• TalentNow

How Should Leaders Reskill in the Future of Work?

Plenty of leaders have claimed to be unprepared for the challenges that await them in the horizon. The future of work vastly depends on automation and digitalization, and given how many workers lack necessary skills, leaders fear they’ll find themselves under the tide of change.

This realization lays out the understanding that there will be a significant skill gap in the coming decades, if not years. The future of work now stands in a stalemate between the conventional processes and technological advancement. Leaders cite at least 3 main barriers for the consequence.

The Main Barriers

The first barrier happens to be the lack of conception on the impacts of future automation and digitalization. This greatly requires a skill enhancement and calls for upskilling to meet the future requirements.

Secondly, not all organizations are loaded with the proper tools or knowledge to carry the processes of digital development. As a result, necessary efforts have to be put in place to reskill workforces before it is too late.

And finally, a lot of leaders complain about the current infrastructure of their businesses not being able to implement these changes. They say designing a new strategy to tackle the impending skill gaps is easier said than done. Hence, providing the right training is inevitable.

The Future of Work

Tasks which once required human interaction, are now being done by machines. Thus, automation will have a major effect on employability in the coming years as nearly every job will be digitalized in one way or another.

This shift in the workplace is an imminent struggle that all organizations will face, but one they are hardly prepared for. We already saw a glimpse of the change due to the COVID-19 pandemic as it led to a transition from conventional office spaces to online or automated work. Not only has the pandemic changed the course of work but also altered customer behaviors and preferences.

Companies have to reimagine their operations for the upcoming norm. While some companies are reconfiguring their supply chain managements, others are adapting a digital platform for customer satisfaction and contactless operations. Subsequently, there is a rise for home-based and remote work rather than a shop-floor or office camp.

These effects are creating a gap in workforce skills and capabilities. Hence, the future of work will call for changes in the workforce, either in the form of upskilling or reskilling. The implications that will be brought about by this change is that companies will require people will the right set of skills. People incapable of working with automated equipment and digital processes might end up unemployed. Only work which cannot be completed by machines will require the most human interactions.

Work which is repeatable and predictable is said to be taken over by technological interferences. Also, the requirement for basic literacy and numeracy skills are likely to drop. On the other hand, the demand for complex cognitive skills is most likely to rise. Moreover, social and emotional skills are expected to be in demand, since they boost leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Workers without such dexterity will find themselves unable to access employment.


Upskill is term used when staffs learn new skills to use in their current roles. It doesn’t mean workers have to go back to the end of the line and start school all over again for a degree. All this means is gearing the existing or available resources for improving a worker’s current skillsets.

While some may argue to hire new dexterous recruits, the recruitment process, training and allowing them to settling in may take a lot of time. In contrast, employees that have been working for years in an organization already have an understanding of how it functions. Hence, having an agile and flexible workforce is essential for companies in this rapid paradigm-shifting timeline.

This form of adaptation makes an employee feel valued and also encourages fast adoption of new technological approaches and innovative practices. Living in the fourth Industrial Revolution, reluctance to improvise might result in an uncertainty about job security.

It is debated that technology will create more jobs than it erases. While some jobs are likely to be disrupted, a new workplace is being created by the same process. This will require upskilling the current workforce and a structural shift in the labour market.


Reskilling entails that staff have the ability to take up new and different roles. Repetitive and predictable work, for instance in maintenance, claim processing, etc. are suitable for automation or digitization. This means workers in manufacturing, transportation, and retail sectors will experience a greater magnitude of change.

Companies are tending to identify skills that are critical to their business development. The skills may be as simple as working the same job remotely, or might even be equipping workers for a completely new role. However, rather than training all employees according to the same module, many leaders prefer making employee-specific learning paths for quick learning. This means administrators design specific skillsets for specific workers.

At present, companies look for employees with soft skills as this ensures they are good learners and can be reskilled. Organizations usually estimate the changes they are likely to face in the coming years and plan their reskilling programs.

Even though it may take years to reap the results of the reskilling programs, these are visible and important investments for the long haul.


In order to ramp up the upskilling and reskilling aspirations, most organizations will have to conduct training programs for their employees. Since these programs will have to systematically address the future skill requirements, leaders insist they be conducted by specialized training bodies.

These trainings are an integral part of an organization’s overall digital advancement. While some training formats address several learning elements altogether, others are employee oriented and so the formats vary from person to person.

The programs have to be devised in a way that they address every level of the company. A successful approach towards automation would entail compressive transformation programs for the management as well as the staff. Moreover, the trainings have to be tailored to meet the needs of both the organization’s goals and the requirements of the individual employees.

The contents of the training need to be highly effective as well. Meaning they should cover the technologies and tools an employee may use, to the business scenarios they may come across in their changed roles.

Final Words

By designing and executing upskill and reskilling trainings, companies can shift the skill profiles of the entire workforce. Preparing for the future of work is integral to every company’s advancement strategy. Hence, it is imminent that leaders take these reformations into consideration and oblige thereby.