Upskilling and Reskilling to Combat the Worker Shortage

Upskilling and Reskilling to Combat the Worker Shortage

How to Upskill and Reskill Your Team

Within the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult for Canadian companies to find the right talent across numerous industries. While there is some debate as to what exactly has contributed to this shortage, there is no doubt that it continues to be a persistent thorn in the side of many progressive businesses who feel hindered by the inability to hire enough people with the right skills. Thankfully there are several ways employers can deal with the labour shortage, but one of the most effective methods is investing in upskilling and reskilling new and existing employees. 

From the likes of Amazon to MasterCard, progressive companies are taking advantage of aggressive training programs to stay competitive in their respective industries and using these programs to alleviate their own worker shortages. While there are numerous benefits of upskilling and reskilling your workforce. Upskilling and reskilling enough employees across your organization ultimately leads to increased productivity, promotes flexibility, as well as improves retention rates.

Here are tactics you can implement to upskill and reskill your employees:

Gather Data

Before your company can plan and execute a successful strategy around upskilling, you’ll need to gather the right set of data about the people currently working for you. That involves a fairly comprehensive process of understanding each employee’s current skill set, learning style, career ambitions, and yet-to-be-discovered abilities. You should be able to quickly identify employees that are more willing and able to reskill and upskill than others. Once you have your data set, you can align it with your business goals and needs, thereby painting a clearer picture of where upskilling and reskilling efforts should be focused. 

Invest in Technology and Automation

Another point of important corporate introspection will be the work required to identify whether your company is doing a variety of “busy work” in areas that are not moving the needle. It’s during this evaluation that you’ll likely uncover a variety of opportunities to replace various low-level, low-skill tasks with automated software, hardware, or a combination of both. This process should help free up some resources to give your employees the time and space to begin their upskilling and reskilling journeys. 

Create a Career Pathing Program

One of the best ways of introducing reskilling and upskilling programs into your organization is through the creation of a career pathing program. This program will allow eligible employees to visualize a longer-term path for their careers if they choose to chart a course for their professional development. These programs usually lay out specific timelines and required training for advancement within the company and explain how individuals can move through the ranks. 

However, part of developing a successful program involves having a dedicated learning and training budget. We’ll talk about where you may need to spend money to create a successful program a little later in this article. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that any investment you make in reskilling or upskilling your employees will have a substantial ROI in the form of retention and lowered overall hiring costs. 

Provide the Right Resources

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of running a successful skill-improvement program within your organization is offering your employees a copious set of resources. This can include: 

• Researching, curating, and providing access to the right mix of free and paid professional training resources and knowledge acquisition channels.  

• Developing an easy way for employees to join and participate in the program and access all associated resources. 

• Setting up an internal mentorship scheme to facilitate the transfer of higher-level skills to the less-experienced workers. 

• Slowly, and with specific intent, adding new tasks and responsibilities to existing roles to encourage staff to embark on journeys of learning and the development of new aptitudes. 

• Giving employees the time and space required for learning. 

Adjust Hiring Strategies

While tailoring your reskilling and upskilling program towards your existing employees will likely take precedence, it’s important to think about it holistically. It’s also important to make some adjustments to your hiring strategies. To develop an environment of willing and continuous learning within your organization; your hiring strategies should involve hiring workers whose skill sets are broader than you’re accustomed to hiring. Additionally, a focus on bringing in new employees that demonstrate the ability and willingness to learn new skills will pay great dividends down the line. 

Look for External Opportunities

A good strategy for finding talent with the right skills in a challenging labour market is to develop those skills in potential employees before they ever step foot through your door. Many companies are taking aggressive steps to partner with local colleges and universities to offer co-op programs along with brand new reskill and upskill training to those just starting or changing careers.

For more workforce insights and talent acquisition advice, we encourage you to visit to get in touch with one of our experienced recruiters.

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