To skill or not to skill

Deloitte’s 2020 Human Capital Trends highlights that:

  • 53% of HR leaders think they’ll have to reskill their workforce
  • 50-100% of the workforce will need reskilling

Reskilling is defined as training for employees who have shown they have the aptitude for learning a completely new occupation. You may have heard a similar term, upskilling – which is training employees for their current role in a new way, for example using automated tools or leveraging new processes or best practices.

Why are reskilling and upskilling both critical today? Because companies want to retain their employees while gaining an unfair advantage on their competition. Their current employees are already familiar with the company, its processes, its culture, its customer base, its environment – and that past investment can pay major dividends as the company tries to evolve to meet new market demands.

Leaders are faced with this question: what skills, for which employees? How do we pivot the workforce to success when there is so much uncertainty? How are matches to be made between people and skills?

Gartner reinforces what Deloitte highlights: The approach that 77% of learning and development executives adopt to reskill the workforce is falling short.

The problem with traditional approaches to reskilling is that the only information available is the skills – the skills the employees currently have, and the target skills. But that approach falls short because behavior is the main driver of success in a role; and while skills can be acquired, behavior is much more challenging to change. The Wall Street Journal emphasizes that a new approach is required altogether:

‘We need a Waze for your career,’ says one labor expert.


A new era: behavioral understanding

The reports above stress that behavior is required to match skills – and by mapping behaviors to objective performance metrics, leaders can understand which behaviors are key drivers of success in a role. The underpinning of the “Waze for your career” is this match – what behaviors are required to be successful, providing a roadmap for which skills can be acquired to cross the “finish line”.

A typical reskilling/upskilling workflow looks like this:

Major change in environment (What changed? What are customers requiring now?) -> Evaluation of goals (What is working in the new environment?) -> Understanding resources (Do we have the people and processes to achieve the goals?) -> Reskilling/upskilling decision (Who needs what in order to be successful in this new world?)

This requires an objective understanding of what drives success in the role. Unfortunately companies today have limited visibility into what drives success, and the prevalence of remote work has made that harder to see. That’s why companies are turning to behavioral tools such a fit-to-role platforms to understand what drives success in a role, and from there, draw a roadmap on reskilling paths, learning and development, career paths, succession planning, and more.

There are 3 steps to making reskilling and upskilling efforts succeed:

  1. Job analysis. Understand behavior that drives success in roles based on objective performance. This can be done with the Aptology fit-to-role platform
  2. Position management. Understand what opportunities for reskilling exist – where employees have a high fit score – so they can be a great fit for a new role, and can be complemented with skills, training, learning and development to be successful
  3. Gap analysis. Understand what opportunities for upskilling exist – where employees are a fit for their role and need new tools to become high performers

Key performance metrics corresponding to these efforts are:

  • Organization visibility into average FitScore for the position employees are currently in
  • Improved performance
  • Retention, career pathing and improved succession planning – includes have multiple successors identified internally based on objective behavioral and performance metrics

Want to learn more? Book a 15min overview of how leading companies have moved the needle on reskilling and upskilling leveraging behavioral data.