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How do Reskilling & Upskilling Benefit Company Culture?

Blog posts | 03.06.2021

Steve Lowenthal

CEO - Kineo US at Kineo US

2021 – The year of the great reset! Why, you ask? 2020 brought with it a rather extended pause to “normal” life. Work took on a completely new persona. In 2021 we’re seeing top businesses RE-focus, RE-strategise and RE-invent themselves. Future proofing a business at its core has taken center stage, as it should, in the light of the impact that the pandemic has had.

The core of every business is not its offering. The real core is its people. AI and automation can only go so far in helping businesses perform better. So what should your organisation be doing to strengthen its business core?

The only skill that will be important in the 21st Century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.

–Peter Drucker 

Employee Reskilling is part of a Learning Culture

What is a learning culture?

A learning culture is an organisational culture in which both the employees and the management engage in learning as a natural part of their work life. They learn, share knowledge, apply new knowledge and improve performance on a daily basis.

Is there a difference in the way organisations learn?

Yes! Every business is at a different stage of learning maturity. A young learning culture would be one that’s focused on core tasks like onboarding, technical skills  or compliance training. If such organisations did employ an LMS, it would probably not have any kind of integration with their HR or Talent management system.

As an organisation’s learning culture matures, the systems they rely on expand as does the breadth of their impact. Organisations will have an LMS, LXP and be active in monitoring performance. They either have an integrated system or are in the process of integrating their learning and talent management platforms. These are the organisations that know the value of talent and people.

People, not companies generate value. 


Figure 1: How Mature Organisations Leverage Learning. Source: Kineo's Learning Maturity White Paper (2021)[r1] 

When an organisation cultivates a learning culture, they’re basically saying, our people are our most important asset. It’s not just performance for today, it’s about viewing people as an asset that needs to be continually nurtured, matured and sometimes reengineered. Learning organisations do not have room for stagnation! 

In today’s fast-digitising world, reengineering or reskilling of one’s workforce is becoming a must do.  There simply aren't enough qualified candidates in the market so companies often feel they have the bad and worse options of either having significant open roles or overpaying for talent.  This is where reskilling comes in.  Reskilling is about systematically identifying the skills and capabilities the organisation needs to compete today and into the future, assessing people’s current levels and putting in-place development resources, plans and processes to develop these competencies from within.     And this effort isn’t without rewards.  Below we take a closer look at some of the benefits of reskilling.  

Robust cultures of learning are distinct hallmarks of organisations that consistently produce the best business results.

From the ATD report

Building a Culture of Learning: The Foundation of a Successful Organisation

Figure 2: Results of a Mature Learning Organisations

Key Benefits of Reskilling and Upskilling:

Building Resilience stabilises ROI over Time

Continuous learning makes an organisation resilient during turbulent times. For Example: when the pandemic hit, mature organisations simply upskilled their managers on managing teams virtually and on handling virtual meetings effectively. Employees were also upskilled on similar virtual work skills. In addition, such organisations are familiar with employee potential. They could thus provide additional training to employees so they could handle tasks that were completely different from their existing job profiles. This is called re-skilling. This proved to be invaluable, especially when recruitment was put on hold, and there were requirements for digital marketing or business development or client servicing – reskilling existing employees could easily fill the gap.

Gartner’s 2018 Shifting Skills Survey comprising 7000 respondents showed that a whopping 80% of employees feel that they lack sufficient skills for their current and future roles. That’s a thought that can leave most employees feeling demotivated and as a result less engaged in their workplace.

Employee Retention is always important to ROI

It’s a well-known fact that low engagement implies high employee attrition. This costs businesses at least 30% more than retaining them – that’s if we don’t consider the time we spend on searching for, hiring and training a replacement.

Employees from mature learning cultures inevitably feel engaged and happy to grow with the organisation. Reskilling employees is a major part of a mature learning culture, but it does not work alone. Learning – through collaboration, and learning – on the go, are also part of the learning experience. The importance of collaborative learning has never been more apparent than during these pandemic times. This is why businesses must choose their learning platforms with the learning maturity in mind.

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. 

Ayn Rand (Author)

Higher Performance directly impacts ROI

Numerous reports such as the LinkedIn report and the Gartner’s 2018 Shifting Skills Survey, have shown that employees involved in continuous learning such as upskilling and reskilling programmes consistently outperform those who are not involved in learning programmes.

Figure 3: Impact of Learning on Employee Performance. Source: Gartner’s 2018 Shifting Skills Survey

Future-Proofing your Business

Going hand in hand with reskilling is the fact that the workforce today is tending towards a learner centered approach, in which learners (employees) are empowered to learn according to their skill-levels and according to their chosen career paths. The organisation in turn is able to map employees’ ‘skills possessed’ and ‘skills required’. Tools that enable such mapping and provide collaboration (bringing employees, managers and other facilitators together) on a common platform are invaluable to high performance organisations.

An organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage. 

Jack Welch (Former CEO of General Electric)

In order to grow into a mature learning culture, the basic mindset must shift to a holistic view of learning and development – one that embraces learning as if it were a natural evolutionary process. A learning programme however must be customised to suit your specific business. The answer does not lie in adopting any one technology or method! The business need has to be carefully analyzed, at a day-to-day task level, with the organisation’s goals in mind. As we’ve established Reskilling is not a stand-alone activity. Developing various modules, deploying these modules in various forms based on learner requirements takes time. If time is in short supply, our specialised team is ready to partner with you to bring out the best results for your business.    

Need a Custom Reskilling Programme? Let’s Talk.

The Learning Maturity Model- Understanding Your Learning Culture

Steve Lowenthal

CEO - Kineo US at Kineo US

Steve Lowenthal has over 15 years of experience in Learning Technologies in consultancy, sales and management roles. He's a regular speaker at US conferences and events on trends in LMS, elearning and technology.