As businesses continue to evolve and technology advances, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to reskill and upskill their workforce. Reskilling means training current employees in new skills that are necessary for the company to stay competitive, while upskilling involves providing employees with the knowledge, qualifications and experience needed to create a higher-level position within the business. Upscaling, however, does not just improve the technical capabilities of an organization; it also increases employee engagement, which boosts morale and productivity.
Investing in upskilling employees can give organizations a competitive advantage while giving individuals more job satisfaction and career opportunities.
During intake meetings with managers, there is generally a common theme: “I think we should look outside the company for this role”. A lot of hiring managers are enamored by the thought of sourcing talent from beyond their walls. Unfortunately, some will go as far as to minimize potential internal candidates and instead seek out external ones that have equal or inferior credentials.
It is essential to alter our perspective and recognize the value of internal talent. The money and effort spent onboarding and educating personnel should lead supervisors to prioritize existing staff over external hires; however, this process isn’t always practiced. Recruiters and HR partners will first have to work with hiring managers to change the mindset over time. According to Josh Bersin, “Employees who are the beneficiaries of deep investments of time and resources to stay relevant feel more committed to the organization, retention and engagement goes up, and the company now sees a clear pipeline of digital skills emerging in its own talent.”
To alter this perspective, initiate an internal campaign that accentuates the achievements of your own staff. Many companies overlook advertising their internal advancements which only reinforces the belief that external talent is more desirable. Therefore, construct a content schedule to applaud and highlight any successes you attain in order to sustain your change management drive.
According to Lighthouse Research & Advisory, the term reskill is used interchangeably with upskilling. Here is the difference:
- Upskilling is the development of additional skills to help make someone more valuable in their current role. For example, a software developer learning an additional coding language.
- Reskilling is the development of significantly different skills to make someone suitable for a different role. For example, retraining a former cashier to work as a personal shopper instead, as Wal-Mart and other retailers have done.
According to Lighthouse’s research findings, the prime incentive for businesses investing in educational content is to bridge existing skills gaps. Amazon and AT&T have been shifting their attention away from recruiting new talent towards upskilling current employees – likely due to perceiving this as a more advantageous investment that produces higher returns with the added benefit of employee familiarity and decreased onboarding time.
A McKinsey Global Institute survey recently revealed that 300 global executives feel they must retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce by the end of this year. Despite this, only 16 percent expressed strong confidence in their ability to face the skills-gap challenge head-on.
Once you’ve changed the hiring manager mindset and retrained your workforce, it’s time to redeploy your newly upskilled workforce into the organization. One would see this as the easiest step but this can often be the step with the highest resistance.
Remember hiring managers’ infatuation with the allure of external talent? The first obstacle to overcome is to change the mindset during the redeployment phase as well.
For many businesses, posting job opportunities to internal talent prioritizes their applications and provides team managers with the opportunity to provide constructive feedback. While this is a great initial step for organizations, it might be worth considering an assertive approach such as investing in reskilling or upskilling initiatives for current employees. This will help your organization save both time and money while also improving the quality of existing personnel.
If you’re looking to leverage the internal talent already present in your business, it’s time to revise how you market those individuals. Submitting a mere resume is no longer sufficient; work with them to construct an extraordinary profile demonstrating why they are worth investing in.Match their training with openings and present your newly created talent pool to managers ahead of postings going live.
To best understand which areas of your organization would most benefit from training, you must invest the time to get to know the talents within your own talent pool. If feasible, incorporating hiring managers as educators in this reskilling effort is an excellent way to gain early support and buy-in from them.
By investing the time to make sure your workforce is up to date on the latest skills and technologies, you can ensure that your team is getting the most out of their knowledge and expertise. Reskilling gives employees a chance to learn new skills, empowering them to become more valuable contributors within your business. This benefits not only individuals but also teams, as they are able to work on more advanced tasks with greater efficiency. Ultimately, it helps move your company forward in an ever-changing technological world.
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I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
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