Over half the global workforce will require reskilling by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). In it’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020, the WEF predicts that 85 million jobs will be redundant by then due to tech innovation and automation, while 97 million new roles will be created.
This has huge implications for organisations and for L&D departments, many of which are already operating with a skills deficit. It means reskilling is an urgent business imperative, not an optional extra.
Recent research by 5app and business partner Hemsley Fraser, Learning & Development Impact Survey 2021: The Evolution of Learning and its Role in achieving Business Success, found that 52% of organisations are under pressure because of skills gaps. Many are also suffering financial constraints – lack of budget was cited as a major barrier to success by many of the survey respondents, alongside Covid-19, technology, a lack of time and a lack of resources. And almost half (47%) said there would not be an increase in learning budget in the year ahead.
How can L&D meet learning and reskilling needs on a limited budget?
So, how can L&D navigate a way through this rapidly evolving learning landscape, making sure the organisation has the skills it needs today and tomorrow, when it only has limited resources at its disposal? The first step has to be ensuring you’re getting the most out of the resources already existing in your organisation.
So much knowledge exists in organisations but can your people find it easily and quickly? Can they find the best, most up to date and relevant knowledge? A lot of the time the answer is no, according to research by the software company Panopto. It found that knowledge works lose 5.3 hours every week either waiting for colleagues to send them important information or recreating knowledge that already exists in the organisation.
Don’t let that happen in your company. Make it easy for people to find and share information, skills, expertise and ideas, learning from and with each other. Greystar, a global leader in real estate management and development, uses 5app to facilitate knowledge sharing and to drive learning and reskilling. It created the Greystar Business School as the company’s learning and communications hub. Part of that involved the L&D team curating and creating playlists and providing a whole raft of learning activities and resources. And it has really worked.
Content curation has been slowly building over the past five years or so, but it really came into its own when Covid-19 took hold. Why? Because content curation is a great way to swiftly pull together resources on a range of topics and share them with a remote workforce. Think about wellbeing for example – a lot of L&D teams curated internal and external employee wellbeing resources in the early days of the pandemic to share with the workforce.
Learning and reskilling
In order for learning to be effective, it needs to be targeted. Know what your learning needs are, at an organisational and at an individual level. What skills does the organisation need in order to meet its business objectives? And what skills does the workforce need to help the organisation meet those objectives? If you don’t have the skills, how will you help employees reskill? Digital skills are critically important. According to research by Accenture, the data skills gaps costs the UK economy $13.17bn a year.
Covid really demonstrated the importance of organisational agility as well. Lockdown precipitated seismic shifts in where and how people worked. Organisations that were able to shift rapidly to agile ways of working and learning really benefitted. But, in order to be agile and responsive as a business, learning and reskilling have to be a priority. Research from The Open University (OU), Business Barometer 2020, found that 61% of organisation are struggling to be agile because they lack the right skills.
Technology is your friend when it comes to learning. It offers a cost effective way of providing highly personalised, effective learning. It facilitates all of the important qualities of an agile workplace – agility, collaboration, knowledge sharing, communication and so on.
The other important element that needs to be in place is leadership buy in. Get leaders on board with the learning and reskilling agenda. When leaders role model the desired behaviours, it enables learning to flourish. Hemsley Fraser also uses 5app and the company’s CEO is totally behind it. For example, when the workforce transitioned to remote working during Covid-19, he posted video messages on 5app every three days. One time, there were 198 views from the 200-strong staff within half an hour of posting.
All of these organisational attributes – reskilling, learning, agility, knowledge sharing and curation are key to the modern workplace. They also all come under 5app’s three pillars of agile learning.
To support the development of individuals and teams, by curating the digital learning people need to develop their skills.
To improve operational performance, by curating the information and resources people need to do their job.
To connect people with what is going on in the organisation by curating the news and information people need.
If the top team needs convincing of the importance of investing in learning and reskilling, be prepared to make the business case. Ignoring the learning and reskilling needs of your workforce is likely to cost the business more in the short and long term. Consider these figures:
- The OU’s Business Barometer Report reported that UK organisations spent a whopping £6.6 billion plugging short term skills gaps in 2020, an sizeable increase from the £4.4 billion spent in 2019
- McKinsey research shows that upskilling tends to produce a productivity lift of between 6% and 12%
- External hires are paid between 18% and 20% more than reskilled employees, while performing less well for the first two years and being more likely to leave, according to research by the online business analysis journal Knowledge@Wharton.
It’s not long until 2025, so if that WEF report is anything to go by, there’s no time to waste. Don’t put it off - invest in learning and reskilling now. Having a strong learning culture will help close the skills gap and will enable you to keep building the skills needed for the future.
Use a platform that supports employee learning, reskilling and upskilling. 5app can support your L&D strategy, create a learning culture and aligning learning with the business needs and objectives.
Get in touch to find out more.