How to develop a reskilling culture

Learn how to empower your people to build new capabilities

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By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

The launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 opened up a new world of possibilities for businesses across the globe. Leaders are eager to integrate AI into their daily workflows to supercharge productivity and empower their people to spend more time prioritizing higher-level tasks. 

While a future hallmarked by human-machine collaborations sounds promising, those visions for better ways of working will never turn into realities if companies lack key AI skills. Yet, many employees feel like they’re falling behind when it comes to preparing for the AI age. According to recent surveys, 86% of workers lack AI skills and only 45% believe their employer is helping them upskill or reskill.

So what does it take to set your organization apart from the pact and earn distinction as an employer that’s committed to helping people grow with your business? Ultimately, leaders must cultivate a culture that empowers their entire workforce to hone the skills that the future of work demands. 

What is reskilling?

Reskilling is training that equips workers with skills that aren’t directly tied to their current role, but are still valuable to both the company’s business priorities and the employee’s personal ambitions. For example, if a software engineer was looking to leverage their expertise in software engineering to apply to marketing roles, this employee would benefit from opportunities to train in copywriting and editing. Learning these types of skills would help them reskill so that they could move into a marketing role that aligns with the needs of their business, as well as their own career goals.

Why is reskilling important?

Reskilling is going to be particularly important in the years to come, as AI innovations promise to transform the way we work. Over the next five years, the World Economic Forum predicts that nearly a quarter of all jobs will change significantly and 69 million new roles will be created. 

Given these forecasts, it’s easy to understand why so many organizations are kicking their reskilling efforts into overdrive. Since all skill-building initiatives aren’t created equally, it’s up to HR leaders to devise an impactful reskilling program that will unlock all of the potential benefits that these programs have to offer.

How do you prioritize reskilling?

With so many challenges on leaders’ agendas, some executives may struggle to prioritize reskilling. In particular, they might have uncertainty about which skills their people need to build first. Rather than guessing what knowledge may become more important in the future, leading companies are harnessing skills intelligence tools like Gloat’s Skills Foundation to ensure their learning and development processes are future-fit. These systems even include job and skill benchmarking, allowing leaders to see which capabilities are on the rise and on the decline, as well as how the competition is positioning their jobs so they can gain a leg up.

Leaders must also ensure their entire workforce has access to learning opportunities. In the past, reskilling was often reserved for a select few employees. Since everyone can benefit from learning new skills, executives should encourage people across their organization to participate in skill-building activities. Talent marketplaces can drive participation by generating suggestions for projects, gigs, and full-time roles that are tailored to employees’ skills and interests.

Benefits of reskilling the workforce

Some of the top benefits associated with cultivating a culture that prioritizes skill-building include:

#1. Reduce hiring, training, and consultant costs

When companies don’t prioritize reskilling, they usually need to rely on external hiring or bring in contractors to bridge emerging knowledge gaps. However, this often comes with a high price tag because it’s 1.7 times more expensive to recruit, train, and onboard new talent than it is to promote from within.

#2. Bridge the skills gap

Companies that prioritize reskilling are also generally more efficient. Instead of letting skill gaps delay internal processes and limit employees’ ability to pitch in on various tasks, organizations with effective skill-building programs can ensure their workforce has the knowledge needed to lend a hand to other departments and tackle high-priority challenges as they emerge. 

#3. Increase employee engagement and satisfaction

If you want to retain your employees, think of skill-building opportunities as your first line of defense. It’s a surefire way to improve engagement and satisfaction because developing new skills gives people a sense of accomplishment and reinforces their value, both inside and outside of their organization.

#4. Future-proof your workforce 

Reskilling enables employees to continue to prove their value to the business, even as consumer demands shift and priorities change. Rather than having to fear for their jobs, employees who work at companies that prioritize reskilling can feel confident that they have the pathways needed to build knowledge that will enable them to move into another role within their organization.

#5. Retain company knowledge and processes 

Employee turnover comes with a high price tag. In addition to the costs associated with recruiting, bringing new hires up to speed is a challenging process because they must get familiar with internal processes. Once employees have built up their organizational knowledge, it’s in every leader’s best interest to work hard to retain them—and reskilling is a smart way to do that. When employees feel like their employer is supporting them through their development journey, they will feel more connected to their organization and more eager to stay on board. 

How to develop a reskilling culture

If you’re eager to encourage your workforce to level up its skill-building efforts, here are a few steps to get started:

#1. Leadership commitment and role modeling 

Leadership sets the tone for culture—and skill-building is no exception. Executives should strive to partake in their own development opportunities, such as honing new skills that will help them make strategic decisions about generative AI use cases. Rather than keeping these learning endeavors to themselves, leaders should talk about their experiences openly and promote them on social media to encourage other employees to follow in their footsteps.

To go the extra mile to create a learning culture, leaders and managers must also move away from talent hoarding mentalities and instead encourage team members to try new things and contribute to projects elsewhere. Prioritizing talent sharing will enable employees to build stronger working relationships with peers across the organization and ensure that managers always have somewhere to turn when looking for an extra set of hands for a high-priority project.

#2. Assess and identify skill gaps 

Before launching a reskilling initiative, leaders need to take a step back and assess where skills lie, what knowledge gaps are emerging, and the areas of expertise that will be most valuable to hone. To create this in-depth understanding, many executives will conduct a skill gap analysis to pinpoint which learning and development initiatives should be prioritized. 

Once leaders are aware of their organization’s knowledge gaps, they can use AI-powered skills intelligence tools to identify employees with transferable skills who can be reskilled to fill high-priority roles. The systems can show different ways to bridge existing talent gaps by reskilling internal talent as opposed to external hiring. 

#3. Create personalized learning pathways 

While content-based lessons can help employees get familiar with a subject, hands-on experience is essential for building genuine expertise. To help employees deepen their understanding of various areas of the business, everyone should be encouraged to participate in projects and gigs within other departments. Many visionary companies are harnessing talent marketplaces to generate suggestions for projects, gigs, and even full-time roles that align with employees’ current skill sets and career ambitions.

#4. Make it easy to find development opportunities

Even when leaders invest in pathways for learning and career development, many employees struggle to take advantage of them because these resources are dispersed among a wide array of tools and systems. Since companies have an average of 70 different applications for employee development, there’s often uncertainty about where to go to find various skill-building resources. Instead of letting siloes and bottlenecks hold people back, leading companies are utilizing an opportunity hub to centralize all volunteering, learning, and training resources—in turn encouraging employees to take advantage of them.

The urgency of reskilling

Skill-building has always been important but recent events are raising the stakes. We’re now in what’s often called “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, a time in which advances in AI and automation are revolutionizing the way we work. 

Now that the pace of change is accelerating and the half-life of skills is shrinking, developing new competencies can no longer be an afterthought. Since research points to emerging skill needs and the creation of many new jobs in the coming years, it’s up to leaders to prepare their people for these shifts. New jobs will come with new sets of required knowledge, which is where the increased need for reskilling comes into play.

Reskill your workforce in the age of AI

The rise of generative AI only reinforces the sense of urgency around today’s skill-building imperative. More than one-third of employees report that their organizations are already using generative AI in at least one function and 40% say their companies expect to invest more in AI overall.

As businesses explore new AI use cases, the skills their workforces need will undoubtedly change. AI-powered tools are likely to take on many administrative tasks, meaning employees who are currently responsible for this work will need to hone new skills to complete functions that are higher-level and more strategic. Consequently, leaders must develop reskilling initiatives to prepare their people for a future of work that’s hallmarked by human-machine collaborations.


To learn more about how skills intelligence tools can help your organization prepare for the future of work, check out our buyer’s guide.

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