We’ve all seen the news — many companies are laying off employees due to looming economic conditions. Almost every day, there are stories about heavy hitters across all industries who are in the process of mass layoffs or instituting hiring freezes. There are many factors that go into such widespread cuts and industry experts anticipate these trends could have a serious negative impact on employee morale and future hiring.

Companies are grappling with forces like unstable economic conditions or they are looking ahead to 2023 budget planning with sober resolve as they make these critical decisions over the coming months. With organizations like Amazon laying off as many as 10,000 employees and Meta and Salesforce following suit, along with dozens of others, many of us may be wondering how these companies have the resources to weather such large-scale restructurings. More importantly, we should be asking what lessons we can take away from how these companies right the ship after a lengthy period of pandemic-induced outsized growth.

If your organization is facing a similar dilemma of having to move forward with a downsized team, you’re going to need to figure out how to do more with less. So how can you maximize your current team’s performance during a time of great upheaval and restructuring? The key is identifying skills gaps and investing in upskilling.

Upskilling is the Key

Skills gaps refer to the disparity between the skills that your workforce needs to perform their job well versus the skills that they actually possess. How many of the problems your company faces are the result of skills gaps? When these skills gaps go unaddressed, the fallout can be catastrophic. Without the necessary skills to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, your employees will likely have a less-than-stellar work output, could easily become stressed and thus face burnout. After repeating this cycle over and over, they may even choose to leave your company — and if you’re already working with a downsized team, losing talented people you’ve trained and invested in comes at a real cost to the health and profitability of your company.

Upskilling is a great way to avoid such outcomes and to create a new form of organizational efficiency. Although this may appear to require a daunting investment of time and money, the investment is more than worth it. According to Gallup, the expense of replacing a salaried employee can be up to two times the employee’s annual salary. And turnover can cost far more than just money, including lowering the morale of other employees throughout your organization. Alternatively, by dedicating resources to upskilling, your company can cultivate a culture of continuous learning and development (L&D) with your employees that will allow you to leverage your existing team, ensuring that you are still able to retain your top talent through tough times and beyond.

Maximize Team Performance with Upskilling

Upskilling can strengthen your current team’s capabilities by closing skills gaps in the face of a downsize. This can help ensure that the business operates according to plan, despite any workforce changes. Here are some tips on how to use upskilling to help maximize your team during restructuring:

1. Create a skills map.

After a series of layoffs, there may be a noticeable loss of certain skills in your organization — on the other hand, there may also be team members who have a broad scope of potential abilities that currently remain untapped. For this reason, one of the most important first steps you can take in the wake of a corporate restructuring is to create a skills map. This can help you determine where the skills gaps are in your workforce and what skills are still needed to fill them.

Once you have a sense of how the landscape of skills and skills gaps have shifted during your company’s restructuring, you are in a much better position to move forward with a plan that will allow you to maximize your team’s efficiency and effectiveness.

2. Retain top talent by investing time in their growth.

Now that you know what your current workforce is bringing to the table, it’s important to ensure that the employees who are still a part of your team want to remain a part of your team. According to LinkedIn Learning’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career, and yet, that same report says that the No.1 reason employees feel held back from learning is because they don’t have enough time. This means that no matter how many upskilling opportunities you make available to your workforce, if they are being stretched too thin with their time and the number of projects and deadlines they are expected to meet, they will not be able to take advantage of those opportunities.

Organizations need to make digital and on-the-job training a priority by giving their employees dedicated, paid time during the workday to focus on learning. The time and money that you invest into this will save you the pain and even more costly loss of your top employees as they seek out other jobs that prioritize helping them to advance down their career path. Remember, if you invest in an employee’s future, they will be much more likely to invest in yours.

3. Engage your workforce with high-quality online training and performance management.

To help track and manage your team’s upskilling progress, you need to find the high-quality online training and performance management system that is right for your organization. Fortunately, there are many advanced technology solutions that can make impactful online learning and training and performance management a seamless part of your employees’ experience. For example, modern learning management systems (LMSs) are able to flex with your specific industry’s needs and functions, streamlining assigning, tracking and reporting on course completion, ensuring your teams have the knowledge they need to stay safe and compliant.

Upskilling Benefits Everyone

Ultimately, the best way to not only survive, but to thrive through a corporate restructuring is to have a fierce commitment to your team. Understanding their abilities and their skills gaps and then investing in their upskilling by providing high-quality, online learning can result in an organization with maximized efficiency — and a team that actually wants to continue working for your company.

With many organizations facing an increasing need to downsize or restructure their team, targeted upskilling will ensure that, even if your team is small, they remain mighty.