As of late, we are seeing larger trends within the workplace concerning employees and their attitudes towards their work environment. With recent trends that have included “Quit Quitting”, and the “Great Resignation”, employers are confronted and challenged to keep their employees engaged and motivated. Add to a potential looming recession and employee layoffs, employers will then be further challenged to manage remaining employee morale and attitudes.

Real-world Impact of Employee Disengagement

While employee disengagement is very apparent in the numbers, the phenomenon is more than just about the numbers. For one, the trend is highlighting a subtle shift in the employer-employee power balance. More employees feel empowered to do the minimum requirements or quit and move on than ever before. And there are knock-on effects when employees resign:

  • Your loss, of a high-performing – yet dissatisfied – employee, might mean a competitor’s gain
  • You forever lose your investment, in hiring, training, and mentoring those members of your team
  • There’ll be a significant cost to hire and train a replacement. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), hiring for a $60,000-per-anum job can cost as much as $180,000 to accomplish. That’s a 300% investment to deal with!

There’s no doubt about the financial consequences of employee disengagement. But there are other operational, practical, and real-world implications for organizations that fail to win that battle, including:

  • Loss of institutional knowledge
  • Impact on ongoing initiatives
  • Declining team synergies
  • Hit to client-employee dynamics

But what if entrepreneurs and business leaders could do something about it? Actually, they can!

One hidden weapon, in the fight against employee disengagement, is training. There’s tremendous value and benefit in utilizing upskilling/reskilling learning strategies to combat attrition. When done right, upskilling/reskilling can lead to a more satisfied workforce, better job performance, more engaged employees, and a more energized and dynamic workplace. More than that, upskilling and reskilling is not just a “learning thing” – it is also an invaluable business strategy to help organizations stay current, relevant, and competitive in your industry.

Upskilling and Reskilling: Tools to combat employee disengagement

Consulting firm McKinsey found that employees quit for various reasons. The primary reasons, however, were that they didn’t feel they had an opportunity to tackle new things or didn’t see a future where they might learn something different and apply it to their work. Some just want a chance to do something different. Others wish to do what they’re currently doing – but they want to do it more effectively. Not being able to accomplish that with their current employer, they quit and move on.

The good news is that most organizations can design, develop, and implement various L&D interventions to upskill and reskill their staff and prevent them from walking away from the organization. Here’s a tried and tested roadmap, that includes strategies that really work:

    1. Conduct a skills gap analysis: Consult broadly with your workforce to identify how existing skills might be better used across the org. Also, find out how to help employees build on current skills to take on more challenging roles within the company. Make sure to determine where additional training or learning might be required, and plan for bridging those gaps.
    2. Define a sound learning strategy: Effective upskilling and reskilling is more than just about putting eLearning courses together. It begins with a thorough skills gap analysis and includes strategies like personalized learning paths and performance improvement support. Most important to that strategy, is to match training, upskilling, and reskilling initiatives to your business objectives.
    3. Make eLearning a core part of your L&D strategy: With a shift to remote and hybrid working, most employees don’t have the time or inclination to attend classroom-based learning. eLearning, specifically mobile learning, can address those challenges.
    4. Support remote learning with a range of digital learning resources: It’s easy for remote learners to get distracted and disengage from L&D activities. Lack of alternative learning experiences aid to disillusionment. To combat this, integrate an array of learning media – interactive videos, animated content, simulations, and scenarios – into your eLearning. These strategies will maximize knowledge transference by helping employees to “learn by doing”.
    5. Make field workers part of your learning ecosystem: One commonly overlooked segment of the workforce is field workers who may also work remotely. Employees need ongoing eLearning resources to help them stay up-to-date with new products and developments. Having the company offer that support, through unique upskilling/reskilling strategies, gives them a renewed sense of “belonging” to the team, which can counter any thoughts of quitting.
    6. Consider blended learning options: To keep employees engaged and committed to the organization, it’s important to offer learning that fits everyone’s preferences. Develop eLearning resources that support classroom learning, as well as act as pre and post-study learning support resources.

Effective upskilling and reskilling won’t happen by packaging learning content online and hoping employees will gravitate to those resources. It’s also about working closely with a knowledgeable team of instructional designers to develop visually pleasing content. It’s about using creative concepts and intuitive learning interfaces to keep learners engaged and committed to life-long upskilling and reskilling.

The use of eLearning, as an upskilling/reskilling strategy, fits well with the new hybrid/virtual work paradigm. Businesses can use these eLearning strategies to help employees upskill – make better use of their current skills, as well as reskill – learn new ones in areas where they feel they might be better placed to help move the company’s vision forward.