Modern Reality: Reskilling is Now Essential
In today’s world, hiring the best and brightest may not be good enough. Employers today are faced with having to adapt to rapid technology changes like never before in history.
As a result, the way employers think in regards to training and retraining their employees is evolving. These employers are now investing money in advancing their recruiting and hiring processes to place more focus on their prospective employee’s ability to adapt, react, and grow in this world of rapid technological advancement.
Reskilling is the act of retraining an existing workforce and can vary in approach and objectives from organization to organization. In an interview with Glassdoor, Jennifer Dudeck, Global Learning Leader at Cisco Systems said “reskilling in itself is not unique from what’s always been done with learning. Companies have always had learning and development programs to keep employees current with their skills.” What makes it different today is the combination of the significant role technology plays and how fast technology is advancing.
According to a McKinsey report published in January of 2018 titled, Retraining and Reskilling Workers in the Age of Automation; “Sixty-two percent of executives believe they will need to retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce between now and 2023 due to the advancing of automation and digitization.”
These executives believe new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Machine Learning will dramatically alter the workforce. These changes will include creating new jobs where people must possess and utilize skills that interact with these technologies.
How Will Companies Approach the Changing Environment?
While reskilling is not an entirely new concept, in the same interview with Glassdoor, Jennifer Dudeck of Cisco also said, “the difference today is the magnitude and velocity of change we are all experiencing and the impact on roles and skills.” With this velocity, companies can no longer expect recruits to come pre-packaged with the specific, ready to employ, skillsets.
Instead, companies are building in curriculums, encouraging employees to take part in the reskilling process by incentivizing them and giving them decision-making authority over what new skills they acquire.
At Cisco, they are preparing for the new world of perpetual reskilling by investing in their learning platform, referred to as a “Netflix of learning” titled Decreed. Like Cisco, many employers are utilizing eLearning solutions, such as LinkedIn Learning (or Lynda).
Glassdoor also interviewed Rajesh Ahuja, Global Head Talent Acquisition at Infosys, a technology services and consulting company. To handle the reskilling problem, Infosys has launched on-site learning hubs “which will teach cutting-edge subjects like artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, and more.”
Similar to reskilling and training, upskilling is a focus directly on improving the existing skillset of a workforce. Robert Half, a global human resource consulting firm, calls upskilling a ‘must-do’ for employers.
While reskilling focuses on providing employees with new skills, upskilling is focused on the improvement of an existing skillset, and allowing individuals the opportunity to advance in their area as specialists.
Unfortunately reskilling and upskilling existing talent is not the entire solution. Job loss is a reality of the environment created by the new demands of the workforce.
Gartner’s research shows, beginning in 2020, a projected elimination of 1.8 million jobs as a result of Artificial Intelligence, however, with that loss they also anticipate 2.3 million jobs created in that same field.
This trend is likely to continue across other technologies; there is no guarantee that the jobs added will outperform the jobs disrupted.
For the long run, executives are candid about their understanding of what lies ahead. In the same McKinsey report, 42% of executives interviewed admitted they “lack a good understanding of how automation and/or digitization will affect (their) future skills needs.” What executives do have is a good understanding of the simple fact that they will need to have the appropriate people and processes to enable a successful realization of the technologies of the future.
To address future skills needs companies will need to evolve.
Traditional company-based training has been fraught with boredom and lack of clear correlation to objectives. That will undoubtedly go away. New training will be enhanced so companies can keep up, and employees will have increased opportunities to gain new skills in the in-demand areas and with more frequency.
Recruiting New Talent
Recruiting talent will still be as important as ever. As we reported in our post, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Blockchain: What to Know Before Being Recruited, their jobs are changing too. From the way they source, identify, and hire talent, to the tools they use – the entire process has already begun to evolve.
For example, as part of Unilever’s recruiting process, candidates play customized games. These games are not for fun. They test for many traits in a candidate, including how they may handle situations in which they don’t have a prepared answer.
Instead, they must solve the problem in real-time. The game captures it all and helps recruiters and hiring managers to make informed decisions.
These new hiring and screening methods can also allow recruiting managers to find candidates they might not have otherwise found. Non-traditional candidates (e.g., from online degrees, technical degrees, certification programs) may see an increase in opportunities as the emphasis is placed more on screening performance than standard university recruiting.
How Should Candidates Prepare for the Shift?
a) Understand Your Value:
Jennifer Dudeck and her colleague at Cisco, Macy Andrews had this to say in their interview with Glassdoor – “you have a lot to offer: use your knowledge and experience to be a passionate problem solver.” There is a theme here; no longer is it enough to know the right answer.
Employers want to see how you process situations when you don’t have the correct answer, including how you handle yourself, what your process is for problem-solving. There is value in the ability to articulate your thoughts, but most importantly understand your skill set and what you’re bringing to the table.
b) Soft Skills:
Jacqui Barret wrote on LinkedIn’s Blog in August of 2018 that “some of the country’s fastest growing roles – sales development, customer success, and customer experience roles – are largely soft skills based.” The need for these skills is not going away any time soon.
Time and time again we have seen that effective communication is critical to job success. Jacqui goes on to recommend LinkedIn courses in “communication, reasoning and working in teams” as ways to improve upon your soft skills.
c) Develop Transferable Skills:
In a post on CareerBuilder titled “How to reskill yourself in today’s workforce,” they detail the transition of a hedge fund analyst to a basketball advisor, they tell us that “any job seeker who can pinpoint a legitimate match between her skills and an employer’s needs has the potential to be hired.” We agree. What does this mean? It means that there is an opportunity for you to land the job when you can clearly articulate the skills you possess with the experience you have to the job that you desire.
Your LinkedIn profile is an integral part of your job search. Whether you want them to or not, your prospective employers are either looking you up or utilizing software that aggregates a profile of you. The first place they will expect to find you is LinkedIn. It is your opportunity to showcase yourself in ways that your resume and cover letter may not be able to provide. Consider LinkedIn your online resume that paints a more complete picture of who you are professionally and personally.