The Road Less Traveled: Reskilling Employees Future Roles

Fulcrum Labs
138 posts

Your workforces’ skills are becoming obsolete.

The path forward for your company diverges.

You can either:

A. Take the well-worn path, undergoing a series of layoff and buyouts in order to hire new employees more aligned with your organization’s needs


B. Take the road less traveled, reskilling, up-skilling and new-skilling current employees to meet the skill demands of the future

Which do you choose?

Responding to Skills Shortages

If your organization is facing this scenario, you’re certainty not alone. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed how many companies are struggling to address the skills shortages brought about by digital transformation.

Most companies are going the traditional route: letting go of people whose skills have become obsolete. In fact, in a 2017 McKinsey & Co. survey, 35% of U.S. executives said they believe they will realize their digital goals mainly or only by hiring new talent. But, due to a widespread skills shortage and tightening labor markets, these companies will struggle to find the right people.

In fact, according to new research from SHRM — the Society for Human Resource Management – 83% of HR professionals have had difficulty recruiting suitable candidates in the past 12 months due to a lack of skilled applicants. Additionally, the market of available candidates is shrinking: 7 million jobs were open in December 2018 but only 6.3 million unemployed people were looking for work.

“For those who are looking to replace employees, they’ll likely struggle to do so. That “buy, not build” talent strategy is getting more difficult—and expensive—to pull off, especially in a market where the supply of skills like cloud computing and cybersecurity can’t satisfy the immense demand for them” – The Wall Street Journal

That leaves us with the road less traveled: upskilling, reskilling and new-skilling existing employees.

Old and new companies alike – including Amazon, AT&T, JPMorgan Chase and WalMart – are investing in resource-intensive training initiatives that will reskill employees and help them find viable career paths within an evolving corporate landscape. But companies that pursue this approach face challenges, too. For example:

  • Companies typically don’t have a clear view of their own employees’ aptitudes and knowledge levels outside of their current role
  • Upskilling takes time – often much longer than hiring someone from outside the company who has the right set of skills already. This not only makes companies/shareholders impatient, it also contributes to more disengagement on the part of the employee. If it feels like it’s going to take forever to move forward
  • Retraining large swaths of workers requires a financial investment that most employers have not demonstrated a willingness to pay

“Employers are still trying to master the challenge of mapping the skills of their current workers, identifying the skills required of their future workforce and filling the gaps between the two.” – The Wall Street Journal

Reworking Reskilling

According to Burning Glass Technologies, a labor-market research firm, the way to address these challenges is to help people find “logical, reasonable career paths, or ‘skill adjacencies’.” Essentially, this means diagnosing what people are already good at, and helping them build upon that scaffolding – mapping their current skills and aptitudes to new career paths. This makes the reskilling process shorter and more attainable – which improves buy-in from workers (read more about what resonates with adult learners). It also makes it more effective. In fact, research shows that employees who exercise their strengths on a daily basis are 8% more productive and 6 times more likely to be engaged. And last but not least, finding skill adjacencies helps the company realize the ROI of reskilling employees much more quickly (with less expenditure).

It makes sense, right?


But it’s easier said than done. In fact, in our experience, companies often don’t have data to demonstrate the depth and degree of employee skills and mastery. They can’t quantify what their people are “good” at and they certainly don’t know where employee interests and natural inclinations lie (both of which point to more logical, fulfilling career paths).

Fulcrum and the Road Less Traveled

If your organization is taking the road less traveled – optimizing your workforce by reskilling employees – Fulcrum Labs can help. For companies that don’t already have a corporate university (and even some that do), Fulcrum’s Adaptive 3.0 learning platform offers a way to overcome the challenges of reskilling. For example, our platform:

  • Quantifies knowledge and skill gaps that need to be filled
  • Pinpoints the skills that employees currently have and predicts where they have the best potential for growth/new skills
  • Helps people master new information quickly – up to 55% faster than other learning methods
  • Builds employee confidence in their skills and knowledge (which is the secret sauce for accurate application of that knowledge on the job)
  • Puts employees in the driver’s seat – lessening the burden for the organization and giving workers more autonomy and control
  • Fosters a culture of learning, improves employees’ receptivity to development and nurtures a  “learner mindset” by delivering a great learning experience

If you’re staring at the point where two paths diverge in the wood (aka: you have to choose between layoffs or reskilling employees), we encourage you to check out how our solution can make the road less traveled an easier path to follow. Let’s connect for a short demo of what the Fulcrum Platform can offer your reskilling, up-skilling and new skilling efforts. It might just make all the difference