative techniques to mobilize your existing talent pool.

Getting new hires to a good start is a challenge. A solution to the pandemic is to look inside and better prepare current staff for upcoming challenges. Professional development can help people achieve their professional goals both within and outside of their current employment. As a result, HR and L&D departments are being forced to bridge the skills gap independently. The potential benefits of skill-focused development encourage individuals throughout their careers and positively impact an organization’s overall performance.

Upskilling is described as the training that allows someone to get better at a job they already do. Reskilling is defined as developing different skills and new capabilities to assist someone shifts to a new career. 

We need to understand why upskilling and reskilling are necessary, why it is important, and how we might do it.

Learners become a flexible force that can move and bend with any changes in your market as they continually respond to the market and develop new essential abilities.

As a consequence, staff will have a higher depth of knowledge and will be more used to problem-solving for what your industry and market want, allowing you to use their abilities to guide your company through troubled seas.

Impact on employees: Post-Covid 

Since the outbreak, businesses have seen significant slowdowns and halts, necessitating rapid action to make them profitable, if not merely afloat. The worldwide epidemic has wreaked havoc on most industries, resulting in Coronavirus layoffs, hiring freezes, and furloughs. 

Transportation, hotels, restaurants, oil and gas, and other important businesses are among those that have been impacted. Since then, our new normal appears to shift daily, and all of the new information we receive may make creating concrete goals seem even more demanding.

According to sources, unemployment went up to nearly 24 percent in April 2020. Between February and April 2020, the share of households that experienced a fall in income shot up to nearly 46 percent.

As the unemployment rate in rural and urban India climbed, almost 1.5 million workers in both the formal and informal sectors lost their jobs in August 2021, undoing some of the improvements gained in July.

During this crisis, the best firms can do is strive to maximize their present personnel to the best of their abilities and position themselves for success when things start to pick up. Holistic involvement of HR is crucial in this aspect. 

Also read: Fix the Problem of Employee Burnout for your Remote Workers

Importance of upskilling and reskilling employees

One of the most rigorous methods to gain seniority or job stability in a firm is to seek new talents constantly, bridge any skill gaps, and look for ways to provide value to the organization.

How can you keep aiming for success if you’ve lately had to institute a hiring freeze to avoid layoffs? 

One option is to upskill and reskill your staff to maximize their potential in their existing roles or take on new responsibilities when the company needs assistance.

Jobs that you were hiring for or that you had to let go of must still be completed. The skill sets required for job competencies that have not yet been hired are likely already present in your business or require modest skill development. Your employees should be able to wear numerous hats if necessary.

What’s to stop you from transferring your junior recruiters to business development for the time being if you’re on a hiring freeze but still require business development reps? You can reassign people to different jobs to meet the business’s needs, but it will involve some reskilling and peer-to-peer mentoring.

Companies can only thrive at times like these if they have adaptable, agile, and willing to learn.

Employers must focus on workplace education to close the skills gap, and 70 percent of businesses believe that tuition reimbursement/scholarships, university-sponsored discounts, and industry credentials are the most effective means for upskilling/reskilling. 

The Wiley report “Reimagining the Workforce 2021,” which covers the views of CHROs, L&Ds, and CXOs, discovered this. “The most successful techniques for bridging the skills gap among employees are upskilling and reskilling,” they said.

Also Read: Understanding Employee Engagement: The Psychology at Work

How to approach employees

upskilling
  • Start from the Top: Lead by example, ensuring that higher management and people managers are engaged in continuous learning. Please urge them to share their experiences, challenges, and accomplishments with their employees, and encourage them to do the same. Involve the internal communications staff and make sure that these messages are sent out regularly throughout the firm. Getting management involved through all of these methods will help to foster a learning culture.
  • Make it interesting: The safest option is to create a flexible 360-degree learning environment, delivering learning content in multiple formats. Make training materials available on-demand and on mobile devices to learn whenever it is convenient for them. Turn interactive – use polls and quizzes – and collaborative – use breakout rooms for cooperation and in-depth discussions in live instructor-led training. Getting management involved through all of these methods will help to foster a learning culture. According to the LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report, 91% of L&D professionals feel that workers who learn together are more effective (and that it helps build a sense of belonging) and helps establish a sense of belonging (92 percent ).
  • Improve Learning Experiences: You will need to constantly track, measure, and optimize your employees upskilling or reskilling programs. Education technology may be extremely beneficial by giving data and analytics on student involvement, attentiveness, and interaction with training materials and other students. Getting management involved through all of these methods will help to foster a learning culture. According to the same LinkedIn data, 43 percent of L&D professionals in the UK use qualitative feedback, surveys, talent retention rates, and corporate mobility rates to evaluate how pleased employees are with learning programs.
  • Increase incentives for learning: Incentivizing employees is part of any company’s internal strategy for upskilling or reskilling workforces. Although financial or in-kind incentives might be beneficial, there are many other methods to express gratitude. Gamify learning by awarding badges or certificates for accomplishments shared on LinkedIn or internal social media platforms. Getting management involved through all of these methods will help to foster a learning culture.
  • Promoting Health Well-being: Upskilling and reskilling might be more challenging and time-consuming. How can L&D help its workers learn more effectively?  Staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, eating well, and managing stress are some of the ways through which employees can be well.

Wellness programs by including internal communication and continued HR involvement  can also drive employee strength.

Conclusion

What began as a commercial trend has evolved into a critical requirement of the hour. Reskilling and upskilling are proving to be the most effective ways to close the talent-skill gap in the labor market.

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