How to Reskill Your Team After COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has blown a virus-shaped hole in the economy and left businesses up and down the country, and the entire world, facing economic aftershocks.
To put it bluntly, recovery is going to be based on who can adapt to the new normal, the fastest.
And, as adaption is all about being able to respond to changing situations well, this means that your team are going to need to learn new skills.
Say hello to the concept of reskilling!
By reskilling your employees, you’ll be able to respond to changing priorities, situations and budgets in your sector, allowing you to stay one step ahead of the competition.
To help you in your plans, we’ve created this guide about how to reskill your team after COVID-19.
1. Define your objectives and identify skills gaps
When the dust has settled from COVID-19, the first thing you’ll want to do is examine the current training situation at your organisation. From there, you’ll be able to work out what skills you need to improve within your team.
Are there any particular lessons that working during the pandemic has taught you about the skills of your employees?
Perhaps you’re discovered unforeseen strengths or weaknesses in the training plan at your company? Maybe you’ve discovered limitations in skills that you weren’t aware of before – or maybe the pandemic and the new normal has even forced your employees to adopt new skills.
Have a think about these key questions and try to assess how your business performance during the pandemic (if you were able to still keep trading) has been affected by the skills of your employees.
From this information, try to pick out a few key objectives that you want to focus your reskilling efforts on.
It could be something as general as ensuring that all employees receive training so that they can work efficiently and safely remotely, or it could be something as ambitious as enrolling high-potential employees on professional qualifications to enhance their overall performance.
2. Identify high-potential employees – and develop them
With your training objectives in hand, it’s time to identify the employees that you’re going to reskill.
One popular approach, useful if you’re working to a tight budget, is to identify employees that show good potential already and to develop their skills. This allows you to ensure that you’re not wasting resources developing employees who might not appreciate – or use – the new skills that they learn.
Traits in an employee that might suggest they would be a good candidate for development include things like:
- Showing a natural aptitude and talent for their job
- Being someone that others go to for help and advice
- Being well-regarded in the workplace
- Going above and beyond your expectations in projects or tasks
- Having ambition and a passion for self-improvement
You’re basically looking for employees that have a good set of existing skills and attitudes that you can build on, and who you can depend on and trust.
If you’re stuck for ideas about how to identify those employees with the best potential, check out our recent blog on the subject – we look at the process in depth.
3. Do some research into relevant qualifications and training
This is an important one. Taking the time to do your research and look at what type of qualifications and training are available in your sector will help you to make your training more relevant.
Take human resources, for example. The professional body in charge of moderating standards for that industry is the CIPD – the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. It designs qualifications which show employers that candidates have a certain degree of knowledge, skill and experience in that field.
The CIPD offers three types of qualifications that cover all stages of a HR career:
The Foundation Certificate is designed for people at the very start of their HR and L&D journey, equipping them with the basics skills they’ll need for a long-term career in the sector. This qualification is really useful if you’re developing an employee who has no or little HR experience but has a lot of potential.
The CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma is the next step up from Level 3. It’s an intermediate qualification aimed at HR professionals with a few years of experience, who are looking to enhance their knowledge.
The CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma is for HR professionals who have significant experience and want to progress into strategic roles, such as senior management.
4. Embrace remote learning
The format in which employees study a qualification or course at work can be a bit of a headache for employers – there are a lot of things like unsupervised time-off, travel expenses, and exams to consider, after all.
But COVID-19 has actually given us one benefit – it’s showed us the value of remote work and remote learning.
The pandemic has obliterated our ideas about physical work, with widespread remote working becoming part and parcel of normal life for months in 2020. Many organisations embraced remote working for the first time in their history and attitudes towards the workplace and work have changed as a result. The idea of needing to be in a particular space at a particular time to do a particular task has effectively lost a lot of the power it once had.
This has a lot of relevance when it comes to training. Remote learning, delivered over the internet, is a lot more flexible, allows your employees to remain in the workplace and can be completed anywhere there’s an internet connection. It can often be cheaper than a course that’s delivered face-to-face and, in the age of COVID-19, it’s a lot safer.
It’s also a much more resilient form of learning in the coronavirus age. By embracing remote learning, you’ll be able to continue to train your employees and keep the gears of your business turning, even in the harshest of lockdown restrictions.
5. Encourage a learning culture
The success of your reskilling efforts will depend partly on how motivated your employees and managers are when it comes to learning.
One of the best ways that you can really improve your chances of success when it comes to reskilling is to build a learning culture in your workplace, from the bottom up, rather than the top down.
Of course, spend time getting by in from managers and senior management, but focus on making the benefits of reskilling and continuous learning really clear to employees. After all, they’ll mostly be the ones who are benefiting from new skills and knowledge that they’ll be able to use throughout their careers, even if they don’t stay at your company forever.
Here are some simple ways to encourage a learning culture in your organisation:
- Offer rewards and praise
- Create personalised learning plans for every employee
- Embed training in induction processes
6. Give employees responsibility for their own learning
Treating your employees like grown-ups when it comes to learning and letting them take responsibility for their own learning and reskilling can really help to build loyalty, engagement and improve retention (saving your organisation money in the long term).
Research supports this idea. A study carried out by researchers from the University of Birmingham in 2017 found that employees with a higher level of autonomy in the workplace reported higher levels of satisfaction and motivation.
Allowing your employee to take responsibility for their own learning doesn’t mean that you’re abdicating all oversight and control – it just means that you’re trusting your employee to do what you’ve asked and expect them to do. 99% of the time, you’ll have no problems.
Setting clear boundaries and being transparent about your expectations ahead of training will help to keep the process running smoothly.
We hope you’ve found this guide about reskilling your employees after COVID-19 useful and that you feel confident enough to implement some of our suggestions!
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