How Does Upskilling Your Employees Help to Institute Workforce Transformation?

Digital innovation cannot occur without first preparing employees with the skills necessary to instigate that change.


Effective technological transformation is the principal tool to help your organization to prepare for and respond to cultural change, but digital innovation cannot occur without first preparing employees with the skills necessary to instigate that change.

Remote work, changing business priorities and an uncertain economic future are realities being faced by staff across the globe and an effective digital innovation leader will prepare their employees with the relevant skills necessary to combat and deal with these issues. Upskilling is the answer to this issue.

According to TalentLMS, 80% of employees say that upskilling and reskilling training boosts their confidence, whilst 91% of companies argued that it had boosted productivity at work. In an age defined by uncertainty and panic, it makes sense to prioritize both the confidence and productivity of your employees, this is why effectively workforce transformation is vital.

How Does Upskilling Your Employees Help to Institute Workforce Transformation?

It is unlikely that the office experience will ever return to the pre-pandemic norm and consequently, great expense has been paid to employees’ ability to work from home. For the most part, this transition has been successful.

In fact, initial statistics suggest that remote work is paying dividends for many organizations. For example, according to a McKinsey survey, 80% of staff stated that they enjoyed working from home with 41% arguing that they were more productive and 28% stating that they equally as productive whilst working remotely.

However, whilst many employees are currently comfortable working from home, this may not always be the case and with that in mind, executives must begin to consider solutions which will help them to train and upskill staff remotely. Even before the current crisis, changing technologies and new ways of working were disrupting jobs and the skills employees needed to do them, this issue doubly is magnified when it comes to a remote workforce.

In a recent survey, 87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years and less than half had a clear sense of how to address the problem. To meet this challenge, these executives urgently need to forge a talent strategy that covers employees’ critical digital & technical capabilities, their social & emotional skills, and their mental adaptability & resilience – an effective upskilling program can see them realize such a strategy.

When initiating an upskilling program, executives should consider the following:

  • Identify the Skills You Depend on – Executives must identify the critical skills and number of employees necessary to delivering upon their transformation initiatives
  • Build the Skills – Once you’ve identified the necessary skills, you can build a skill set that will help employees in key parts of your business to respond well to changes.
  • Launch tailored learning journeys to close the skill gaps – Strategic workforce planning is vital here and digital tools which re-create the best of in-person learning are essential.
  • Start immediately, test and iterate – Similar to streamlining your operations, the key here is to make implementations, fail fast & build on them until you’re happy with your training program
  • Upskill as if you were a small organization – Companies with fewer staff are better at upskilling as they are more agile in approach, you should try to mirror this regardless of organizational size
  • Protect learning budgets – Companies that cut their learning budgets now are only delaying their progress, not netting a saving. The current crisis demands a significant skill shift and just because you’re seeing results doesn’t mean the job is done.

The benefits of effectively upskilling and retraining staff are innumerable. According to PWC, progress on upskilling breeds confidence, for example, 38% of CEOs who are well disposed to deliver their upskilling programs were very confident about their growth over the next 12 months. Upskilling also brings additional benefits with 41% of the same group stating that their upskilling program had been “very effective” in creating a stronger corporate culture and engaging employees.

To learn more, download the full report here or continue the debate at the Digital Innovation Insight Summit, a GDS Summit, where we bring together senior Digital executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best technology solutions.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our Digital Summits. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.