What Is Reskilling?

The fast-changing situations around us require great skills in adapting to this constant change in the environment.

This vicious circle of adapting to the quick changes is not limited to one’s personal level and work but also extends to organizations, the way they are structured and operate as well. As per Deloitte Insights, “the top-rated trend for 2019 was the need to improve learning and development (L&D). Eighty-six percent of respondents to their global survey rated this issue important or very important, with only 10 percent of respondents feeling “very ready” to address it. Evolving work demands and skills requirements are one big reason.”

They say, “Our conversations with business leaders reveal that they, as well as workers themselves, are worried about how technologies such as robotics and AI could change jobs and how people should prepare to do them. Their concern is warranted: While some jobs are disappearing due to technology—38 percent of our survey respondents expect to eliminate certain jobs due to automation over the next three years—many more are being transformed. In fact, the most significant workforce and talent issue for C-suite executives that our respondents identified this year was “transitioning to the future of work” (28 percent), followed by the need to redesign work (25 percent) and reskill the workforce (24 percent). Moreover, 90 percent of our survey respondents told us their organizations are redesigning jobs, and 32 percent are doing it substantially. Given that many jobs are changing, it may come as no surprise that, according to a recent World Economic Forum report, more than half (54 percent) of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling in just three years.”

Organizations that are unable to fill in job openings due to the unavailability of candidates with required skills and knowledge have started considering and doing reskilling their existing employee base. It would be fair to say that reskilling has indeed become a growth imperative for many organizations now.

Reskilling, the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job, or of training people to do a different job. It is defined as training for employees who have shown they have the aptitude for learning a completely new occupation. For instance, an office clerk whose job has become obsolete will be reskilled to perform a different in-demand job within the same organization, such as a web developer.

More than ever right now is the time when businesses are changing the way they work. It is because of the rapidly evolving industries, skill sets, and requirements. On top of that, the whole industry has been impacted by the global pandemic. There are thousands of people willing to re-join the workforce.

In order to create an efficient workforce, businesses have started investing in their employees in various skill sets. This is where the reskilling workforce comes in the centre. It means that you retrain the existing work base in the skills that are needed for the other jobs at your organization. Reskilling existing employees can save companies a lot of money, as restructuring a workforce is an expensive exercise. All that is needed from the employees is to be adaptive towards change, willingness to learn, and a passion for the bigger plan in the equation.

Mercer conducts monthly chats on Twitter and where individuals around the world engage with Mercer’s intellectual capital and other leading thought leadership to share insights and discuss the best solutions to help organizations thrive. Their September 2020 tweet chat on “How Leaders Can Redesign their Organizations & Invest in their People for the Future of Work” highlights some key aspects to the concept of reskilling. Excerpts from the chat summary are:

If the experience of the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that for all the talk about an AI and tech-powered future, people are what really matters. When we’re all swimming in a sea of tech, individuals and culture differentiate top-performing organizations from their counterparts, and that’s what enables businesses to compete in the future of work. It’s also why talent – not tech – is top of mind for executives and HR leaders.

But if leaders want to attract and retain the best people in business, they need to remember that they’re in the people business. That means tailoring their digital transformation to their people, as Amish Gandhi points out, and going beyond lip service about “people being your most valuable asset.” Stela Lupushor shared as much during our conversation by mentioning how reskilling your workforce shows them that they’re valued stakeholders in your business and can pay dividends for both your company culture and employer brand. This creates a positive loop for employers, and, as Lewis Garrad observed, helps firms avoid shocks to their culture and pursue organic growth.”

The loop discussed how commitment is the most important part of reskilling, how it is an opportunity for leadership to mindfully rebuild, and more. You can read the summary here or follow the #mercerchat on Twitter.

At last, I highly recommend you to watch this video by the World Economic Forum on Reskilling Revolution: Better Skills for a Billion People by 2030 to get a word from the horse’s mouth!

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About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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