Recovery – Upskilling and reskilling remote workers

Embracing remote working poses serious early-stage challenges for organizations, across the operating-model dimensions of people, structure, process, and technology and leaders have an essential role to play in developing solutions to tackle these challenges in the short term (Exhibit 1).

Our recent findings show that although 87 percent of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years, only 28 percent said their organizations were making effective decisions on how to close that gap (Exhibit 2).

Before the pandemic crisis, some major organizations had started launching ambitious upskilling and reskilling efforts to prepare for the future of work. For example, Amazon pledged $700 million to retrain 100,000 employees for higher-skilled jobs in technology; JPMorgan Chase made a five-year, $350-million commitment to develop technical skills in high demand; and Walmart has already invested more than $2 billion in wages and training programs.

The coronavirus crisis has made the need to address skills gaps even more urgent. While near-term upskilling efforts may need to focus on enabling effective remote working, longer-term reskilling efforts will need to be more holistic—and address issues across strategy, skills, and social responsibility.

Let’s start with strategy. Leaders must set their strategic vision and determine if they can use new technologies to gain a competitive advantage. The divergence of local economies will affect patterns of consumer purchasing power and labor costs—companies may need to adjust their offerings and geographic footprint in response.

Turning to skills, our research indicates that 82 percent of global executives at companies with more than $100 million in annual revenues expected that upskilling and reskilling current employees would be at least half of the answer to addressing their skills gap. To do this, organizations need to assess current workforce skills, determine their future needs, and create a road map to bridge the gaps.

To acquire scarce talent, particularly well-educated and digitally fluent professionals, companies also need to develop creative ways of identifying unconventional candidates. This could include simply opting to make an acquisition to gain capabilities overnight or engage temporary contractors on a project basis.

With the pandemic crisis, many companies had to stop part of their activities (e.g., closing factories or cinemas) and had a large number of employees to redeploy into other roles. For instance, Majid Al Futtaim, a major shopping mall and leisure player, has reskilled and redeployed more than one thousand employees from its leisure businesses to temporarily assist the company’s Carrefour business with online order fulfillment, food packing, and stock replenishment.


Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Reskilling and remote working to recover in the next normal | McKinsey

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