Upskilling – Enabling the future workforce

When the pandemic swept the world in 2020, it caused everyone to consider priorities in a different way than ever before – both at a personal and professional level. Businesses that would have never imagined getting operations done on a day-to-day basis remotely, had to transition to WFH-enabled setups immediately. This need for accelerated digitization propelled companies to invest in upskilling and talent management as an integral element of thecomprehensive employee benefit package.

Arecent report by Gartnerpoints out that over half (58%) of the current workforce will need new skill sets to do their jobs successfully in the future. Asthe shift to a more permanent remote or hybrid style of work becomes apparent, companies are now stressing the importance of balancingnot only the goals of an individual and organization, but also the importance of employee retention and attraction. Theneed toembark on an upskilling revolution that allows people to train across departments, gain new skills, and acquire new and interesting capabilities to stay ahead of the competition is essential. That said,why are organizations focused so much on upskilling current employees, rather than focusing on hiring new ones?

Companies prefer to train and upskill their employees because such employees have much higher efficiency infused by abundant industry, product, and service knowledge. Upskilling, in question here, also provides reskilling opportunities to employees, increasing retention while also building a competitive edge.

For employees, it gives them an edge in a hyper-competitiveand rapidly evolving environment enabling them to future-proof their career and provide better growth opportunities. With employers exhibiting commitment to employee development and career growth, employees feel motivated and become strong brand ambassadors for the company.On the other hand, continuous learning and upskilling opportunities not only make employees feel more at ease in the workplace, but also inspire them to be happier, more pleased, and more driven in their jobs. Internal satisfaction rises consequently, and you have more opportunity to groom the future leader – the one who understands the mission and vision of the company.

It is indeed true that in the current environment of doing business, the industry is shifting its focus on mapping skill requirements required to adapt to a new normal and a hybrid future. That's why, in today’s era of perpetual innovation, every company that wants to grow and stay competitive must cultivate a culture of lifelong learning, with reskilling and upskilling as a major strategic goal. Hence, the learning & development function becomes a critical role in ensuring business continuity by providing holistic development opportunities to individuals catering to their personal interests.

Reskilling and upskilling should not be one-off initiatives, but a norm. Knowing what the business-critical talents are is half the fight; knowing how to acquire them is the other half. The focus for organizations today should not only be on hiring the best but also investing in their development. While rampant hiring is one way for organizations to create capabilities, the post COVID world will have to look beyond it and invest much heavily to transform and adapt skills, much to create a value proposition for both the employees and organizations.