With employees returning to the new normal, companies face tough choices regarding shortcomings in knowledge and skillset that were laid bare by the forced telecommuting following the pandemic shutdown
In the past few years, as AI and automation kept making inroads into one sector after another, industry experts highlighted the importance of up skilling and reskilling initiatives for employees to retain relevance.
Most industries have taken severe blows from the pandemic, and companies have been forced to lay off workers, introduce salary cuts, freeze hiring, and put some employees on furloughs. Prevailing operating models have been upturned, and enterprises rushed to revise overall strategies and focus on skilling programs for employees, so their roles retain relevance.
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In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87 percent of executives reported they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce, and many expected them within a few years. But less than half of the respondents had a clear sense of how to address the problem.
Up skilling and Reskilling
The digital transformation, driven by digital-first consumer engagement, has taken place over a few months, revealing knowledge and skill gaps. 62% of executives responding to a recent McKinsey survey say that advances in digitization and automation will force them to replace or retrain more than a quarter of their workforce by 2023. Many are considering reskilling and up skilling their workforces to address this burgeoning skill gap.
The learning landscape has changed, and it will promote teaching new skills to employees, wherever they may be. There has been acceleration in the adoption of fully digitized approaches to re-create the best of in-person learning through social sharing and live videos. This transformation allows companies to scale learning efforts in a more cost-effective way and permits greater personalization for employees, resulting in greater effectiveness.
Sachin Gupta, CEO, and Co-Founder of HackerEarth, says, “The need to up skill is a no-brainer since tools and technologies are rapidly evolving. With the move to remote working and people being locked in their homes, they have more time at hand, and it gives them more time to hone their skills.”
“It is a great opportunity for a lot of enterprises to leverage this opportunity to up skill their workforce. It has two benefits, the more skilled the workforce is, the higher the efficiency of the workforce, and also enterprises are now sending out a message to the employees that they care about their personal and professional growth”, he adds.
The Post-COVID Workforce
Today, digital transformation is a top priority for CEOs worldwide. This transformation will define the jobs of the future, and it will set the stage for enterprises to contribute to the economic reactivation, providing their employees with the necessary training so that they can take over the new positions being generated.
The 2020 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report shows that 51 percent of organizations globally plan to implement an up skilling program, while 47 percent will do the same for reskilling.
Industry experts say it is more than worthwhile to invest in up skilling loyal employees in technology and finance rather than losing them. It does not mean up skilling or reskilling the entire workforce, but to look for the most vulnerable positions and assess the contribution of employees whose jobs are quickly becoming obsolete.
Roadmap to Up skilling and Reskilling Employees
To avoid layoffs and enhance the skillset and knowledge that the current workforce has to offer, companies need to determine whether they can up skill employees already in similar roles. If given a choice, most employees will want to adapt and learn the new technology. And by carefully identifying the employees capable of reskilling and matching them to open positions, companies can develop a skills plan tailored to their exact needs.
Companies can also use software designed to identify the skills gaps. They can start with open positions that are still unfilled due to a shortage in the labor force. They can even gain a competitive advantage over their competitors by teaching their existing employees new skills in AI and big data.