The pandemic taught us many important lessons in business, and some of these will remain long after COVID-19. One of the main ones? The importance of specific skills and expertise, especially with new and emerging technologies. During the pandemic, companies couldn’t get their hands on technology nor find people who knew how to use it fast enough.
In the post-pandemic world, this need for specific skill expertise lives on. Now that we’ve all had a taste of what can happen when business-as-normal comes screeching to a halt, we know we need to be prepared for anything. So as the business environment shifts into regularly using AI (artificial intelligence), automation, and robotics, hiring employees based on specific skill sets will be of the utmost importance—perhaps even more than a college degree. Here’s how reskilling workers fits into the equation, and why it’s so important.
Not Your Grandfather’s Jobs
The kinds of jobs performed today will look very different compared to the kinds of jobs performed in 20 years. Case in point: A report by McKinsey projected that more than 100 million workers will need to find a different occupation by 2030. In the United States, for instance, customer service and food service jobs could fall by 4.3 million, while transportation jobs could grow by nearly 800,000.
Demand for workers in the healthcare and STEM occupations may grow more than before the pandemic. This reflects increased attention to health as populations age and incomes rise, as well as the growing need for people who can create, deploy, and maintain new technologies.
If an organization provides a specific subset of unique and valuable skills in demand with the post-COVID-19 marketplace, the pandemic could be a big business booster. The need for specific skills will ensure that a business is operating efficiently and sustainably for the long-term future. Ensure that your business plan and strategic analysis include streamlined, specialized talent acquisition for the best results. Otherwise, you’re likely to waste a lot of time and capital on employees that won’t move the needle for your business.
Training As An Investment
The most successful way to ensure you have a capable, diversely skilled workforce now and in the future is by investing in ongoing training for your team members. It’s beneficial to host training programs for role-specific skills, but arguably just as beneficial to equip employees with soft skills and cross-functional skills that they may not even need at the current moment. At some point, they almost certainly will.
Either way, you’ll have a more developed, dynamic team that can produce results even as positions and circumstances change. Many of the world’s top brands, like Amazon and AT&T, invest in training like this regularly and it’s clear to see why they do. In fact, Amazon pledged $700 million in reskilling and upskilling its entire workforce, promising to invest in tuition and curriculum redevelopment, technical programs, e-learning certifications, and more.
While most businesses can’t come close to committing such an amount to reskilling and upskilling, they would be wise to follow suit and invest what they can to the benefit of their workers, their company, and the workforce at large. It was necessary during the pandemic, and it will continue to be necessary for foreseeable future.
To learn more about how organizations can position themselves to succeed in a post-pandemic world, download the full white paper: “Post-COVID-19, Reimagining Strategies For Workplace Resilience.”