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Growing Need for Upskilling and Reskilling Employees: Covid-19 Issue

4 min read
Last Updated on

We are collectively experiencing an unprecedented time. A period that will be remembered for years to come and make it to every history book of the future. Just like a domino effect, countries are getting affected by Corona Virus one after another. Commuting for work is no longer an option and the only way to keep businesses up and running is remote working.

Apart from the massive stress of keeping themselves safe from this dreadful virus, employees are facing a unique challenge. The challenge of making themselves future-proof and elevating their skills to fast track the economy when the pandemic resides. Also, huge section of the workforce is vulnerable to reduced income, furloughs or layoffs as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

The survey titled ‘HR resilience planning - COVID-19 impact and preparedness’ showed that around 70% of the organizations believe that the single biggest concern for continued remote working is a fall in productivity.

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. – Theophrastus.

The sudden shift has naturally hampered the overall productivity of most businesses. But on the other hand, people now have more time in hand. A lot of time is saved in commuting, socializing, and running errands which adds up to a couple of free hours every day.

The significance of Upskilling and Reskilling employees has increased by multi-folds. Companies that do not take this time to upskill employees will soon find themselves in a vulnerable position.

What exactly are Upskilling and Reskilling?

Upskilling is the process of teaching current employees new skills that will help them in thriving in their job and help them in becoming more efficient.

Reskilling focuses on teaching employees new and upcoming skills to do a different or more advanced job.

5 Powerful Reasons For Upskilling and Reskilling Employees in Times like These

1. Increase Productivty:

Experts are saying that remote working is here to stay.

But will the working style in the remote world remain the same as the traditional office? Of course not.

To accommodate traditional office-going employees in the digital world, it is essential to upskill and reskill employees from all generations. Digital competency is a fundamental skill now, yet only a fraction of the current workforce is digitally native.

55% of employers feel the skills shortage is causing an inability to innovate effectively, according to a recent PwC study.

The sooner we start to bridge this gap, the better will be the efficiency of the newer remote job roles. Another important pointer to remember here is that the rate of evolution in the digital world is quite higher. As we enter a new level of maturity in digital transformation, the need for new and more advanced skill sets will always be there.

Companies need to prepare themselves to embark is a journey of continuous learning.

2. Future-proof your Business:

To sustain and thrive in your business, you must be early thinkers and early adopters.

The economy is taking a massive hit as the pandemic continues to rise and it is going to take quite some time for the economy to bounce back even after the horror resides.

In order to protect your business from the possible market disruptions, upskilling and reskilling employees should be the first and foremost step. Once you build a workforce of agile, knowledgeable, and tech-forward employees, you are in a much better position to tackle the upcoming challenges of the business world. Take this time to explore what are the skills that your workforce lacks and define the skills gap.

When you start preparing early, it will shield your business from possible shocks in the future and in terms save you ample time and money. It is the most economical step at this point.

3. Retain Top Talent and Reduce Hiring Costs:

One of the prominent employee engagement trends in recent times has been, the scope for career growth for employees.

47% of higher educated workers said a limited career path could get them to leave for a better opportunity (Randstad).

In another study by Gallup, 87% of employees said that career progression is extremely important for them.

Although we were anticipating a huge shift towards remote working, what we have now is completely unexpected. Your top talent understands that in order to survive in this new world, they must equip themselves with skills of the future. Hence, there is no better way to retain your top than to encourage reskilling and upskilling.

Additionally, even if the company goes through hiring freeze, your knowledgable and agile employees will be able to meet the business needs.

Retaining top talent through hard times is important so that, once you are back to business as usual, you’re able to scale up as quickly as possible with the best talent.

4. Cross-function Teams:

Ann Francke, head of Chartered Management Institute, rightly said, "This is unprecedented. It may change the workplace forever. Everyone will need to embrace a different sort of workplace behavior."

The business dictionary defines a cross-functional team as a group of people with different functional specialties or skills, responsible for carrying out all phases of a program from start to finish.

Cross-functional teams are now more important than ever.

How teams communicate and work together will determine the chances of survival of a business in this crisis. It is time for the organization to bring all the departments together such as HR, Sales and Marketing, Finance, production and formulate a strategy to overcome the Covid 19 crisis.

Reskilling and Upskilling can help employees to better understand various job roles in the organization. This will then lead to strong cross-functional teams in the workforce.

5. Boost Employee Motivation:

The final advantage that I would like to mention is boosting employee morale. Employees are having a hard time adjusting to the new work-from-home arrangement. Lack of human interaction often leads to feelings of isolation and hopelessness among your people. Uncertainty about the future, personal, and financial safety are prevalent thoughts.

When the organization invests in reskilling and upskilling it can go a long way. It builds the right mindset, greater team collaboration, employee-loyalty and greater employee satisfaction.

This article is written by Darshana Dutta. She works as a Content Creator and Digital Marketer at Vantage Circle. She writes extensively about various topics under the umbrella of People management and Company Culture. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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