Why Reskilling and Upskilling Efforts Fail

 In Assessments, Culture, Individual Leadership, Leadership, Organizational Development

Why Reskilling and Upskilling Efforts Fail

There is no question that today’s atmosphere of unrest is influencing how businesses operate. In fact, the pace of change has doubled and tripled in some industries, forcing organizations to evaluate and prioritize workplace skill development to adapt and stay relevant. Yet, most reskilling and upskilling efforts will fail, and it is not due to a lack of effort. Organizations spend millions of dollars and employee hours supporting these efforts. Efforts fail because they lack data.

Missing Road Map

Effective upskilling and reskilling activities begin with solid and measurable goals or purposes that are aligned with the organization’s strategy. No, “Keeping employees happy” is not enough. Solid and measurable goals incorporate the organization’s current state, mission, and desired future state. And, they are supported by leadership. Employee development assessments provide unarguable data about the organization’s current state and, assessments with internal benchmarking tools, provide insight into future states. For instance, assessment tools, like PXT Select, incorporate competency models aligned with O*Net.

Clarifying the Current State

Reskilling and upskilling activities require dedicated effort from talent development teams, leadership, and employees. Often organizations employ development assessments to collect data about employees’ current skill sets, in hopes of creating a picture of the current state. With the enormous number of assessments and promised return on investment, picking the right assessment can quickly become an overwhelming and often confusing process. For assessments to be effective, they must assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities in question. For instance, if math skills are needed, it is important to define the exact type of math skill. Assessing an engineer’s ability to solve calculus problems is far different than assessing an accountant’s ability to complete a ledger. Math is important in both roles, but the knowledge, skills, and abilities being measured are different.

Evaluating Assessments

Employee development assessments evaluate and measure different knowledge, skills, and abilities in a variety of ways. As you consider assessments, first identify what you want to measure, and then identify what assessments have valid and reliable measures to narrow your search. Reputable assessment providers are eager to supply proof their assessments measure what they say they measure and do it reliably. Assessment providers that put the work into ensuring their assessments are valid and reliable share the information widely and update their research on a regular basis. Quality providers also examine their assessments for internal biases and take steps to eliminate them.

Further, the assessment tool must be easy to use. While combing through data and reading details may be interesting, it is not useful in your focused upskilling and reskilling efforts. Be sure that the data is accessible to the individuals who need it.

Leveraging the Data

Like industry and customer data, employee assessment data can create a roadmap for reskilling and upskilling. Employee assessment data creates a clear picture of the knowledge, skills, and abilities and illustrates critical opportunities for upskilling and reskilling.

Equipped with a road map, leaders and talent development professionals can identify the appropriate reskilling and upskilling activities for their workforce. This data-driven approach improves the likelihood of success and reduces wasted time and resources on training for the wrong skills or skills already present on the team.

So, let us ask you:

How is your workforce pivoting during this time?

What innovative ways are you upskilling or reskilling your workforce?

What are you using to collect data to help you make the best decisions?

We welcome (and read) all comments and would love to hear about your experience.

Not ready to share openly? That’s okay. Contact us directly at info@whereleadershipbegins.com.

Also, if you’re a new leader, either to the organization or promoted from an individual contributor role, we recommend you download our ebook here.

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  • Rachel

    Meica, this was a well-written article, and I really enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to write it. The information you shared really highlighted, for me, the importance of using a quality employee training platformwhen onboarding, reskilling, and upskilling employees. We’re seeing a surprising rate of deskilling right now, and organizations need to stay on top of regular training. Trained employees perform better, offer better customer service, and complete their jobs faster. And we’re also happier, especially in today’s remote world. I’ve worked remotely for years, and I can confirm that it’s more difficult to maintain and implement your skills in a home office. But with the right support network, employee training platform, and resources, it doesn’t need to be this way. Employee assessment data is so valuable to keep an eye on where training is needed, too. I loved your section on leveraging the data an organization collects to illustrate the best opportunities for upskilling and reskilling a workforce. Roadmaps, leaders, and talent development professionals are essential to success in our virtual world! Thanks again for sharing this. The workforce I’m a part of is really coming into its own during this focus on remote work, and I hope others can do the same.

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