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It’s a question worth a trillion dollars: reskilling the workforce

According to the OCED estimates, 1 Billion jobs (1/3 of the Global workforce) are likely to be transformed by technology in 2030. That would mean reskilling 1 Billion people to meet the demand for new skills and jobs. So how is that going to work, and how are companies responding to this challenge?

I posted a LinkedIn Pool this week on this topic: When it comes to workforce reskilling to understand what is the biggest challenge people face on reskilling?

  1. Funding-Capability

  2. Buy-in from

  3. Leadership

Buy-in from leadership is trending at the top. However, I got an offline comment on my poll from a senior HR leader to say that –’ none of the above, the biggest challenge is about the organisation’s culture. The focus or leaders is very myopic, and the efforts on workforce reskilling are not helping to support employee engagement. So that raises a fundamental question – How do we get the Leadership buy-in for workforce development?

Let’s look at these challenges through the lens of employees and the organisation.

What do employees want?

As per the research by Mercer; it is evident that Career development and Learning are the critical factors in Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Furthermore, as per the research, career development yielded the strongest correlations with most outcome measures (motivation, overall satisfaction, advocacy, commitment, and intention to stay.)

Besides the workplace issue and stringent rules applied by some companies; Great resignation is also caused by the lack of inclusion and opportunities to develop and grow. So organisations need to continually monitor and assess the key drivers of engagement and start with addressing the key themes at an organisation level. In addition, all managers should also look at specifics for their teams and individualise their responses. As Leaders you need to reflect on these questions :

  1. What is their purpose in life?

  2. What is their career aspirations?

  3. What are the learning offerings available to all employees?

  4. How can you support their development?

This will help you to better understand your employee’s perspective. Now if you are a numbers person, I guess this still doesn’t add up for you. So let’s look at how will not addressing the reskilling agenda may impact your organisation.

What is the impact on the Organisation?

The cost of attrition and disengagement can be very high, and Business Leaders and CHROs need to understand this in detail. As you do that you will realise the missing link more clearly.

Disengagement can cost a trillion dollars or higher in reskilling, replacing, and the loss of productivity. If we just look at one component,i.e. Loss of productivity, it can be close to 18% of the staff salary as per an estimate by Gallup. So, for a company of 10,000 employees with an average salary of $50,000 each, disengagement costs$60.3 million a year. In addition, we haven’t even considered replacement costs and the overall loss of context and knowledge within an organization, and it’s hard to put a number on that. Now tell me, are you convinced?

Maybe these questions can help you reflect to get a deeper understanding of the reskilling challenge:

  1. How must cost can you absorb due to productivity loss?

  2. What is your overall investment in re-skilling?

  3. What will be the cost of hiring new employees (one component of replacement cost)?

So does that makes sense now to invest in reskilling? which in turn will support the growth of your organisation?

People are key drivers of innovation and growth, and if an organisation wants to be a market leader, the focus on re-skilling becomes even more critical. Longer-term commitment and buy-in from leadership are required to embed sustainable development efforts, and CHROs and Business Leaders need to lean in and take proactive actions. Remember, your competitors may quickly build similar products, but what differentiates you is your people. I hope this helps build a holistic view of workforce reskilling, a human-centred perspective, and the commercial advantage.

Are you facing similar challenges in your organisation as a Leader? What additional insights do you have to share with others? Leave your comments on my Linkedin post. 



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