HR Leads Business

Aug 20, 2019 | Clare Chiappetta

Reskilling to Improve Employee Performance

Changes in the workforce are coming — and that future isn’t far away. Automation is set to affect countless organizations over numerous industries in the next decade, and a report by McKinsey predicts that up to 375 million workers worldwide will have to learn new skills by 2030.

With that much at stake, it’s important to get a head start. Your employees can only perform what they’ve been trained and equipped to do, so their skill sets must change with the times. Employees can’t be expected to train themselves. To capture peak performance, it’s up to you to reskill your workforce.

Here are three items to consider when developing reskilling programs to increase performance at your organization.

Discover the Right Direction for Your Team

Before you can take any action, you have to find out what automation-related changes mean for your industry and for your organization. “You can’t prepare for a future you aren’t sure of, so identify the skills your workforce will need in the coming three to five years,” says Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify. “You need to establish a project team who can look at trends and evolving markets and set up a learning plan for your team.”

Brent Colescott, senior director of business strategy and transformation at SumTotal Systems, recommends tapping into change management practices to be proactive. “It captures all the relevant components needed for communication and process relative to moving from the status quo,” Colescott says. “By surveying stakeholders, individuals who are influencers and feedback from a representative audience, changes can be more easily prepared for and absorbed.”

Be Proactive: Get Ahead of the Game

You can’t wait for your employees to evolve and adapt their skills on their own because it probably won’t happen. It’s up to the organization to reskill employees, giving them the best chance at becoming peak performers. “Employees are simply not going to be able to perform in ways that the organization needs unless they are reskilled to be able to deal with coming changes,” Leaman says.

To increase performance for the near future, you have to put reskilling training in place now. Don’t be complacent — change will affect your organization, and you want your team to be prepared.

Give Your Employees Resources — and Direction

Employees need to be engaged to benefit from reskilling. Establishing a pathway to internal mobility gives them the purpose they need to engage in coursework. “When an employer shows interest and investment in an employee through reskilling or new position training, engagement scores go up, which in turn improves overall performance,” Colescott says.

It’s important to provide resources for employees to engage in professional development and reskilling courses, but just because you offer them doesn’t mean they will be utilized. You have to build a curriculum for employees and set small goals to motivate them. “HR needs to work very closely with learning and development teams on the creation of these programs,” Leaman says. “HR has an opportunity to partner really closely with learning and development to make sure that the programs they develop are going to be the best possible, to create the best workforce of the future, today.”