GetFive Insights

The ROI and Reality of Reskilling: A Series from the GetFive HR Network Seminars

Businesswoman addressing team meeting, elevated view

We at GetFive recently held our 81st HR network breakfast seminar, and it was a stunner. The topic was “The ROI and Reality of Reskilling,” and we assembled a killer panel who took this subject and shared some important insights. At the table that day:

  • Michael Leadbetter, CEO of Pivot Factory, an innovation consulting company that helps organizations deal with disruption.
  • Kelly Joscelyne, chief talent officer at MasterCard.
  • Jake Schwartz, the founder and CEO of General Assembly, the world leader in upskilling and reskilling programs.
  • Carly Arellano, a partner at McKinsey and Company, the global management consulting firm.

We thought what this prestigious group had to say about the reality of reskilling was too good not to capture. So, this will be the first in a series of blogs about this seminar, which went beyond reskilling and into the reality of digital transformation, which is disrupting the way we all will work, whether we realize it now or not. Think of it as your chance to be a fly on the wall if you weren’t able to make it.

How you unlock human potential to enable your strategy to deal with digital transformation has become a core pillar in talent management.

What is digital transformation, exactly? Michael Leadbetter summed it up:

  • Using technology to create new business models.
  • Applying technology to an existing product to transform it.
  • Using technology to make your core business more efficient.

And that means processes are going to change because of technology. AI and the bots are here, folks, and there’s no denying that technology is disrupting the workplace as we know it. Are jobs going away? That’s certain. But jobs are being created, too. Systems and processes within companies are changing, allowing people to work more efficiently and smarter.

One rudimentary question is: Do we lay off displaced workers and hire new people with the new skills we need? According to this panel, the better option is to retrain, reskill, upskill those same workers. If you’re anywhere on the hiring food chain, you know the wisdom of this approach. That’s great, but reskill them to do what, exactly? That’s the question.

“One of the big struggles a lot of our companies and clients have is that they can imagine the next three to five years and get somewhat clear on what to do there, and that is a big enough hurdle and investment,” Leadbetter explained. “But they have not yet imagined the next 10 years or 15 years.”
Thinking through how to actually develop an agile approach to respond to and even anticipate disruption by growing and upskilling people, and making that evolution continuous, is the key to staying ahead of the curve. Companies need to first understand and accept that the disruption is coming even if it’s not here yet, and then innovate and ideate solutions.

“I can tell you that CEOs of very large companies that I personally work with are spending a lot of time and money on this, and it’s not because they’re being disrupted today,” Leadbetter said. “In fact, most of the companies that we work with are incredibly successful, they’re doing very well, they have double-digit growth. You know, companies like Stanley and Black & Decker, Boston Scientific. They just know that disruption is coming.”

Next in our series, we’ll talk about what companies are doing about that. Check back here next week for an update.

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