I’ve always been a bookworm, or a nerd, or whatever term we have for it. You know the type – homework ready in no time (and a little extra), reading was my absolute favorite pass time and a debate on the subjects I loved would awaken me in an instant. Long story short, school was my playground, I knew the rules and I was ready for every challenge, the bigger, the better. As time went by, I started to think that I will miss that period a great deal because once it’s over, it’s over for good…
…little did I know. After a while, it felt like school was just the foundation of what would become, over time, my creation. I discovered that education and learning never has to end, that it could be as wide and diverse as I wanted and that every piece of knowledge and information would mold me into my future and a more adaptable self. Thus, learning as a lifelong journey became a very dear concept for me even though I perceived my willingness to enroll on course over course as my peculiar trait, but I wonder…
…is it really just a whim or a necessity? It seems that nowadays, more than ever before, learning is not only necessary, but vital, and to be more specific, I’m talking about upskilling – learning new skills to carry out the same job, usually using upgraded and advanced methods, and reskilling – the development of additional skills to help people get ready for a new job or new responsibilities.
Nothing is constant, but change is inevitable, as well as challenges – those we can predict (like the digitalization of processes, the changing technologies that disrupt the way things work) and the “black swans” (like the crisis we are currently living). So upskilling is the answer to be future ready. Companies survive times like these solely with a workforce that is flexible, agile, and ready to learn.
According to McKinsey there are six steps to reskilling (that could also apply for upskilling):
- Rapidly identify the skills your recovery business model depends on
- Build employee skills critical to your new business model. Start upskilling the critical workforce pools that will drive a disproportionate amount of value in your adjusted business model. Build a no-regrets skill set (a tool kit that will be useful no matter how an employee’s specific role may evolve. Focus on four kinds of skills: digital, higher cognitive, social and emotional, and adaptability and resilience).
- Launch tailored learning journeys to close critical skill gaps
- Start now, test rapidly, and iterate
- Act like a small company to have a big impact
- Protect learning budgets (or regret it later). Companies should not cut their employee-training budgets. According to the Training Industry Report, US data during and after the Great Recession showed a significant drop in overall training expenditures in 2009 and 2010, followed by a surge in 2011 and a drop back to 2008 levels in 2012. What this tells us is that if companies cut their learning budgets now, they’re only delaying their investment, not netting a saving—especially since the current crisis will require a larger skill shift than the 2008 financial crisis did. Use your training budget to make skill building a key strategic lever for adapting to the next normal. Don’t waste two to three years and forego the efficiency and resilience you could develop now. What you can and should do is focus on the resilience of your learning ecosystem: make it both more digital (including in-sync digital components to replace in-person ones) and more accessible to your employees.
Upskilling will be one of the most important ways for companies to equip their people with the skills and competencies they need to be future-proof. How you go about the upskilling of employees depends on your specific needs, both from an organizational as well as an employee perspective, amongst which would be relevant nowadays digital expertise and cognitive, emotional, and adaptability skills.
Companies cannot be resilient if their workforces are not. Building a learning culture and a healthy empowering culture is critical for organizational success. This time is pivotal to assessing the talent you already have in your company and to plan for their development in such a way that, after the pandemic, you could scale up as quickly as possible. How would you optimize learning and development processes?
Let us be by your side and transform nerd into cool. With our Hive you can overcome traditional learning and development, by using our customized approach of training as a learning journey.