Enabling future success: motivating teams and reskilling employees

Learn how reskilling employees can boost your company’s success. Discover strategies to motivate teams, overcome barriers, and create a growth-oriented culture.


Enabling future success: motivating teams and reskilling employees

Learn how reskilling employees can boost your company’s success. Discover strategies to motivate teams, overcome barriers, and create a growth-oriented culture.


Meet the author

Rob Gillingwater

Managing Consultant

There is inevitable pressure for change in every organisation; how it adapts will determine its survival and growth opportunities – reskilling employees will be a vital part of enabling their future success.

Yet reskilling is the output, creating the environment conducive to employees developing their skills can have a truly transformational impact on an organisation. Improved employee experience, a collaborative workforce and a culture of continuous improvement are just some of the long-term benefits of successful reskilling programmes.

Why reskilling should be a priority

Technological advancements, changing consumer demands, and purpose-driven employees are just some of the many changes that are driving reskilling programmes within organisations – standing still is not an option for many. To meet these changes, companies need to be willing to make investments in their people. Organisations shunning such a commitment, risk failing to satisfy their employees and customers and may fall behind their rivals.

Strategies to inspire teams to reskill

Reskilling does not mean dictating to employees the new things they need to know, it’s about showing a commitment to their development/well-being while empowering them to take charge of their professional growth. Here are some ways you can inspire teams to reskill:

  • Share future vision and articulate the role the team plays in getting there
  • Be transparent about changes and articulate the benefits
  • Two-way communication about changes and implications (promote feedback)
  • Provide opportunities to cultivate growth mindsets (roles, training, workshops etc)
  • Reinforce growth culture by rewarding employees investing in reskilling
  • Understand impact – what will individuals and teams be able to achieve when reskilled? Look for connections to personal development and organisation goals

Having inspired teams that are comfortable with reskilling adds resilience to your business. Change is constant and having an adaptive workforce means they can better respond to meet the needs of the business, as well as continuing to develop and grow as individuals. Getting employee buy-in is essential but so too is measuring success. Understanding the appetite of your employees to reskill may be straightforward e.g. the number of people who’ve completed a desired learning journey, but you should consider the longer-term impact and measurement too – e.g. employee satisfaction and retention – has there been noticeable changes in these metrics since reskilling initiatives were launched?

Reskilling with empathy

Employees are your biggest asset. Retaining staff who understand the history of your business but also have the skills to flourish in the future can be a significant competitive advantage in your industry. 

That being said, be cautious as to how you initiate this change. Reskilling can have negative connotations, talk of ‘staying relevant’ can be unsettling and have the opposite effect of motivating your employees. When reskilling is necessary, think about the ‘what’s in it for me?’ angle of the employee. They’re having to invest time into learning new skills to benefit the business so it’s important to consider how to manage and motivate them on this journey.

While identifying the right vision will help you keep the right focus, how does it impact the day-to-day of your employees? Think about ways you can align reskilling to personal objectives, and how learning plans can align to career progression within the business. Articulating exactly how reskilling benefits the employee is vital to ensuring they are brought on the journey and encourage such behaviours in others. Support should be offered throughout as learning new things can be challenging. Consider what measures you can put in place to best ensure reskilling takes place (e.g. allocated time off for study, access to experts, easy-to-use support materials).

Overcoming barriers to reskilling your employees 

There are various reasons why reskilling programs can be a difficult change to initiate. Uncertainty, motivation and a lack of confidence are just some of the potential barriers an organisation may need to consider. Below are a selection of key barriers and potential mitigations to address them:

  • Fear of the unknownEmployees may feel uncertain about the new skills they’re learning. A lack of confidence in an ability to acquire new skills could hinder motivation to reskill.

Mitigation: Be transparent about what is driving the reskilling agenda and reinforce the support available throughout the process. Offer support and resources to boost confidence in their ability to learn new skills – e.g. peer learning groups, mentorships etc.)

  • Time needed Employees have an existing workload that is now being added to, this can be a daunting prospect, increase resistance and impact work-life balance.

Mitigation: Provide appropriate time for employees to learn new skills and offer flexible learning options (but within clear timeframes). People also learn in different ways, having a tailored employee reskilling journey will help each person understand what good looks like for their role.

  • Perception that reskilling is irrelevantSome employees may not see the immediate applicability of the new skills to the current role they are performing, leading to a lack of engagement.

Mitigation: Be honest about the future and why this is important but where possible, bridge the gap between new skills and their existing roles by illustrating how the acquired new skills will enhance employees’ current experience and solve existing challenges.    

Recognising and rewarding efforts

Recognition and reward are important aspects of reinforcing a positive learning culture which includes reskilling. Recognition can be something small like a simple acknowledgement or something larger such as a significant reward in exchange for an employee’s investment in learning. The most important thing is that you show employees that you value them investing in their own development of skills which also helps the business adapt to changes. Investment in training in itself is seen as a significant motivator for employee retention. 

Rewarding employees who invest in reskilling also promotes awareness to others and reinforces a culture that refreshing skills is part of career growth and development. An organisational culture comfortable with reskilling requires personalisation – what rewards and motivates one employee may not satisfy another. Personalised learning plans with personalised rewards are an approach organisations should consider when looking to reskill their employees.

Reasons to reskill (key takeaways)

  • Whilst this is an investment, it’s one that will be incurred at some point in the future anyway – so it’s better to be proactive. What skills are needed in your industry in order to succeed, and how do you create an environment where employees can successfully reskill?
  • Reskilling initiatives work best when personalised. Whilst it may be needed across the business, if you are able to link new skills to personalised learning plans and rewards, there is more chance of success.
  • A starting point in creating a culture of growth. Reskilling is happening because of change, change continues to happen, so aim to make your employees comfortable with refreshing their skills and it being a part of their development in the business.

Need help on your reskilling journey? Get in touch to find out how Clarasys’ wealth of change and employee experience expertise can support your needs!

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