The average half-life of skills is now less than five years. Many knowledge workers will discover that AI and other new technologies have altered what they do.
Discussions about the job market usually focus on jobs created and destroyed. But most workers will find that jobs change. Day by day, skill by skill, the basic building blocks of a job are repositioned until the role looks much different than it did just a few years ago. Yet the job title—and the worker in the job—may remain the same. Many will find that they are effectively working in completely new fields.
The need for continuous reskilling is apparent. What must companies do to make reskilling a core competency? Read on…
- Treat reskilling as a strategic imperative.
Companies need a plan to develop the skills to deliver on their business strategy. They should take steps to reassure investors and other stakeholders that they have such a plan. This can start with a sharp articulation from the C-suite of how skill-building ties to strategic business priorities. Companies should position skill building as they do other investments. They can dedicate a budget to strategic skill building and measure how it is spent. Doing so will signal the workforce that the company is invested in them.
- Make sure every leader and manager is responsible for reskilling.
Reskilling requires a profound commitment from HR leaders, but the rest of the organization must understand the strategic relevance of those investments. Companies must ensure that leaders and managers have responsibility and accountability for bringing new learning to employees. Indeed, managers have a crucial role to play in reskilling—and beyond.
- Approach reskilling through the lens of change management.
Companies must do more than just train employees. They must develop a winning organizational ethos. Reskilling is a complex change management initiative that requires a simultaneous focus on many tasks. BCG research focused on AI talent, for example, found that companies need to find new ways to excel in four areas: anticipate talent needs, attract best-in-class candidates, develop talent quickly, and engage AI talent with an unmatched value proposition.
- Meet employees where they are.
Leaders say that one of their biggest challenges in reskilling is persuading employees to participate. However, two-thirds of workers are aware of the coming disruption in their fields and are willing to reskill. Companies that treat their workers respectfully and lay out the benefits of reskilling initiatives will have an easier time. How? Treat employees as partners. Design programs from their point of view. Dedicate adequate time and attention.
- Know that reskilling takes a village.
Many companies recognize that reskilling requires partners. Governments can incentivize reskilling investments, industries can collaborate with universities to develop skill-building techniques, and NGOs can connect corporate talent needs with disadvantaged and marginalized populations. Coalitions may be more effective than individual organizations when it comes to meeting the reskilling challenge.
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