Talent & Performance Management

A Business Recovery How To: Reskill and Upskill Your Employees

by Emergenetics
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If reskilling and upskilling were not part of your Learning & Development (L&D) strategy for 2020, I’d invite you to consider these areas of focus now as your organization prioritizes its recovery.

At the start of the year LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report identified that 51% of L&D professionals were planning to launch upskilling programs in 2020, while 43% planned to launch reskilling programs. As digital transformations and remote operations have been thrust upon us at unexpected speed, the need to support employee development is even more urgent to support your business’s success.

One piece of good news is that most of the skills that Learning & Development teams were prioritizing prior to COVID-19 are just as relevant today. The World Economic Forum had listed the following as the top 10 in-demand talents by 2022:

1. Analytical thinking and innovation
2. Active learning and learning strategies
3. Creativity, originality and initiative
4. Technology design and programming
5. Critical thinking and analysis
6. Complex problem solving
7. Leadership and social influence
8. Emotional intelligence
9. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
10. Systems analysis and evaluation

When we compare these skills to talents that have been identified as essential during and after the pandemic, the priorities are quite similar. For L&D teams who have started down the path of reskilling and upskilling, you can find some comfort in knowing that your work has not been in vain and that it will enhance your ability to navigate the future of work.

What Learning & Development teams may be faced with now, however, are the challenges of:

  • The speed with which these talents need to be taught to employees
  • The prioritization of employee development compared with other business needs

Addressing the Urgency of Reskilling and Upskilling

From expanding digital literacy and problem-solving skillsets to fostering adaptability and emotional intelligence, your staff may have an extensive list of growth opportunities. To help narrow your focus, I recommend considering the immediacy of the need for a particular training as well as the potential breadth of its impact.

You can use a matrix similar to the one pictured to the right to plot your priorities. As you consider the Breadth of impact and immediacy of need matriximmediacy axis, I encourage you to reflect on the:

  • Relevance of that particular skill to your business recovery strategy
  • Urgency with which those skills appear in your recovery timeline
  • Potential impact to the bottom line
  • Resources available to support the training

As you consider the breadth of impact, analyze factors such as the:

  • Number of staff who can directly benefit from learning the skill
  • Number of staff who can indirectly benefit from others receive training
  • Potential impact to stakeholders beyond employees
  • Intangibles, such as benefit to your brand, company reputation or future innovation

Plotting the universe of talents on these axes can help you identify the most urgent skills with the greatest potential benefit for your organization.

Make Learning & Development a Priority

The second part of the reskilling and upskilling equation requires your organization to recognize the value of employee development in the present moment. We recognize that 2020 is a challenging time for businesses, and as my colleague Shana Bosler wrote last week, we also realize that for businesses to succeed, they need to put their people first.

And, Learning & Development is one of those areas of focus that demonstrates your commitment to prioritizing your staff while also supporting your organization’s recovery and future. For some ideas on how you can earn buy-in with stakeholders, I encourage you to consider how you can:

  • Build a cross-functional team of leaders to support your initiatives
  • Partner with the team to identify urgent reskilling and upskilling needs
  • Conduct a gap analysis
  • Begin building your plan.

While investing time and money in L&D programming is important, you can also deliver some professional development trainings by introducing some creative ways to support employee growth while operating on a small budget. A few ideas include:

  • Partnering with internal experts with in-demand skills to instruct staff
  • Cross-training employees so they can learn priority skills in your shifting business
  • Sourcing and sharing free online webinars and articles that focus on particular talents
  • Connecting with your Learning & Development partners, like Emergenetics® International, to discover additional resources or offerings that can build on your existing programming

While we couldn’t have foreseen what 2020 would bring our way, the fact remains that reskilling and upskilling your employees can make a difference in your organization’s ability to navigate challenging circumstances. By evaluating your opportunities for growth and working collectively with leaders and staff to prioritize programming, you can position your company for recovery and integrate L&D into essential conversations that positively impact your business’s future.

This post was written by Sharon Taylor, Certified Emergenetics Associate of Emergenetics on Emergenetics website here. They are an exhibitor on the HRTech247 Employee Engagement floor. You can visit their HRTech247 exhibition stand here.