Upskilling and reskilling can elevate company agility and accelerate growth. Discover how to master both in this article.
The forced digital transformation of the pandemic era is giving way to a new work environment. Leaders are actively rethinking their approach to work patterns, customer behaviors, and supply chains across the globe.
Many companies have responded by accelerating their digital initiatives and implementing technologies that streamline complex workflows. New divisions between “essential” and “non-essential” work are challenging long-held assumptions about talent management and workers’ abilities in the new, distributed workforce.
The Skills Gap Challenge Isn’t New – But It’s Accelerating
Technology has a profound impact on the demand for certain skills. A century ago, telephone switchboard operators had hands-on experience with the peak of technological innovation for the era. That period of time would last for a few decades before switchboards – and the hard skills workers developed to operate them – would become obsolete.
Now, new technologies supplant older ones at a far faster pace. Less than two decades ago video rental stores, newspapers, and cable TV companies were dominant figures in the American economy. Each of these industries employed hundreds of thousands of people and invested in their skills and careers.
As the consumer landscape changes, the companies that make up those industries have as well. Many of today’s most successful companies are the ones who managed to adapt their workforce to the abrupt changes of the last two decades.
Organizations that prioritize employee development are able to maximize their workforce potential and take advantage of new technological opportunities better than their less agile peers. Upskilling and reskilling play a vital role ensuring long-term sustainability under these conditions.
Development Is More Valuable Than Acquisition
In early 2021, Gartner reported that 58% of the workforce will need new skills to adapt to changing work demands. Today’s companies need to pinpoint their talent management weaknesses and deploy solutions that build resilience moving forward.
The prevailing approach for companies is to focus on talent acquisition to obtain new skills, but this external-looking approach alone isn’t a sustainable long-term solution. Hiring new talent is expensive, complex, and risky. Employee turnover for tech positions is higher than any other kind, and has been for years. The relationship between supply and demand isn’t in most companies’ favor.
The answer for most organizations isn’t to look outwards, but inwards. Almost every organization has underutilized high-performance talent. You might have employees that are motivated and competent, but have nonetheless reached a ceiling in their current role or are eager to advance professionally within your organization.
In many cases, skills training is the primary obstacle that stands in the way of utilizing high-performance and high-potential talent. Your best employees may not know that they could be doing and earning more if they applied themselves towards higher-value tasks. After all, identifying skill gaps and developing talent isn’t their job – it’s yours.
How to Identify Today’s Skills Gaps and Predict Tomorrow’s
In order to position your talent to compensate for skills gaps, you must be able to collect information on your current employee’s skills. This establishes the baseline for understanding your workforce’s collective skillset.
Computer tracking software makes this possible by enabling leaders to capture and analyze workplace monitoring statistics. When you track employee computer usage, you gain valuable insight into how well your team performs on specific tasks. This provides clear data on which tasks your employees perform best, and which ones they struggle with.
Crucially, computer tracking software gathers this data on an individual basis, which means it can reflect the unique skill sets of individual employees. This important feature makes productivity monitoring software a valuable tool you can use to identify skills gaps and predict future talent development needs.
Most teams already use technological solutions for time and attendance monitoring. Computer tracking software goes one step further and enables scalable workforce planning and insight.
Use Your Employees Monitoring Software As a Motivational Tool
Many enterprise leaders take a skeptical view of employee tracking technology. In today’s compliance and data privacy-oriented business landscape, there is understandable anxiety about monitoring employees as they work.
But this kind of data collection is neither harmful nor intrusive. In fact, your employees monitoring software is a valuable tool for cultivating employee engagement and motivating continuous skills development. When used correctly, it incentivizes employees to identify the tasks they do best and to communicate their findings.
Here are some of the ways you can use data from your employees monitoring software in ways that boost employee engagement in upskilling and reskilling initiatives:
Share Productivity Reports and Analysis With Employees
Productivity tracking data shouldn’t be limited to HR. Every employee who tracks their work performance should have access to the reports they generate. This gives them a chance to review their own performance and to gain insight into what they could be doing differently during their daily work.
Sharing this data with individual employees ensures your employees are part of the process of productivity management. It establishes an empowering system for employee agency and accountability. Individual employees can see their performance data and use it to improve their work.
Employees may become motivated to seek out positions they are better suited for within the organization. This can be the starting point for a dialogue that builds trust and accountability while expanding employee skills to meet future challenges.
Survey Employees About Their Responsibilities
Once you are sharing productivity data and analysis with your employees, the next step is to find out how they feel about the work they are doing. Motivated, engaged employees who like what they do are far more likely to become highly productive star performers when given the opportunity.
A fully transparent survey process can help you identify employees who are unmotivated by the tasks they perform. These are the people who are likely to benefit most from upskilling and reskilling initiatives. The opportunity to move on to more fulfilling tasks can be a powerful motivator for improved productivity.
Communicate Talent Development Opportunities to Employees
If employees don’t know that upskilling and reskilling opportunities exist, they won’t be able to capitalize on them. Clear communication is a must-have for sustainable long-term success.
This might mean establishing an internal education program or a skills development platform that all employees can access. Making talent development content accessible eliminates barriers to employee mobility.
Dedicate Time to Upskilling and Reskilling
While many organizations happily declare themselves as committed to employee talent development, relatively few consciously allow employees to dedicate time in their work days to upskilling and reskilling initiatives. While the potential “distraction” of this time may seem unappealing to leaders, the short-term gain of a few hours’ can repay itself via the long-term gain of a more developed workforce.
Organizations that can’t accurately track employee productivity on an individual basis find it difficult to invest in employee upskilling and reskilling. The most common method involves highly structured courses that make employees feel like they’re back in school – with predictably unmotivating results.
With the right mindset and technology in place, you can grant employees meaningful upskilling and reskilling opportunities and the time they need to adopt them. The net result is a more skilled, motivated and agile workforce primed for the demands of modern work today, and into the future.