The world has drastically changed in the past two years due to the pandemic accelerating existing trends in work from home, automation and digital transformation.

As a result, up to 25% more workers than were previously expected might need to switch occupations to prepare for the future of work. Moreover, around 1.4 million workers will need reskilling by 2026. In some estimates, up to 35% of employees will need a six-month-long training to obtain new skills, while 10% will require more than one year. It’s no surprise that learning and development (L&D) is becoming increasingly essential for business continuity.

For instance, 94% of employees say that they would stay with a company longer if there’s a significant investment in L&D.

According to the 2020 Chief Learning Officer survey, 73% of L&D professionals agree that their companies will be developing more custom learning content in the years ahead. But before rolling out reskilling programs and initiatives, it’s necessary to know who needs them most and where to start.

Here’s everything you should know about reskilling and what employees need it.

What is Reskilling?

Reskilling is much more than a buzzword or nice-to-have. It helps you maintain your position in the marketplace, gain a competitive edge and cultivate a high-performing workforce.

Thus, reskilling improves internal mobility and cuts recruitment costs. As a process that enables employees to adopt knowledge and learn skills needed for a different job, it ensures top talents can grow in your organization and switch professional paths.

That means you can keep employees who fit the company culture and fill job openings without hiring externally. After all, the selection process doesn’t only involve investing financial resources and time.

It also includes candidate screening — ensuring a candidate is the right culture fit for your team and company. With reskilling, you enable workers who already share your workplace values and objectives to transition to different roles within your organization.

But that isn’t the only time this process is beneficial. Perhaps you have employees who perform job roles that don’t fit their skills, yet they would be ideal for a different department.

Moreover, automation will force many companies to eliminate several job roles. Reskilling helps them accommodate customer needs and create more relevant jobs that old employees can perform just as well.

The benefits of reskilling include:

  • Increased internal mobility.
  • Reduced recruitment and onboarding costs.
  • Enhanced time-to-market by retaining company knowledge.
  • Increased top talent retention.
  • Boosted employee morale.
  • Improved company reputation.
  • Increased employee flexibility and versatility.

If you want to get employee buy-in and move them to different job roles, you should help them understand how reskilling benefits them.

The Advantages of Reskilling for Employees

Employment Engagement, Retention, and Benefits

When employees are insecure about their jobs, they’re 37% more likely to be disengaged in the workplace. On the other hand, feeling valued and having a positive outlook on their future in the company improves performance and confidence.

Reskilling programs let workers know a company has mechanisms that cultivate retention and ensure their stay regardless of external circumstances and job role changes. Thus, it also enables maintaining the same benefits or receiving the ones that come with the new title.

Internal Mobility

The youngest generations in the workforce care deeply about internal mobility, and 41% plan to discuss moving roles or departments with their managers this year. These employees are concerned about the growth possibilities in a company.

Although reskilling isn’t a promotion per se, it allows them to adopt new skills, become more versatile, and be eligible for more demanding job roles.

Professional and Personal Development

74% of employees are willing to learn new skills or re-train to remain employable. Thus, development opportunities are crucial for reaching full potential at work.

Thanks to reskilling, workers obtain new knowledge, abilities and opportunities that feed their personal and career growth.

Lifelong Learning

Technology is continuously changing, requiring new skills and making lifelong learning necessary to stay competitive. Moreover, the average length of a career is 60 to 70 years.

It’s no wonder employees expect employers to help them continually reinvent themselves, shift job roles and find a calling over time.

3 Tips on How to Identify Workers That Need Reskilling

An employee might need reskilling if market trends or business needs force you to eliminate their job role, but you value their expertise and want to avoid losing them. However, this process doesn’t only happen because external circumstances force you to move workers to different departments or responsibilities.

Sometimes employees show significant interest in other areas or demonstrate efficiency in tasks outside their job description. Here’s how to spot these talents.

1. Find Go-getters Eager to Learn

Employees who take the initiative, come to you for new projects and lead brainstorming sessions should be the first to consider. They typically go the extra mile to adopt new skills and expand their knowledge.

Reskilling programs require participants who enjoy challenges and generate solutions that push your business forward. Regardless of company structure changes, you want to stick with these workers.

Besides demonstrating their desire to do more and add value, they have shown you their ability to complete tasks that might not match their job title. Naturally, you will want to leverage their motivation and help them develop further.

As a result, these employees could unlock invaluable potential and help their teams thrive. Moreover, rewarding self-starters can inspire other workers to strive for more and become more assertive.

2. Look for Employees With Stellar Time Management

Efficient time management is necessary for participation in reskilling programs. Workers you choose will have to balance transitioning to a new job role with their existing tasks and responsibilities.

Remember to clarify that reskilling doesn’t mean people can pause their day-to-day tasks. It’s also not a shortcut to promotion.

Instead, reskilling is a growth opportunity that takes time and substantial effort. Because of that, seek employees who can prioritize, delegate and make action lists.

They should also understand how to streamline their tasks to be more efficient. That way, these employees will have an easier time integrating the reskilling program into their schedule without hindering the quality of their current job roles.

3. Seek Among Workers Interested in Reskilling

It isn’t enough to have stellar time management skills and a go-getter attitude. More than anything, reskilling programs require the participation of employees who enjoy actively learning and obtaining new skills.

Avoid forcing people to join without having their buy-in or genuine interest. Instead, look for employees who express their desire to participate and ask questions. Recognize that those most interested in reskilling may come from parts of the organization not always invested in, like front-line workers.

You can also encourage your teams to create their professional and personal development paths. That includes participation in performance reviews, constructive growth discussions and suggestions.

For instance, employees could share what skills could help them improve their careers and how reskilling can accommodate their needs. Moreover, they could determine what parts of their current job roles feed their intrinsic motivation.

Discover what abilities employees possess that they currently have no opportunity to use at work. However, workers who struggle to provide these insights are likely not the right fit for reskilling.

Enthusiastic answers are a good sign they know what they want and how the program could help them achieve it. These are also the employees who would benefit significantly from reskilling and understand how to leverage its value.

Although reskilling helps foster thriving workplaces and is advantageous for employers and employees, not every individual is excited about transitioning to a new job title. Thus, some workers might not be efficient in time management nor enjoy taking on new challenges.

Reskilling program success depends on choosing the right people to participate and make the most of this learning opportunity. Focus on people who take the initiative, can balance multiple responsibilities and show clear interest in obtaining new skills.