Employee expectations combined with skill shortages mean that reskill and upskill programs are no longer nice-to-haves for organizations- they are a necessity. Read on to discover why your company should prioritize scaling reskill and upskill initiatives in 2023, and why Citizen Development programs should be part of your strategy.
2 reasons modern reskill and upskill initiatives should be a top organization wide priority
1. Talent retention
The message is loud and clear. Employees want to learn new skills, and they expect their organization to provide them with the development opportunities. In Gallup’s 2021 Upskill Study, 57% of employees surveyed reported having the desire to update and develop their skills. 73% of the employees in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey believed that workforce development is the responsibility of their organization.
Organizations who fail to heed the call of their employees are at risk for higher turnover. The same Gallup study found that 48% of respondents would leave for their company for another company that provided upskill opportunities. Moreover, a July 2022 report from the World Economic Forum found that the number one reason employees cited for leaving jobs in the past 12 months was lack of career development and advancement.
On the other hand, organizations that fulfill employees’ expectations by implementing reskill and upskill programs stand to reap the benefits. Gallup found that employees who recently participated in upskilling were 37% more likely to be satisfied with pay and benefits, and 76% more likely to have a positive outlook on promotion opportunities. Additionally, 71% of upskilled employees reported higher job satisfaction. Reskilling and upskilling lead to new positions and responsibilities for employees, which also helps increase retention. Linkedin found that companies that have strong internal employee mobility see 2x longer employee retention.
2. Long-term Skills Shortage
Automation and AI are changing the skills required for jobs across all industries. But contrary to the belief that AI and automation will eliminate human jobs, the opposite is true. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that there was a global shortage of 40 million skilled employees in 2021, and that figure is projected to increase to 85.2 million by 2030.
Executives are already recognizing skill shortages in their own organizations. 43% of executives in a McKinsey study report their organization currently has skill shortages, and 87% stated that their organization will be facing skill shortages in the next 5 years. The McKinsey study revealed that data analytics and IT development and engineering are at the top of the list of skill gaps.
Organizations must begin preparing their workforce for the future now or be at risk of getting left behind. Organizations can take two approaches to building a modern workforce- reskilling existing employees or hiring new employees.
Re-skilling has two main advantages over letting go employees and re-hiring already skilled employees. The first is cost. PwC UK found that hiring can be up to £50k more expensive than re-skilling. The second is your existing workforce already knows your business, processes, culture, customers, and other employees. Reskilling and upskilling employees instead of hiring new employees where possible will prepare your workforce for the future while mitigating organizational knowledge loss.
The 2 citizen development programs you need in your reskill & upskill strategy
1. Automation Citizen Developers
Citizen developers are employees who are trained to use no-code and low-code automation, AI, or other technology solutions, but who most likely do not have professional coding or developer skills. Instead, citizen developers are employees with technical acumen that work directly in a line of business,
Automation is an area of priority for businesses in the present and is at the center of how businesses will operate in the future. But one of the largest occupational shortages forecasted is developers and software engineers. IDC estimates that the developer shortage in 2025 will be 4 million positions.
Reskilling or upskilling employees to become automation citizen developers in areas of your business can provide numerous benefits. Well-trained citizen developers reduce the need for IT or professional developer involvement. This not only frees up existing IT resources and results in faster automation ROI in the present but will help organizations overcome skill gaps in the future. Scaling a citizen developer program leads to a transformed workforce that is acclimated to using the technology that will power the future of your organization.
2. Citizen Process Experts
Like Citizen Developers, Citizen Process Experts also work directly in a line of business. Citizen Process Experts are SMEs with in-depth knowledge of how work is getting done in an organization, from processes to the systems and stakeholders involved. Citizen Process Experts are trained in process documentation, process modeling, process mining, and task mining.
Organizations need Citizen Process Experts to work alongside Citizen Developers because organizations cannot implement and scale automation successfully without first understanding and optimizing their processes. As Forrester says, organizations would “be on a fool’s errand to move into widescale automation without understanding and potentially reengineering existing processes”.
By building out both automation Citizen Developer and Citizen Process Expert programs simultaneously, businesses can ensure the accuracy, success, and adoption of their process improvement and automation initiatives, while transforming their workforce and cultivating the skills needed for the future.