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Reskilling: A modern way to transform the skills of your workforce

By Team Multiverse

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  1. Reskilling vs upskilling
  2. Why should employers consider reskilling?
  3. Use reskilling to deliver skills transformation at scale
  4. Close your skills gaps with Multiverse

As the pace of technological change accelerates and the business landscape continues to evolve, reskilling has become an increasingly critical priority for companies seeking to maintain a competitive edge.

Today 70% of executives(opens new window) say they’re focusing on reskilling over hiring — up almost two-fold from 41% in 2020. Yet one in three US workers(opens new window) have few to no digital skills, despite being employed in roles that require moderate to complex computer usage.

Now is the time for employers to lean in and embrace a corporate training strategy that goes beyond surface-level learning. With the right approach, you can use reskilling to meet your current and future business challenges.

Reskilling vs upskilling

Though the terms “reskilling” and “upskilling” are often used interchangeably, they are two very distinct practices. Let’s look at the differences between them.

Reskilling: Transitioning employees into new roles

Reskilling refers to an employee learning the skills needed to move into a new role that does not have a direct relationship to their current position. For example, an employer could reskill a customer service representative into a new role in data analytics, or a retail associate into an open position in software engineering. A real example of this is our partnership with Direct Line Group, who is one of the first employers in the UK to offer customer advisors in contact centers a pathway to becoming data specialists.

It’s worth noting that reskillers may be at different points in their career – what makes them distinct is they learn an entirely new skill set and transition into a new role. This learning can take shape in the form of a bootcamp, online learning, or formal education.

Despite the range of options, research from McKinsey(opens new window) suggests that many reskilling efforts are unsuccessful because they simply aren’t practical enough. Employees learn best by training for the scenarios they will encounter in their work.

This has led many employers to update their strategies to include applied learning opportunities where reskillers can make clearer connections between their training and the requirements of the new role.

This is where professional apprenticeships come into play. A professional apprenticeship is a practical alternative to college and corporate training that focuses on applied learning, combining foundational knowledge with real on-the-job application. Through professional apprenticeships, employers can deliver a better route to growth by finding, training, and supporting talented individuals, wherever they are in their career journey, and equipping them with in-demand tech, software engineering, and data skills.

Upskilling: Elevate employees in their current roles

Upskilling is teaching the advanced skills required for an employee to become more effective in their current role or department. For example, upskilling an account executive with data and analytics skills to create data-based reports for clients.

While reskilling prepares individuals to take on new roles, upskilling ensures employees can succeed in their current positions as technology continues to change and evolve.

As with reskilling, an effective employee upskilling program must be about more than ticking off an online module or securing a one-day training certificate.

Learn more about the ins and outs of employee upskilling in this blog post: Employee digital upskilling: Why it matters now more than ever

Why should employers consider reskilling?

Three big advantages to consider when it comes to reskilling include creating a more fair and inclusive workforce, saving money on hiring new talent, and improving employee retention.

#1: Reskilling can help build a more equitable and inclusive workforce

Despite the tech industry's steady growth in the past two decades, the demographic makeup of its workforce does not reflect that of the overall American workforce. According to CompTIA(opens new window), Black and Hispanic/Latinx individuals are underrepresented in tech roles and a recent study(opens new window) by The National Fund for Workforce Solutions revealed that people of color are overrepresented and underpaid in frontline jobs, resulting in significant costs to the US economy.

To address this issue, reskilling programs can help promote greater social mobility and provide a competitive advantage to companies by generating higher revenue per employee(opens new window) and greater profitability through inclusive talent practices.

#2: Reskilling can decrease talent-related costs

Reskilling offers a strategic solution during economic downturns, allowing employers to fill high-priority positions and achieve goals with limited resources while avoiding recruitment expenses. It can also be an alternative to layoffs and has been found to be 20% more cost-effective(opens new window) than traditional hiring methods. By reskilling current employees, companies can decrease ramp times, retain company and industry knowledge, and offer clear mobility opportunities as roles become redundant.

This approach offers significant cost savings by avoiding recruiting and onboarding costs associated with external hiring and reducing redundancy costs such as severance.

#3: Reskilling can help improve employee retention

While many employees express a strong desire for professional development opportunities, companies often rely on short-term courses or workshops that don't guarantee long-term skills retention. This approach, combined with the forgetting curve(opens new window), can make it challenging for employees to apply their newly acquired skills in a meaningful way. However, professional apprenticeships that integrate training into day-to-day workflows can offer a more effective and sustainable approach to reskilling. Not only can this reduce annual turnover costs, but it can also provide employees with meaningful career pathways and help them progress into new high-growth roles.

Discover the true value of an effective reskilling program. Download our free guide to dive deeper into the benefits of reskilling and learn how to measure your reskilling success, including clear formulas to help you calculate your return.

Use reskilling to deliver skills transformation at scale

Despite the clear benefits, employers often find it difficult to execute an effective reskilling program.

Here are some of the common stumbling blocks you may encounter when planning to reskill your workforce:

  • Identifying the most critical skill gaps and career progression opportunities
  • Sourcing a candidate pool of employees interested and motivated to participate in reskilling
  • Assessing candidate aptitude for new roles
  • Training your employees to be successful in completely new roles

Let’s take a closer look at how a robust skills training program like professional apprenticeships can solve these challenges.

Identify critical skill gaps

Start with a clear plan to find the right reskiller candidates.

For example, it may be beneficial to offer career progression opportunities for parts of your organization that experience high attrition or expected layoffs. It’s also important to see which parts of the organization may have transferable skills to different functions.

The right workforce transformation partner can help you identify the best parts of your organization to focus on.

Here’s how it works at Multiverse:

  • We talk to your business leaders to understand their biggest needs and pain points
  • Our best-in-class workforce transformation experts work with you to identify your greatest skills gaps
  • We help you target best-suited career mobility pathways - including which parts of your organization to reskill and which roles to reskill them into

Knowing where to start is one of the most important aspects of building a scalable digital transformation–which is why Multiverse plays an active role in helping our clients get there.

Source candidates

Once you identify your target talent pools, it’s important to effectively source candidates by promoting the opportunity to the target population.

Here’s how it works at Multiverse:

  • We partner with you to generate interest among your target talent pools through  internal-facing marketing campaigns
  • We support your managers by making sure they have the necessary resources to garner interest and answer their team’s questions
  • Candidates learn about the various apprenticeship programs, ranging from software engineering to advanced analytics, and then apply

In just four weeks, you have a completely customized plan for closing critical skills gaps, reducing hiring spend, and launching a hands-on training program at scale.

Assess talent

Once you’ve built demand and attracted the right candidates, it’s time to start assessing the candidates to determine who is best fit for the programs.

Here’s how we make it easy to find the right talent:

  • Candidates create a profile sharing their background, program preferences, and why they are excited by the apprenticeship opportunity
  • We assess candidates for their readiness and potential using our proprietary psychometrics assessments and program-specific skills assessments
  • We create a shortlist matching candidates with the role they are best fit for, and you select from the shortlist your reskiller group!

By month two of the initiative, you have a complete roster of ready-to-learn candidates and a robust learning curriculum to plug them into.

Train talent through applied learning

Not all learning programs are the same.

In an age when uncertainty is business as usual, the most effective skills training programs combine theoretical and practical learning so participants can confidently apply their knowledge to a range of business contexts.

At Multiverse, we work closely with your team to customize our 12 to 15-month applied learning curriculum to account for any specific needs.

Our apprenticeships combine both the theoretical and practical curriculum to effectively equip your workforce with the necessary skills for their new roles across software engineering, data analytics, business operations, and digital marketing.

All of our programs include:

  • A focus on applied learning to help employees retain learned skills
  • Foundational learning for long-term durable skills, like critical thinking, collaboration, or communication
  • 1-to-1 coaching for both apprentices and line managers
  • A global community including peer groups, networking opportunities, and events
  • Accredited qualifications to progress in their industry
  • And more!

By taking a multichannel approach to skills development via professional apprenticeships, you can combine the best of digital learning, practical application, peer support and expert coaching.

Your employees will have everything they need to help you succeed now and in the future.

Close your skills gaps with Multiverse

With the digital skills gap widening, employers face a pressing need to invest in their workforce to remain relevant and adapt to the shifting demands of the marketplace. Reskilling not only enables companies to close their skills gaps and keep pace with emerging technologies but also helps to foster a culture of continuous learning and professional growth. And perhaps most importantly, reskilling helps build an inclusive and equitable workforce by giving lower wage employees the opportunity to move into higher paying roles.

Through reskilling, organizations can build a more agile and adaptable workforce that is better equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the future.

When you’re ready to make it happen, Multiverse can help. Our professional apprenticeships provide reskilling and upskilling programs for existing employees at more than 1,000 businesses across the globe

Reach out to our team today to learn more about how our programs can help you close critical skills gaps and develop a workforce fit for the future.

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By Team Multiverse

17 March 2023

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