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How can companies skill their employees in the hybrid workplace?


Spring was blooming and people were ready to go to their offices when the worldwide lockdown was announced. The Covid19 pandemic had entered the lives of people with a terrible shock.

What could they possibly do now? The work industry was in a state of utter helplessness. Offices remained shut for a while. Eventually, it was realised that something needs to be done. The virus was here to stay for quite some time and there was nothing one could do to wipe it off.

The Work-from-home culture was introduced. It is a system wherein people work remotely at the ease of their homes. It was predicted that the employees would have to follow the WFH system for a very few months. On the contrary, almost two years have passed and 70% of the population still works from home.

Unfortunately, many employees lost their jobs due to multiple reasons. The prime reason behind losing their job was not being relevant in the industry anymore.

The existing skills of employees were not enough to back a secure future for them in the future. Additionally, McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers—or 14 per cent of the global workforce—would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence.

It called for an urgent need to upskill and reskill the employees.

Upskilling refers to the learning of new skills to be better at their existing jobs.

Reskilling occurs when an employee learns new skills to perform a different job altogether.

Now, many companies are wondering how to remove this skill gap before it is too late? The demand and supply imbalance is likely to shoot high in the future.

It is because, with the onset of the pandemic, many people were fired. But, a lot of job positions were empty. This gap occurred due to a lack of skills among individuals.

The work culture is hybrid. Employees already have a lot on their plate. When the employer adds skilling tasks to the schedule of their employee, they feel overburdened. Thus, employers need to make sure that the process takes place without causing burnout.

Furthermore, employers must consider upskilling and reskilling themselves as well. The work culture is ever-changing and it would not compromise on perfection for anyone.

How to address upskilling and reskilling to your employees?

When the employees are already adapting themselves to the rapid changes taking place in the environment, approaching the upskilling and reskilling programme can be hard.

Employees must feel like they are overworking and are also likely to refuse the programme.

While it is the complete discretion of the employees to garnish their skills further, light must be thrown to the importance of reskilling and upskilling. The relevance of the employees in the future would depend upon the skills they possess.

Here are a few ways by which upskilling and reskilling can be approached:

1 . Estimate your current state and identify your future position

Every company has several business goals. The goals may be short-term or long-term. When companies fulfil one goal, they move on to another one.

A company cannot fulfil these goals by itself. It needs a well-managed staff with the right skills to help it reach the desired position.

Thus, during the process of estimating the current state of an organization, it should identify the skills the employees already possess.

It can be done by conducting a Skills Assessment. The skills assessment method is an effective way to understand the skills already in place.

It helps in the easy identification of skills gaps. After this process, a Learning Needs Assessment shall be conducted.

Once an organization figures out the skills needed by its workforce, it has to assess the techniques of the learning process. What should the learning process cover? Where learning methods and channels should be used?

Once the organization has a clearer sense of the skills and capabilities of the existing workforce, what is needed to achieve future goals and the learning curriculum and methods that would fit the company, it can then create a roadmap for the journey ahead. This learning roadmap will capture the strategy to be used to upskill the workforce and ensure the organization will have the necessary skills and capabilities it needs to flourish in the future.

2 . Invest in learning

When an organization refuses to invest in providing learning to its workforce, it is not saving the funds of the company. It is simply delaying the investment further.

Companies should have thought of training their workforce even before the world was hit by the pandemic. Now, it has become the need of the hour.

Most of us were taught in a classroom learning environment. While classroom learning is the most effective learning so far, it is still declining. In some cases, it is remotely impossible to implement learning through classes.

The upskilling and reskilling modules can be taught by many learning methods. Companies can hire training agencies who can successfully implement learning via distance with their methods.

Some learning mechanisms are:

  1. Virtual classroom learning- It is two-way learning led by the facilitator but the learner and the teacher do not have to be together. It can be done with the aid of video-conferencing platforms, audio calls, etc. Necessary learning material is provided through Learning Management Systems. The learning takes place in a structured manner.
  2. Friendly learning- This is formally referred to as formal learning. The learners can interact with their peers over messaging platforms in LMS. Learning from and with one’s peers help in boosting up the competitive environment. It sharpens the learner’s motivation to learn. Peers can also help each other in case they get stuck somewhere.
  3. On-demand learning- This form of learning is voluntary. When an individual is genuinely indulged in a specific topic, they look for more content that can help them get a better idea of it. It can be provided in the form of QR codes, podcasts, material on the web, etc.
  4. Self-driven learning- This form of learning is highly attractive. It focuses on giving the learners enough freedom to explore the topics by themselves. It can be done by gamification, self-assessments and breather quizzes.

3 . External Influence

External experts have a lot of influence on learners. An organization can invite experts from different industries to talk about specific skills in the form of webinars.

It helps in bringing a newer perspective among the learners. It is different from the traditional methods of learning and reaps fruitful results.

The learners can ask questions that come to their minds and can have access to practical solutions to those. Industry experts are not teachers. They are people who are perfect at their jobs and share their practical experiences.

This helps in bringing a new perspective for the workforce altogether. When like-minded individuals interact with each other, learning becomes fun. It can easily be done through platforms like Google Meet or Zoom nowadays.

4 . Practical application is vital

Once the learners have successfully learnt what they aimed to learn, their skills must be applied practically. Experience plays a major role in retaining a useful piece of information.

Experiential learning prompts the learners to think out of the box. They face new challenges during this process. When they think of solutions to those challenges, they are learning something new and better already.

The costs born by the company for upskilling and reskilling the workforce can be borne by simply implementing what has been taught.

The company moves one step closer to the goal that it sets in stage 1. Learners can now be allowed to work in different fields. Internal hiring to a higher level can also take place. It saves the company from the additional costs of hiring.

Final Thoughts

The idea is to simply get started with upskilling and reskilling as soon as possible. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the pace of changes that were already set to take place. In this hybrid environment, the best thing that any organization can do is to train its staff to be prepared for the future.



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