Is There a Reskilling & Upskilling Crisis? A Post Pandemic Talent Snapshot

The likes of Amazon, Walmart, and JP Morgan to name a few are just some of the bigger name companies that, feeling the crunch in terms of talent shortages, are instead integrating more comprehensive reskilling and upskilling programs. With AI and machine learning slated to automate more and more jobs and even handle the heavy lifting in some of the previously “human” domains, a high premium will be placed on the talent that have the skills to work with such technological innovation: from highly specialized equipment in manufacturing to more general software in e-commerce and retail. Meaning, it is going to become increasingly difficult to find people who have trained accordingly. So in essence, yes, there may be a war for talent—one that is poised to grow especially in this post-pandemic atmosphere—but the good news is, you don’t necessarily have to make your way onto the battlefield.

In fact, most businesses already have the resources at their disposal to meet the shifting digital and technological demands of the workplace. It’s a matter of implementing a robust and highly personalized reskilling and upskilling initiative and thereby working to enhance the capabilities of the talent you already have. Think of it as molding clay. The potential is all right there—it’s using the proper tools and applying the right approach that makes that clay into something truly amazing.

According to the Harvard Business Review, focusing on in-house talent “helps organizations gain new capabilities while preserving in-house functional knowledge, experience, and understanding of company culture.”

A Fortune 500 Company Approach to The War for Talent

Not only are smaller organizations having to compete for top talent; talent is scarce even for those giants in their industry. Which is precisely why so many companies are taking a “build versus buy” approach. In other words, they’re starting with the clay and sculpting from there. They are addressing critical skill gaps so that employees can feel more confident in their roles and subsequently perform better overall. A recent McKinsey Survey found that nine out of ten managers polled said that indeed their companies face some major skill gaps and expect more of the same in the years to come. This is why reskilling and upskilling have to be deployed in such a way as to target specific weaknesses.

Amazon is at the forefront of those big-name brands looking to integrate a more dynamic reskilling and upskilling approach. Amazon Technical Academy was designed to train non-technical staff and enable them to become more technologically literacy. Amazon Career Choice is yet another initiative designed to help workers explore and take on new roles within the company. And there is also Machine Learning University, helping those with some background in the field acquire more in-depth knowledge and skills in AI.

Following suit, IBM launched New Skills at Work aimed at reskilling and upskilling those who may face challenges and historically have been held back. They’ve also spent over 25 million within the past year in an effort to better understand the future of the job market and thus be able to train their workers accordingly.

We can additionally look at the example of AT&T; realizing that almost a quarter-million of its workers didn’t have the necessary skills to enable them to remain competitive, they pledged to invest 1 billion beginning in 2018 to reskill its workforce. The key focus for AT&T here was to upskill their workforce on product knowledge and customer service skills so that the company could be the market leader in its segment.  

Reskilling and Upskilling Reinvented: Optimizing Your In-House Talent

Companies are going to need to reinvent how they approach upskilling if, in fact, they are going to help make their employees more proficient at their jobs and able to adapt to a changing landscape. Employee training practices across the board need to evolve given the current landscape we face. 

  • Make it specific, both to the employee and to the company. To retain that competitive edge what needs will have to be addressed within the company as a whole? And then also assess what individual needs your employees have as far as being able to keep pace with the parameters of their job. This is where having access to data regarding each employee’s performance and consequent weaknesses will enable you to deliver more targeted and relevant training experiences. If you don’t have this performance data on hand we suggest implementing regular, but not too often, quizzing. Make it fun and engaging while you are assessing the general skill levels of your teams as well as each individual. 
  • Measure the impact that the reskilling is having. Again, going back to the McKinsey survey, over forty percent of those included said that a huge challenge was measuring the impact that reskilling and upskilling efforts were actually having in terms of productivity and employee knowledge/skill enhancement. So here is where you need a system in place that enables you to gather data on all training progression and the effects that such efforts are having. This way adjustments can be made, issues can be more seamlessly handled, and ultimately learning becomes far more effective. While these changes require some human monitoring, today’s smart learning systems automate this process and deliver the right learning to the right individual at the right time as well as trigger the management of any spikes in the activity. 
  • Starting early generates more positive outcomes. Reskilling efforts that begin earlier rather than later in an employee’s life cycle tend to have better overall results. Take into account from the onset what each individual already knows/can perform and build from there. Lay a foundation right at the start that will set that learner on a path toward greater job adaptability.

Rallyware offers companies the tools necessary to gain needed insights into employee behavior and job performance such that help maximizes any reskilling and upskilling efforts automatically and at scale. Schedule your demo today.