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Why upskilling your workforce is critical now more than ever

The World Economic Forum recommends “treating investment in human capital in the same way we do investment in natural resources, particularly oil. … the investment in the workforce could be capitalized and recognized on the balance sheet.”

According to a 2020 World Economic Forum report, the rapid acceleration of automation and economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic will shift the division of labor between humans and machines, leading to 85 million jobs being displaced and 97 million new ones created by 2025.

We are seeing this play out as some of the largest global enterprise companies invest millions in upskilling in programs that arm employees with the skills needed for a future workforce.

For example, JPMorgan Chase added another $350M to their $250M plan to upskill their workforce. Amazon is investing more than $1.2 billion to provide free education and skills training opportunities to more than 300,000 of our own employees in the U.S. to help them secure new, high-growth jobs. And PwC is spending $3B to upskill all of its 275,000 employees over the next three to four years.

While most companies don’t have enterprise-sized budgets to secure a future workforce, any company can create pathways for growth and upskilling. The key is access to data that helps us to understand the skills makeup of the people within our organization and make decisions that drive mobility.

The Power of Upskilling In Skyrocketing Employee Engagement

No matter what state the economy is in, there is always going to be an opportunity to repurpose talent and upskill or reskill them into high demand roles. If you can identify the skills of people in roles that are likely to be made redundant and you invest into upskilling for future roles, not only do you end up saving or avoiding redundancy cost, you also have the benefit of higher employee engagement and retention. Lost opportunities are not sustainable for employers or employees; the talent we have today can be the top performers of the future with an assist, which means no wasted potential within a workforce.

According to a 2021 LinkedIn Learning Workplace Report, employees at companies with high internal mobility stay almost two times longer than those who don’t. That’s remarkable considering the impact of losing an employee in terms of both productivity and expense. Not only are learners more likely to stay longer, but they are also much more engaged. The same report tells us that employees who are able to find new roles internally are three and a half times more likely to be engaged than those who haven’t. Enabling them to do so has a direct impact on your ability to retain top performers and engaged learners are also more likely to participate in internal mobility programs.

Why Upskilling is Critical Right Now

The balance between employers and employees is completely different today than it was 10 years ago. Right now, despite hiring freezes and layoffs in the headlines, employees still have the pick of the jobs they want. Internal mobility and career development is what employees want; it’s a key part of the employee value proposition. We know that one of the key reasons why employees leave companies is a lack of investment in their development and career progression. And they are leaving because many employers, especially large enterprise companies in technology, are investing in employee development. If we can’t offer the same or similar, our employees know where they can go to find it.

Organizations are way more agile today. There is a lot more movement in terms of company initiatives and projects, planning for the future of our workforce. The roles that people used to stay in for 10 or 15 years no longer exist. If an organization doesn’t have a clear pathway for internal mobility and employee upskilling, it not only loses employees, but it loses its top performers whose skill development may have been the exact fit for roles that have yet to be created (but will be necessary for companies to succeed).

How Reejig Can Help You Plan & Scale Your Upskilling Program

  1. Start with strong strategic intent.

    There’s no denying that planning, building, and executing your upskilling program is a big task that takes cross functional time, input and dedication. The first step is to bake upskilling into your strategic business agenda so you have buy-in across the organization.

  2. Review the skills that make up your organization and your skills gaps.

    Using AI-powered workforce intelligence, Reejig generates a real-time skills ontology aligned to your job architecture giving you 100% visibility of skills across the organization and the ability to identify skill gaps at an individual, team and organizational level.

  3. Create personalized upskilling pathways mapped to your learning programs.

    Reejig connects personalized upskilling and reskilling recommendations with your existing learning programs so you can proactively address skills gaps and develop the skills you need for the future. Results have shown a 164% increase in consumption of LMS content and learning paths through curating personalized career paths and learning opportunities.

With the right tools and systems in place, upskilling half your workforce shouldn’t be an overwhelming mammoth task. In fact, meaningful upskilling and reskilling should just be business as usual and something that’s available to your entire talent ecosystem.

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