In a February 2020 McKinsey study, “Beyond hiring: How companies are reskilling to address talent gaps,” nearly all organizational leaders report that their organizations currently face skill gaps or expect gaps to develop within the next five years. Business areas with the greatest potential skill gaps include data and analytics followed by IT, mobile, and web design. Nearly all survey respondents explain that closing potential skill gaps is a top priority for their organizations. However, an uncertainty about what skills their existing talent hold, and what job roles will be disrupted in the near future is a resounding theme.
Enter COVID-19, and such uncertainty is only amplified. It’s clear, the need for reskilling and upskilling now centers on delivering new business models in a rapidly changing global environment.
What does this mean for your 2021 talent strategy?
Disruption and unpredictability are not going away anytime soon. You can prepare your organization for a new normal by aligning changing business goals with your people capabilities. Here is a suggested roadmap for next steps.
First, define reskilling and upskilling in the context of your organization.
- Reskilling refers to changing skills for a different job function; for example, a retail worker decides to acquire the capabilities necessary for a role in the healthcare profession.
- Upskilling refers to changing skills for the same job function; for example, a teacher with experience as an in-person classroom instructor must gain e-learning skills to succeed as a virtual classroom instructor.
The next step in crafting a reskilling and upskilling plan for your organization is to identify your skills needs. Gather your senior leaders and talent management team to discuss the following:
- What capabilities do our staff have that will help us accomplish our vision and mission in 2021?
- Which skills are lacking in our workforce?
- What are the most important skill gaps we want to prioritize in the near-term? What skill gaps are less critical?
Next, determine how you will meet your skill gaps in the coming months with a mix of reskilling and upskilling initiatives. You will want to focus on both internal employee development and external hiring as needed.
- Reskilling with internal staff: Do you have employees in your organization who are interested in changing job functions? If so, what learning and development opportunities are available to help them successfully make this switch? What are your metrics for reskilling success?
- Reskilling with external staff: After auditing existing talent, what skill gaps remain? What is your hiring plan to fill those gaps? How can you create development pathways through professional education and on-the-job training to attract high-potential, motivated talent?
- Upskilling with internal staff: A smaller lift than reskilling, upskilling internal staff typically requires a strong learning and development strategy that includes a mix of new knowledge mastery, skills assessment, on-the-job training, and coaching.
- Upskilling with external staff: For prospective employees who want to continue a career in your organization while honing existing capabilities, onboard them while they pursue new skill opportunities. For example, hire a new employee with the understanding that the individual will complete a specialized certification within his first 90 days.
Broader skills such as agility, resilience, business acumen, and digital savvy are necessary for success in this new working normal, regardless of an employee’s job role or function.
As you look ahead to your 2021 talent strategy, Brighter Strategies is here to help you envision and execute your reskilling and upskilling plans. Contact us today to learn more.