Upskilling the workforce through retraining


As industries go digital and accelerate the need for talent, the demand for ‘skill that has value’, increases. No doubt, Knowledge, as factor, touches every part of a business virtually and it puts the learner in the center of action. It is the knowledge that develops problem-solving skills to navigate the challenges.

But skills and knowledge go hand-in-hand. In fact, skills can explore massive opportunities to those who realize its potential and can siphon it to produce elite levels of work- In terms of quality and speed. As the Harvard Business Review mentions, AT&T has undergone a massive talent overhaul and it is one of the few who considered upskilling the workforce.

Retraining, in this context, had conveyed the latest information to the workforce, thus embracing change.

AT&T employees, as HBR quotes, ‘signed up for a deal that was entirely different from the environment in which their business operated.’ As the cloud-based technologies have evolved recently, the company needed employees efficient at coding, data science and other technical capabilities. Retraining costed them $250 million but the employees filled half of all the technology management jobs. This approach reduced its product development cycle by 40% and increased tie-to-revenue by 32%.

The above example is exactly the reverse of what some employees, sometimes, hastily label retraining (as checklists), calling it a mundane process to be met by the organization. Here, retraining gave an edge to the regular trainings.

Employability can be defined as the set of traits- skills, understandings and personal attributes- that enables individuals to gain employment and is mutually beneficial to the workforce and the economy. Though assessing the quality rests with the organization, it is important for an organization to identify skills that a company needs, to create internal growth pathways for future.

Organizations should invest in technology-enabled learning experiences to extract value out of the individual capacity.

According to the International Data Corp., Fortune 500 companies loose $31.5 billion a year by simply failing to share knowledge. Companies should build learning environments and make learning a routine, to stimulate cultural change and innovation.

Retraining can involve recording the experiences while the employees are at the driving seat. This can create a new perspective to the already existing situation and can drive the intellects to perform better. Imparting knowledge with right amount of skills can solidify their understandings through a reasonable logic.

Adopting ways to continual assessments

David Garvin, in his book, “Learning in Action: A Guide to putting learning organization to work” has quoted an example of the U.S Army’s After Action Reviews (AAR), where they have yielded results through routine learnings. After every important activity or event, the teams review assignments, assess their outcomes and look for ways to improve.

Retraining can help capture learnings from experience and updated knowledge which can then streamline operations and improve the existing processes.

Industries are poised to thrive; and so are the individuals working with them. Both can work in integration to produce valuable and concrete results. One must systematically tackle information relevant to the industries, and knowledge helps to keep the attention where it is most productive. James Cash Penney has rightly quoted, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together”,

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