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Five Reasons Reskilling and Upskilling are Critical for HR in 2023

A ChapmanCG HR Network Poll Commentary

Earlier this year, we shared our global consultants’ predictions on what trends will shape HR in 2023. We then asked our LinkedIn network to narrow these down to the top priority in their mind. An overwhelming 57% of our respondents favored Reskilling and Upskilling.

And they are not alone. In PwC’s Global CEO Survey, over 70% of CEOs were concerned about their companies’ lack of available skills. ChapmanCG Senior Director Nicola Hasling takes a closer look at why reskilling and upskilling employees should be an HR priority in 2023.

Engaging and Retaining

Most employees want to be challenged and see clear opportunities for growth. Upskilling provides options for personal and professional development, and employees who feel their employer is invested in their career path are likelier to be loyal and engaged. According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends, employees who move internally, whether upwards or laterally, broaden their skills and are more likely to remain with their company. 

Through its Live Better U education program, Walmart gives associates the opportunity to earn degrees and certificates to advance their careers without the burden of education debt. Partnering with academic institutions, Walmart delivers programs tailored to adult and working learners and offer these free of charge to part-time and full-time employees from day one.

Preparing for Inevitable Change

In the next few years, most jobs will look completely different from today, and many will no longer exist. According to The World Economic Forum (WEF), more than half of the active workforce needs to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace the changing nature of jobs, and 1.1 billion jobs will be transformed by technology in the next decade.

Upskilling and reskilling employees allow companies to prepare for these changes and, at the same time, retain high-performing talent and institutional knowledge. In addition, by reskilling them to transition into lateral roles in the company, they equip their workforce with the necessary skills and know-how to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. 

The WEF Reskilling Revolution is already making great inroads, having reached 350 million people to date. The initiative aims to provide better education, new skills and better work to 1 billion people by 2030.

Staying Competitive

The job market is still highly competitive, and the pressure to attract top talent is on. By investing in its people, leaders demonstrate a commitment to employee development and growth, an attractive perk for new recruits, especially Millennials and Gen Z. According to LinkedIn’s Skills Advantage Report, the opportunity to learn and grow is the number one factor that defines an exceptional work environment.

Amazon launched its Upskilling 2025 initiative as part of its commitment to preparing workers for a more digitized workplace in the future. One of the opportunities offered is the Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship Program where employees attend classes and receive on-the-job training in preparation for work as mechatronics and robotics technicians. By learning on the job, employees learn the practical applications of new skills, preparing them for internal moves, which in turn benefits both the individual and the company.

Driving Innovation

Undoubtedly, AI and technology have a massive impact on changing and eliminating operational roles. As a result, employers face significant skills gaps, with existing employees lacking the required new skills. Finding that talent externally today is becoming more challenging. Investing in upskilling employees to adapt and embrace new technologies can bring new ideas and perspectives to the business.

When AT&T found that only half of its employees had the STEM skills likely to be required in the future, they decided to future-proof their in-house talent pool by reskilling existing employees today to develop the competencies required to run the business tomorrow.

Making a Positive Impact on the Bottom Line

Finally, hiring new talent is an immense cost, which will only increase as the market becomes more competitive. However, being proactive in implementing a reskilling and upskilling strategy will save time and money and allow companies to get ahead in their workforce planning processes, develop the skills they need when needed and reduce turnover through investment in their employees.

In summary – future-proof your talent pool. Upskill to keep up with current trends, reskill to prepare for lateral moves. This ’re-purposing’ of talent will be critical in 2023, and those who do not invest in developing a flexible workforce will quickly be left behind.

Do you agree? What does your company do to reskill and upskill its workforce? Join the conversation here.


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