The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs Report states, “Business leaders across all industries and regions will increasingly be called upon to formulate a comprehensive workforce ready to meet the challenges of this new era of accelerating change and innovation.” This means that up to 75 million jobs could be shifted by 2022, meaning nearly half of our workforce will need reskilling to fill approximately 20,000 vacant U.S. job roles.

However, only 30% have received training in the last year to get closer to that target. Business leaders are going to have to meet employees at their point of need and implement strategies that create opportunities for them to build on the skills for the future.

Amazon recently announced it will spend $700 million to retrain and develop its employees over the next six years, as workers with capabilities such as adaptability, technological literacy and people-management are in high demand. What is your business going to do about this talent shortage, and how will your talent development strategy meet the demands of the modern business landscape? How do we adequately prepare tomorrow’s workforce while retraining the hundreds of millions of employees whose roles are quickly evolving?

The skills gap may be closed by looking internally and exploring ways to make upskilling a priority for future success in your organization. Afterall, upskilling and reskilling significantly increase retention and engagement.

Development strategies for an employee must be considered on an individual level; each employee has different goals, as well as unique skill sets that benefit the company. Before our workforce approaches us to develop new skills, it’s important for us to think about how they fit into the organization and – more importantly – to understand what their current capabilities are. Here are four actionable tips for developing your organization’s new upskilling initiative:

  • Meet with organizational leadership regarding strategy, retention and succession plans. Discuss how talent development and leadership can play a significant role in employee retention and organizational growth. Discuss the skills your leaders believe to be the most critical, and then do research on capabilities needed for success in the future of work. Do an assessment of the current roles with your human resources partners; who has these capabilities today? Who can grow them?
  • Evaluate your current curriculum. Is it flexible enough to withstand change? Are there growth-related activities, events and opportunities? Conduct an inventory on the resources you have. Will they support the context and content needed to upskill and reskill? What other tools do you need in your toolkit? Where easily deliver and make them available to your people?
  • Propose solutions to address the talent shortage issue in the future of our workforce. Discuss short-term solutions to address these immediately through your current programming. Recommend a long-term strategy that incorporates personal development plans, job-specific upskilling programs, and other talent and retention efforts.
  • Upskilling and reskilling focuses less on teaching currently needed skills and more on developing mindsets and behaviors that enable employees to perform well in tasks not yet defined.

Many future skills are not finite; we’re learning together as we go. We know future skills can and will change as the market changes and technology continues to expand. Our responsibility as talent professionals is to match these ever-changing skills with our organizational strategy.