In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, upskilling and reskilling have become critical strategies for organisations looking to keep pace with technological advancements and remain competitive. However, implementing a successful upskilling and reskilling strategy can be challenging. To help navigate this process, we’ve created a report which provides nine key insights for organisations to consider when developing and executing an upskilling and reskilling strategy.
In this blog, we briefly share what these nine insights are:
1. Establish workforce planning for digital transformation
The article emphasises the importance of upskilling and reskilling in building a talent pool to embrace digital transformation. However, for this to be effective, organisations must have transparency about their current and future demand for skills, and a structured framework to prioritise future skill requirements. This strategy should be embedded in a broader workforce planning strategy and involve data-driven enablers and a data system for skills to improve and make the approach more transparent.
2. Track, promote and leverage motivation
Motivation is a crucial aspect of upskilling and reskilling employees, and this can be tracked and evaluated using various metrics and approaches. Companies should consider ways to boost employee engagement specifically in IT upskilling and reskilling. This could include bonus agreements or ongoing rewards for skill acquisition. Such measures should be integrated into a comprehensive strategy for increased employee engagement, which includes personal development opportunities, creating meaningful work, and designing spaces for honest discussion. Upskilling and reskilling are generally popular with employees, with 74 percent preferring to work for an employer that offers such opportunities.
3. Solving the legacy problem through reskilling
Upskilling and reskilling present an opportunity for companies to address the challenge of outdated legacy technologies, particularly in industries like financial services. Modernisation poses financial, technological, and personnel challenges, including resistance to innovation among legacy IT staff. To overcome this, companies can reskill long-standing employees in the new technologies, providing them with the necessary skills while also eliminating resistance to change and driving the transformation forward. This approach addresses future employee requirements while incentivising employees to become personally involved in the transformation process.
4. Automation requires employees and skills
Automation can greatly improve productivity, quality, and cost-effectiveness, making it a key driver of many transformation projects. However, implementing automation requires employees with specialised skills, along with business knowledge and outcomes. Further training is needed for non-specialised personnel. A CapGemini study found that automation caused significant changes in 67% of all finance roles in 2018. Despite this, in Germany, 53% of managers and 57% of employees felt that automation had not yet increased productivity.
5. Harnessing business expertise across the workforce
Integrating business aspects into IT planning is crucial for successful digital transformation. HR leaders can help by reskilling business employees to bridge skills gaps and bring relevant business perspectives into IT. Proven employees from the middle levels with experience in managing complex processes and soft skills are important targets for reskilling, and can be trained for IT tasks with a reasonable investment.
6. Reskilling as a path to cyber-security excellence
The success of digital transformation depends on appropriate cyber security concepts to prevent malicious attacks and cyber incidents, which are a high risk to operational processes and reputation. The shortage of cyber security experts in the tight IT labour market has made reskilling existing staff a good idea. Legacy IT employees are suitable for reskilling with a cyber focus, and the most desirable roles in the cyber security context include cloud security specialists, security operations analysts, and security administrators.
7. Create choices and transparency for employees
The upskilling/reskilling programmes should always be voluntary and fit the employees' future roles. Such programmes should be employee-centric, and the options should consider their preferred method of learning, such as independent self-study. Managers could also recommend courses to employees, although this may create tension with voluntary participation. According to a survey, 56 %of employees are willing to take a course recommended by their supervisor.
8. Upskilling/reskilling reinforces employee loyalty
The cost of upskilling/reskilling measures needs to be justified, but it is important to consider employee retention and workforce planning. Untrained employees can reduce productivity and morale, while upskilling/reskilling benefits both the employer and employee, improving career prospects and loyalty. According to a 2020 McKinsey study, employee satisfaction has improved in 73% of cases where such measures were implemented.
9. Partnering to scale
The sharing and acquisition of knowledge across ecosystems is crucial in the digital transformation era. Upskilling/reskilling efforts can benefit from external expertise, especially in areas where internal expertise is lacking. According to a study by CapGemini, many companies still lack upskilling and reskilling expertise, learning infrastructure, formalised programmes, and prioritisation of digital upskilling and reskilling.
To summarise, upskilling and reskilling are essential in the context of digital transformation, as they ensure that employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to the changing business landscape. Companies should take an employee-centric approach to upskilling and reskilling, offering voluntary programs that are tailored to individual employee interests and preferences. An investment in upskilling and reskilling can result in benefits such as improved employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and improved workforce planning.
Our “Upskilling and Reskilling in the Context of Digital Transformation” report discusses the importance of upskilling and reskilling employees in the context of digital transformation. It provides insights and recommendations on how companies can develop effective upskilling and reskilling programs for their employees. Download the full report here for more insights.