It can sometimes seem like the world is changing more rapidly than ever before. It seems that every week brings with it a new technology, app, trend or method of working that renders what came before it obsolete. Your company should be prepared for these changes.

In 2020, businesses all over the world discovered just how important it is to be adaptable and ready to respond to unforeseen challenges. COVID-19 forced many employers to make fundamental changes in how they function to cope with adversity in their sectors and comply with restrictions enforced by the pandemic.

Those that took steps to ensure their workforce had the right skills to respond to these unique circumstances were the best-placed to succeed. As noted by McKinsey, 'companies can't be resilient if their workforces aren't'.

Traditionally, businesses would spot changes coming in their industry and recruit new staff to tackle them if different skills were needed to those the company already had access to. However, this is no longer possible in many sectors. Progress is happening so quickly that this approach would mean rehiring too frequently to be viable.

So what can businesses do to stay afloat in this era of rapid change? One possible approach is to focus on skilling, upskilling and reskilling, treating your workforce as flexible rather than only seeing each employee in a set role. This allows you to transform your workforce without having to hire anybody new, which puts you in a better position to meet the challenges of modern-day business.

To learn more about skilling, reskilling and upskilling, and how these vital processes can help your organization succeed, take a look at our mini-guide highlighting the latest statistics and research in this area.

Skills shortages are a big concern for businesses and industries all over the world. One prediction from Korn Ferry warns that, by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren't enough skilled candidates to take them. This could create a cost of US$8.5 trillion in lost revenue for businesses.

PwC's Talent Trends 2020 report revealed that nearly three-quarters (74%) of global CEOs were concerned about the availability of key skills.

So what’s the answer? One possibility is taking existing members of your organization and training them up. This prevents you from needing to search for specialists, and has the added bonus of providing your employees with an incentive to stay at your firm for the benefit of their development. In the PwC study, 77% of the 22,000 people surveyed said they would be willing to upskill to make themselves more employable.

This requires you to change your approach when it comes to hiring. Businesses should be focused on taking on employees who have the potential to be skilled, looking at qualities like enthusiasm and the capacity to learn. Given that top talent is likely to become more and more scarce as time goes on, this might well be the only practical solution.

reskilling

As technology and the digital landscape change, some jobs are going to become less relevant while others are going to suddenly become crucial. According to the World Economic Forum, the technologies that will see the highest level of business adoption by 2025 include:

  • Cloud computing
  • Big data analytics
  • Internet of things and connected devices
  • Encryption and cybersecurity
  • Artificial intelligence

For some companies, hiring sufficiently skilled and capable people to work in areas that have only risen to prominence in the last few years will be a challenge.

One way around this is to implement a reskilling policy. If you have talented employees working for you, but their area of expertise is becoming less relevant, you don’t want to simply wait for them to become obsolete and then have to hire someone new. Instead, you can retrain them so you can put their talent to use elsewhere.

If you have IT staff working with legacy systems that will soon be phased out, for example, reskilling them to specialize in fields like cloud computing and cybersecurity will prepare your company for the future, while also supporting your employees in their personal growth and development. 

upskilling

Another thing companies need to be prepared for is upskilling. Unlike reskilling, this involves training people up but keeping them in the same roles, rather than fundamentally changing their jobs.

This is a necessity for a number of reasons, but it's especially important because you will need a talented management team to deal with the need for skilling and reskilling. Identifying employees with the most potential and offering them all the training they need to develop into a leader will position your company for long-term, sustainable success.

To learn more about these important concepts --upskilling reskilling and upskilling--  take a look at our mini-guide highlighting the latest statistics and research in this area.