Learning & Development

The Reskilling Revolution

5 min 18 Mar 2021

Where are we now and what’s next in keeping skills up to date for a changing world?

39% of HR leaders say they’re harnessing the crisis to reshape and reprioritize their company’s talent agenda.

Although skills renewal has been a topic that organizations have been taking seriously for years, the crisis is accelerating and intensifying the need for skills agility. Reskilling involves learning new skills for different jobs, while upskilling improves employee skills that are applied in their current roles. Given the current context, both have been pushed up the priorities list for many European organizations, according to new research by analyst firm Fosway.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the skills agenda of 97% of organizations. It has also increased the importance of reskilling and upskilling, whilst shining new light on the potential of talent mobility to take an organization forward. Now is the time for organizations to get clear answers to these key: How do we identify the skills we have? How do we make the most of them? How do we develop our employees skills and potential?

Why should organizations focus on reskilling their people?

The simple answer is: to do more than just survive in 2021. The skills of an organization’s workforce are now the key to its success, agility, and customer satisfaction.

But what are the most important skills? Research shows soft skills are becoming significantly more important than hard, or technical, skills. Collaboration, clear communication, and empathy are now the kinds of skills required for working effectively, especially within a distributed workforce.

With the rise of AI and automation in the workplace, organizations need to refocus their attention on soft skills. Though AI is replacing human labor in some contexts, it will never be able to replace what makes us human. Technology is, however, playing a role in increasing the need for regular learning, as old skills become obsolete more quickly. This means organizations must place their focus on learning agility, empowering their people to become adaptable learners, with the soft skills needed to embrace change and thrive in an era of disruption.

As previously mentioned, resilience and adaptability are key qualities required by employees in the face of digitization. Organizations need open-minded people who can shift gears and take on different responsibilities as needed, adapt their behaviors to their teammates’ needs, manage uncertainty, and find the positive when things go wrong.

How to harness the full potential of employee skills

Organizations need a consistent approach to skills in order to remain agile. This approach must be cross functional to be efficient, which means:

  • Focusing on employability and career bridging through mobility: agile organizations for an agile workforce.
  • Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace: people from different backgrounds offer different perspectives, ideas, and competencies.
  • Encouraging learning in the flow of work: A continuous, accessible and innovative learning strategy facilitated by a solid learning solution
  • Measuring success with Key Performance Indicators: decide what success looks like and use data to measure and readjust, if necessary

Fosway, in partnership with Talentsoft, has published a detailed research report about the state of reskilling and upskilling in European organizations today. Read the full report now!

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