Tech Talent: The Benefits of Upskilling and Reskilling in a Post-COVID World


This article by Ashwin Bharath, co-founder and CEO, Revature addresses the challenges that several enterprises are facing due to COVID-19. He highlights the benefits of implementing reskilling and upskilling initiatives for the workforce.

Over the past six months, we’ve seen enterprises scale their infrastructures to meet digital requirements in record timing. What would typically take years to build and deploy took days or weeks across thousands of enterprises allowing them to quickly adapt to ‘the new normal’ and transition to working remotely. The rapid implementation of new technology has left IT leaders across the enterprise rethinking their workforce, including the talent they need to have on staff in the future and the budget restrictions that may hold them back.

Hiring tech talent today comes with unique opportunities and challenges. For years, several analysts and researchers have reported the need to optimize operations and upgrade technology stacks and infrastructures to support digital growth strategies. However, the challenge of talent gap across the technology sector has not resolved alongside the predetermined enterprise demand. 

According to a February 2020 survey by MckinseyOpens a new window , 87% of companies said they’re experiencing skill gaps or expect them within a few years, a number that has shifted since the pandemic. Still, in reality, it is a strong indication that the majority of enterprises, regardless of budget and accessibility constraints, must lean into upskilling and reskilling initiatives to support the overall demand of technical skills needed to survive.

Learn More: How Automation and Reskilling Can Boost Employees’ Careers

Advantages of Upskilling and Reskilling

In addition to being a very cost-effective way to remain competitive and provide your employees with growth opportunities, there are several other long-term benefits to upskilling and reskilling a workforce. Businesses should begin by using the pandemic as a springboard to start an internal development initiative. 

When leaders activate a workforce development program, they empower employees to obtain new technical skills, sending a positive message of belief to their employees, further sparking personal development, and generating self-motivation. By fostering an inclusive educational environment, enterprises can expect to see a significant boost in department and team collaboration, increased productivity, and a positive workforce perception when it comes to the company’s overall reputation. Let’s look at some advantages of launching upskilling and reskilling initiatives within the enterprise.

1. Creates alignment

To kick-off a reskilling or upskilling program, assessments must be completed on the company and its employees. Similar to an IT project launch, a roadmap must be in place to understand where the company is today and where it is expected to be ten years from now. In parallel with this, companies must run a skills gap analysis on employees to ensure the team’s aptitude and skill set aligns with the technical skills required to help the company reach its long term goals. Once aligned, the outcomes will be more attainable. 

2. Strengthens Employee Retention Rates

Onboarding new employees requires a healthy budget, coordination, and company time. According to a pre-COVID report by LinkedInOpens a new window , the technology industry boasted of the highest turnover rate at 13%. Initiating upskilling and reskilling programs can increase employees’ sense of value, mindset, and confidence to do their job and successfully contribute to the company’s bottom line. Overall, investing in your employees will aid in long-term commitments and company growth. 

Learn More: Reskilling Talent Will Be an Unavoidable Part of HR in the Future. Here’s How To Prepare.

3. Reinforces a positive culture 

Culture can make or break a company. Coincidentally, tech teams thrive in collaborative environments – they can solve problems, map solutions, build, and create. Working in the IT industry can feel very siloed at times and, depending on the role, secluded. When upskilling or reskilling becomes a company priority, it can positively impact the overall mood, outcome, and morale of the company workforce.

4. Increases employee productivity

Nobody wants to hire people who can be replaced by automation and machine learning. A study by McKinseyOpens a new window  found that 400 million to 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030. However, upskilling and reskilling provides a solution for this. There are several skills IT teams must be equipped with today to maintain oversight of automation and machine learning, including cloud migrationOpens a new window , data and analytics, and security. Companies that provide reskilling or upskilling initiatives can reduce the fear of job elimination and broaden the team’s expertise, making them a versatile and irreplaceable asset.

Learn More: IT Leaders: Don’t Overlook Security Awareness Training for Employees

5. Creates an agile team

It’s important the workforce can act quickly to meet market changes and customer demands and respond to accelerated timelines. The IT department was the backbone of many businesses and their ability to scale and remain resilient throughout the pandemic. They faced numerous accessibility and mobility challenges to meet the demand for a remote work environment. Reskilling and upskilling employees enable businesses with the ability to plan and project what skills may be required to navigate future disruptions.

When leaders invest in programs to support their employees’ growth, they’re also supporting the adjustment to change, a soft skill that is crucial to surviving in today’s evolving environment. However, a development program must be thoroughly planned and executed with an inclusive learning model to drive results successfully.

Overall, it is not always about hiring and spending more, but sometimes, looking within an enterprise and investing time into your biggest asset – your employees.

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