What is Employee Reskilling, and Why is it Crucial for Thriving in the Future of Work
May 17, 2023
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Employee reskilling is the practice of teaching new skills to current team members. This creates internal mobility and enables team members to transition to different organizational roles.
Employee reskilling is an important aspect of learning and development (L&D)—and when you look at the data, it’s easy to understand why. According to research by consulting firm McKinsey & Company, “Nearly 9 in 10 executives and managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years.”
Reskilling can provide an effective and efficient solution to closing these skill gaps. So what does reskilling employees involve, and how can it be accomplished successfully?
This article will explain what employee reskilling is, the benefits it provides, and how it differs from upskilling. We’ll also provide some examples of reskilling, discuss how long the process takes, and share tips for improving your reskilling program.
Why is employee reskilling important?
In a competitive global market rocked by AI, cloud computing, and other industry shifts, reskilling existing employees is more important for businesses to embrace now than ever.
Just how important? Here are a few statistics that paint a vivid picture.
- The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that half of all employees will require reskilling by 2025
- According to the WEF’s latest Future of Jobs report, over one-third of companies (34 percent) identify “effective reskilling and upskilling” as “a key business practice”
- The WEF also reports that 44 percent of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years, according to employers’ own estimates
- The skills gap is projected to cost U.S. businesses more than $1.7 trillion in losses by the end of this decade
By reskilling your employees, you can close the skill gap and minimize related losses in revenue.
What’s the difference between employee upskilling and reskilling?
Upskilling and reskilling are often discussed in tandem, which may lead to confusion around what each term covers.
Upskilling refers to training employees for more senior or advanced positions within your organization—for instance, preparing an employee to transition into a management role.
Reskilling, by comparison, is the process of training employees on new skills so they can perform an entirely different function, potentially in a new department. For example, reskilling might be necessary if a position becomes obsolete due to automation, AI, or other disruptions to your industry.
What are some examples of reskilling?
Reskilling can take many forms, depending on an organization’s specific needs.
Here are a few examples of what reskilling your employees might look like.
- Training a team member from one department, such as accounting, to perform a new role within another department, such as human resources
- Offering mentorship programs to help employees learn new skills from more experienced peers
- Using an online training platform to deploy learning content that will prepare employees to excel in their new roles
How long does reskilling take?
The answer to this question depends on several factors, including what skills are being taught and how your training program is structured. However, most reskilling goals can be achieved in six months or less.
In a small number of cases—about 9 percent—reskilling takes six months to a year. A slightly higher percentage of employees—about 10 percent—require one year or longer to reskill, typically in cases involving highly advanced or specialized roles.
Benefits of employee reskilling
The most obvious benefit of reskilling is that it closes skill gaps on your team. This helps you adapt and remain competitive, future-proofing your business in a rapidly changing landscape.
However, the benefits of reskilling don’t stop there. Here are four more advantages that reskilling brings to your organization.
- It decreases training and hiring costs by reducing the need to recruit externally or onboard new hires
- It decreases employee turnover—and keeps knowledge within your organization—by enabling you to retain, rather than replace, valuable employees
- By showing that you’re invested in your team members and their career growth, reskilling helps boost workplace morale and improves employee engagement
Learn more about the benefits of reskilling your employees, or continue reading for tips on creating successful reskilling programs.
How to create an effective employee reskilling program
How can you ensure that your reskilling efforts yield results?
Following the steps below will help set you on the path toward success.
Identify company needs and determine reskilling criteria
How are your company’s needs shifting as technology changes your industry? What new and emerging roles need to be filled? And what skills must your employees acquire in order to transition into those roles successfully?
How you answer these questions will determine what your reskilling program should cover.
Identify employees who are good candidates for reskilling
You will have greater success if you can identify employees who are the best candidates for reskilling.
For instance, you might want to focus on team members who excel at time management, have expressed interest in career development during past performance reviews, or have otherwise singled themselves out as self-starters.
Offer appropriate training
Generic, irrelevant training wastes precious time and resources.
Offer ongoing learning opportunities
Avoid stagnation and keep pace with change by creating a workplace culture that supports and values continuous learning.
Ensure your team members have opportunities to keep their skills fresh, assess their progress, and develop their professional talents.
How to use WorkRamp for effective employee reskilling
Reskill your team effectively with engaging training programs that can be tracked and measured to optimize performance. The Learning Cloud lets you do it all from one streamlined, centralized platform, supercharging your reskilling plan with impactful learning at scale.
Discover how the Learning Cloud empowers your team to design reskilling programs that work. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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