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Dr. Roy is the Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer and holds responsibility for the overall strategic management & leadership in achieving the graduate schools’ vision & goals. His own belief for lifelong learning, as well as his drive for business management excellence, has brought him to achieving his passion for being part of the postgraduate education sector in Malaysia.

Dr Roy Prasad
(Hon Professor) FInstAM 

DBA (CH), DBA (DK),
MHRM (MY), Grad Mgt (AU)

Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer
Reskill and Upskill

Why You Should Help Exiting Employees Reskill and Upskill

As the global world continues to change rapidly, its impact on business activities is being felt. While the shelf life of some skills is gradually fading, the shift to a new operational model has led to the introduction of new skills. We have the crisis of 2020 to thank for a restructure in organizational aptitude and essential employees.  Though the impact has not been the same across different industries, the fact remains that many businesses cannot hire new talents, hence the need to reskill and upskill the existing workforce for adaptability to market changes.

Both reskilling and upskilling could be regarded as a human resource development or human capital management program. Reskilling is the process of retraining an (existing) employee for a new role upon realizing that the former role has become redundant. Upskilling involves the provision of training to enhance the existing skillset of an employee with the aim of bringing added value to an organization.

It is common to perform a thorough check on prospective employees before employing them, especially at the recruiting and onboarding stages. Even while working, organizations continue to ensure that they conduct employee performance evaluation. However, when such employees are about to exit the organization, the attention to their development and experience tends to come to an end.  Alternatively, their exit is supposed to come with benefits that revolve around reskilling or upskilling them.

With the World Economic Forum’s prediction that the next decade will witness the displacement of about 200 million workers by ever-evolving technology and its recommendation that employers and the public sector should invest in exiting workers, there is no better time to help exiting employees reskill and upskill than now.

The way you treat employees that exit your organization can impact your customer experience and consumer brand. Think of a situation where an employee has a horrible exit experience from your organization. It is better to think of the consequence of being called out on social media than experience it. Now consider the opposite.

Benefits Of Reskill and Upskill

The following are just a few benefits you stand to gain by upskilling or reskilling employees that are departing your organization.

Job Market Relevance

The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis forced many organizations to adopt the work-from-home model, an action that necessitated the need to prepare many workers for new roles. For instance, certain skill sets, especially supply chain management, became in higher demand.  Only organizations that reskilled their workers were able to sail through the pandemic without much difficulty.

As your employees exit your organization, they also need to maintain relevance in the job market for faster opportunities. As a ripple effect, organizations that consider upskilling and reskilling their departing employees can also witness an influx of key talents with new skills and knowledge that can improve their productivity.

There have been situations where employees consider returning to their previous employer. If Coursera, for instance, could offer many courses in their catalog free of charge as its contribution during the pandemic, an organization can afford to provide paid courses that can be of great help to exiting employees.

Cost-saving Benefit

Many organizations consider the option of adopting temporary contract workers or even onboarding new hires to fill a particular skill gap is a good economic move. This is not true! Such an option often ends up being costly, especially when the time-consuming recruitment process is also factored in. Though reskilling and upskilling also require investments in terms of money and time. The fact that the onboarding process is not involved makes it a wiser economic move as it leads to cost savings in the long run.

Research conducted by the Work Institute reveals that employee turnover costs 33% of the exiting employee’s salary. This is a significant cost that can be saved with reskilling. According to the Global Talent Trends Report of Mercer in 2020, reskilling is considered as the top talent activity that is most capable of delivering ROI in the eyes of executives. If organizations can consider offering huge severance benefits to employees as a strong incentive for them to land new roles quickly, they can also provide reskilling and upskilling benefits.

Organizations that maintain a strong, positive relationship with their departing employees may benefit from an improved customer base as the satisfied employees may invite their families and friends to patronize the organization and support the brand. This makes manpower cost optimization an important attribute of a good management team.

Shifting Roles Adjustment

According to a prediction by The McKinsey Global Institute, “by 2030, approximately 14 percent of the workforce will have to change careers as automation and artificial intelligence will render some jobs or roles redundant and useless.” In the same report, it was discovered that a majority of global executives are already considering retraining or replacing more than a quarter of their existing workforce by 2023.

As you upskill or reskill exiting employees, your organization is preparing them for a future challenge – adjustment to the rapidly-shifting job roles. Many organizations cannot cope with having to prepare their exiting employees for their competitors. Nevertheless, it is absolutely impractical to expect that employees will spend their careers with the same skill set. In the near future, only organizations with reskilling or upskilling plans will remain competitive in the market.

Conclusion

In conclusion,  reskilling and upskilling your exiting employees can help them in their job hunt. The reason is that, reskill and upskill can also prove to be cost-effective by saving your organization some money in the long run. With the way technology is rapidly advancing and employees’ expectations are changing, organizations need to step up their game. Those that fail to implement an effective upskilling or reskilling strategy for their exiting employees will find it difficult to attract and retain top talent, thus making it fall behind its competition. The responsibility thus lies on business management HRs to ensure their various organizations upskill and reskill exiting employees.

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