How to plan the perfect employee reskilling program

Viren Kapadia December 28, 2020
How to plan the perfect employee reskilling program

In today's age, the nature of jobs is changing at a never-seen-before pace. Not only this, several jobs often become obsolete. The Future of Jobs Report, 2018 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggested that by 2022, as many as 75 million jobs in the top 20 major economies would be displaced. As against this, around 133 million new jobs would be created owing to various technological advancements and businesses undergoing their digital transformation.

As per a McKinsey Global Survey, as many as 87% of senior executives admit to either facing skill gaps already in their organization or expect to face them in the coming 5 years. What this means is, for individual employees to stay relevant in the job market, they need to constantly update and upgrade their skills.

Investing in the reskilling of employees is also beneficial for businesses. This is because if the existing employees do not have the necessary skills to perform on the job, they would have to be replaced by new ones. And for a salaried employee, the average replacement cost is up to 6-9 months of salary. Thus, reskilling is important not just for the employee to remain employable and worth retaining, but also for the company to avoid costs associated with frequently replacing employees. Before we discuss how to plan an employee reskilling program, let us understand what the term refers to.

What is Employee Reskilling?

Every employee in a specific role is bound to have a set of skills. However, if that role is threatened to become obsolete, and yet you want to retain the employee because he or she has demonstrated a good track-record and dedication toward work, you would want to move him or her into a different role within your company. For this, you would need to help them acquire new skills. This process of training an existing employee to acquire new skills to take on a different role is called reskilling. Reskilling is different from upskilling in the sense, upskilling refers to the process of enhancing existing skill levels to improve performance in the same role as against a new role.

Planning an Employee Reskilling Program

The following steps would serve as a guide to plan employee reskilling programs in your organization:

  1. Identify the right candidates for reskilling
  2. Not every employee in your company would be worth investing in for reskilling. So, the first step towards planning the reskilling program is to identify the right candidates to involve. You would typically want to look at candidates who are:

    • Good performers in their roles
    • Employees who perform well in their existing roles can be expected to perform similarly in their new roles after reskilling

    • Self-Starters
    • To be worth investing the reskilling expenses on, the employee would need to possess a sense of ambition as also the inclination towards continuous self-improvement. Only such employees would enthusiastically participate in a reskilling program.

    • Ones who possess good time management skills
    • It is essential to note that while the reskilling program is conducted, the employees are still in their previous roles. Thus, it is important to ensure you only pick those employees for reskilling who would be able to manage their time and continue to deliver in their existing roles without compromising on their work output.

  3. Identify new roles for employees and skill gaps
  4. When you choose to move employees into their new roles, you need to analyze on an individual basis, which employee would be suited for which new role based on their pre-existing skills. Only once you do this, you would be able to map which employee lacks which skills to be able to perform in their new roles.

  5. Devise personalized training programs
  6. This is perhaps the most critical of all steps because this is where the eventual success or failure of your reskilling program would be decided. Once you have identified the employees that are to be reskilled and new roles for each of them, you need to put them on to the actual reskilling program. This has to be done on a personalized basis because:

    • Different employees will possess different skills and lack different skills
    • Different roles that each of them would have to move into after reskilling would have different skill requirements

    Thus, you cannot have a "one size fits all" approach towards reskilling. Once the individual skill gaps are mapped, you would have to devise personalized training programs to plug the skill gaps. Ideally, you should adopt a mix of different types of training which could be as follows:

    1. Certification Courses
    2. An employee could be asked to take certain certification courses which are either developed by the company in-house or over platforms such as Coursera or Udemy.

    3. In-Company Mentoring
    4. You may assign a personal mentor to the employees that are to be upskilled, who would guide the employees into developing new skills

    5. On-the-job Training
    6. Another way to go about this (ideally this could be done after the employee is put through a set of necessary certification courses) would be to get the employee to observe how to handle the set of tasks that his or her new role entails and then attempt to do the same on their own.

    Given the fact that different training methods as described above serve different purposes, ideally, it would be wise to adopt a blended approach towards the reskilling exercise.

    Step 4: Evaluation

    A reskilling program comes with its own set of challenges. It is not always possible to accurately map the aptitude of an employee with a new job role that he or she is sought to be trained for. Therefore, evaluation of the effectiveness of training becomes paramount during the reskilling exercise. This would require you to devise a set of tests that would not just test the retention of new learning, but also to check how well they can apply their new skills in the new roles.

    Once you plan your employee reskilling program, the next big hurdle is to effectively execute it. And it is here that an AI-enabled LMS such as GyrusAIM can be extremely beneficial. Not only does GyrusAIM allow you to effectively schedule and deliver the training, but it can also intelligently customize the learning experience to maximize the effectiveness of your reskilling plan.