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Why reskilling and upskilling your workforce is so important

By Max Burkhalter
August 29, 2021

Employees have always needed to hone their skills to keep up with changing demands and technological advances. The endless disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic helped underscore the need for highly adaptable and skilled workers. However, there is often a gap between what the employer needs and which skills are available. Currently, there is a shortage of skills for the roles that companies seek to fill; in fact, this shortage has doubled over the past decade.

The workforce must adapt
In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers (around 14% of the global workforce) would have to either switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 due to automation and artificial intelligence. In a more recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives admitted they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years, but less than half have a plan to address the issue.

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that our workforce can and should adapt to new business models and trends. It is not just about robots and machine learning. It's also understanding what assets are relevant to our post-pandemic reality. The trick is not to start from scratch, but for leaders to reskill and upskill their existing workforce.

Companies must develop a talent strategy that specifies key employee assets such as digital skills, cognitive flexibility, and socioemotional resilience. The strategy requires a dedicated budget for professional development. Luckily, this investment has the dual purpose of buffering against future disruptions.

Identify skills required for the future
How will your company achieve profitability? Does your organization have a business recovery model? How can you improve resiliency?

Look at total talent management
What skills do your employees possess as a whole, i.e., what is the current total workforce talent? Are there skill gaps? What is the best way to plug those holes?

Improve processes using technology
Identify forms of technology that provide leaders with feedback on critical skills needed to address client goals or problems.

Embrace on-the-job learning opportunities
Identify an employee's strengths and weaknesses, then create personalized learning targets. Let employees play to their strengths and build on previous knowledge.

Prioritize growth over skills and knowledge
When possible, find ways to learn effortlessly on the job. Skills learned in a working environment stick better than those crammed during a detached training session.

Upskilling and reskilling pays dividends
Upskilling and reskilling creates a more well-rounded workforce and increases team effectiveness.

You'll enjoy benefits like:

Improved retention
Investing in employees makes them more invested in their job and more loyal to your company.

Boosted morale
Reskilling is a clear path top career advancement, and makes employees see their future as a bright and full of opportunities.

Increased customer satisfaction
When employees are happy, customers are too. By giving employees the knowledge to do their jobs better, you empower them to make a difference.

Better talent acquisition
Attracts new talent. According to the Society for Human Resource Management's skills gap research, 83% of HR professionals are having recruiting difficulty and 3 out of 4 of those say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. Happy employees become strong referrers, and deliver you a larger pool of diverse talent.

Perle can help you with hardware for the office, and support the tools you need for reskilling your workforce. Read our customer success stories to learn more.


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