Why All Leaders Must Care About Employee Upskilling and Reskilling
>> Reason #1. Your employees are living in a time of exponential change.
So much about the workplace and the world has changed during the last two (plus) years.
Your employees have experienced and are still experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes evolving remote or hybrid workplace arrangements, new technology, increased knowledge and workplace skills requirements, and a myriad of other job-specific changes to stay relevant in their workplace.
Your employees are being flooded every month with new or updated workplace data (information), policies, and procedures.
Hopefully they are adapting well and learning how to manage continuous change. Have they developed ‘change management’ skills and strategies to help navigate the next workplace change challenge?
If they are struggling to keep up with the workplace changes, it's time to reassess how much they need to intentionally upskill and reskill their current job knowledge and skills in anticipation of future changes. Your most important organizational asset is your employees. Change is not going stop…. ever!
>> Reason #2. Your employees’ workplace value is directly tied to their knowledge and skills (competencies)
Organizations are paying employees for how well they do their jobs. If their jobs change due to organizational changes and marketplace dynamics, and they don't adapt well, then they can't perform the new job requirements to the required competence level.
This not only impacts their daily job performance but also who your organization serves – your clients / customers.
It's bad news if your employees can't learn and adapt faster than the speed of change.
>> What Should You Do?
All leaders need to identify and prioritize the knowledge and skills their employees need to gain (upskill) or improve (reskill), in anticipation of workplace changes.
What actions can you take today to help them keep ahead of the changing workplace requirements?
Action 1. Assess Your Employees Current Job Competence Levels
All employees are on a Knowledge and Skills Competency Continuum from:
no knowledge….limited knowledge…..knowledgeable…..high knowledge…..expert knowledge
unskilled….moderately skilled…..skilled…..very skilled…..highly skilled
Where are your employees on the Knowledge and Skills Competency Continuum for their jobs?
Take time to assess each of your employees’ competence levels for both knowledge and skills. By taking an inventory of your most important assets (your employees’ knowledge and skills) you will gain a better understanding of what learning initiatives to implement.
Action 2. Identify Potential Categories of Significant Upcoming Workplace Changes
No one anticipated the highly significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic would have on the workplace. The work from home (WFH) requirements caused massive changes to how and where work was conducted. Everyone had to pivot very quickly, especially in terms of using new technology.
Technology will continue to evolve (even more quickly because of the pandemic). So ‘technology’ continues to be a major change category for all organizations.
What other major organizational change categories will impact your organization and employees? It could be ongoing or new change categories like ‘supply chains’, ‘automation / atomization’, ‘competitor innovations’, ‘products / services life cycles’, etc.
Each major change category will either showcase the strengths or demonstrate the weaknesses of your employees’ current knowledge and skills. Reflecting on and anticipating the impacts of these anticipated changes is what good leadership is all about.
Action 3. Develop an Employee Reskilling and Upskilling Plan
For sure, your employees will need new knowledge and skills to successfully handle any upcoming change. Proactively identifying and planning ways to upskill and reskill your workforce will be critical. It will give you and your organization a major competitive advantage.
Take time now to develop an organization-specific Employee Reskilling and Upskilling Plan to ensure you have the right people with the right knowledge and skills to handle any upcoming changes.
Once you see indicators that a significant workplace change will happen, engage your employees in high value reskilling and upskilling to meet that challenge.
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