Reduce a lag in productivity – Reskill


By Bareena Irwin Tamang

Our workplaces, and the work itself, are changing faster than ever, and the skills learned in academic settings are becoming less and less relevant. Recently, companies have been compelled to swiftly adjust their operations due to the rapid technological advancements that constantly reshape the employment landscape. Leaders and employees feel a need to reskill or upskill to better adapt to rapidly changing conditions and technological advancements.

In its Future of Jobs 2020 report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that 85 million jobs could be displaced by 2025 due to automation and at the same time, 97 million new job roles may emerge due to the new division of labour between humans, machines, and algorithms. The report also says that “on average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less, and 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018.”

Given these shifts in working practices, it is imperative for organisations big, medium, or small to recognise the value of human capital investment and the importance of managing it wisely by providing effective reskilling opportunities. After all, like financial capital, talent is also one of the critical business inputs.

Benefits of Reskilling

For organisations, reskilling employees is a cost-effective strategy. It is comparatively more economical than fresh hiring and offers significant mid- to long-term dividends for organisations. For employees, appropriate reskilling helps them transition to new and emerging job roles, helping them increase their job security while adding value to the organisation.

In a 2020 survey, McKinsey & Company found that most companies that had launched successful reskilling programs said they were better able to address skill gaps caused by technological disruptions or to implement new business models or strategies. The authors deduce that simply getting started on reskilling programs can make organisations better prepared for potential future role disruption—and they say that this strategy is preferable to waiting to start reskilling.

Reskilling not only helps in building workforce capabilities in a fast-changing skill landscape, it also offers some specific benefits including:

  1. Enhances employee morale

Providing reskilling opportunities can have a direct and positive impact on employees’ morale and their productivity. Making employees feel supported and valued can translate into additional or improved productivity, ultimately driving the company’s bottom line. In short, organisations can thrive by enhancing their employees’ skills. Studies have also proven that employees are likely to stay longer if their employer invests in their career development.

  1. Helps to reduce a lag in productivity

Reskilling existing employees not only avoids high hiring and severance costs borne by the organisations, it also reduces the lag in the productivity that typically occurs while onboarding new employees. It takes considerable time and effort in assimilating new hires into the workplace procedures and cultures. By redeploying reskilled employees can avoid this issue simply because these inside employees already have both workplace knowledge and organisation network.

  1. Improves internal skill repository

Reskilling can help an organisation to fill a significant proportion of jobs internally by redeploying its reskilled employees. For organisations, reskilling can serve as an effective means for creating a variety of career paths that facilitate employees to move within the organisation.

  1. Amplifies the company’s reputation

An organisation prioritising its employees’ job security and career development, is naturally a sought-after place. By adopting effective reskilling programs, organisations can build and maintain a strong brand reputation in the market and even send out positive feedback attracting new and retaining top employees.

How to Go About Reskilling – Few Strategies

Building an effective reskilling program has its challenges – such as difficulty in understanding skill gaps and potential high costs involved in implementing a reskilling program. However, there are organisations that have effectively managed these challenges to reap the benefits of reskilling. Some of the reskilling strategies to consider:

  • Identify redundant skillsets: This process helps an organisation to identify employees who are being displaced from their roles; take corrective action to manage the displacement, and redeploy employees into the jobs of tomorrow.
  • Identify skill gaps: Understand skill gaps at both the organisational and employee levels. The skill gap analysis at the organisation level helps the company assess its current capabilities and the skills it requires. The skill gap analysis at the employee level helps the organisation to assess its employees’ current level of skills, including whether they have the required capacities to address and meet organisational challenges and opportunities.
  • Embrace EdTech platforms: Organisations can collaborate and take support from EdTech companies for implementing reskilling initiatives at scale. For instance, technology companies can work with EdTech companies to develop and deliver internal training programs that are customised and designed to prepare employees for future roles.
  • Foster a culture of lifelong learning: Encourage employees to view and embrace learning and building their skills as a lifelong process. Some employees may have a notion that learning is an early-stage-of-life activity. Show them how skill training is connected to their career growth. Nudge them with reskilling opportunities. This strategy not only helps the organisation to fill any skill gaps but also helps them to demonstrate a commitment to employees’ career growth.

Upskilling and reskilling play vital roles in today’s evolving workplace. These strategies contribute to improved employee retention, optimised manpower utilisation, and enhanced employee experience. By investing in employees’ professional development, organisations cultivate loyalty and reduce turnover costs. Upskilling and reskilling also align workforce skills with market demands, boosting productivity and job satisfaction. Re-skilling is not just an initiative. It is a process driven by a clear strategy based on assessments of the prevailing skills and required skills. Moreover, these processes create a positive employee experience by demonstrating a commitment to growth and fostering a culture of continuous learning. To ensure success, organisations must assess skills gaps regularly, anticipate future needs, and offer diverse learning experiences.

Navigating the evolving business landscape goes beyond managing remote or hybrid working, or the impact of AI and automation. It boils down to how organisations can reskill or upskill their workforce to implement new business models and be prepared for possible disruptions in the future.

Bareena Irwin Tamang, L&D Lead at AscentHR, is an experienced Senior training lead with over 14 years of experience in the Customer Service Industry, and Learning & Development domain in the HR industry. She has strong skills in areas of coaching, employee learning and development, employee training, customer service training, soft skills and behaviour training, and recruitment. Bareena has completed her MBA in Human Resouces from Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research.



(This article is authored by Mrs. Bareena Irwin Tamang, L&D Lead, AscentHR, and the views expressed in this article are her own)

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