The impact of COVID-19 on our professional and personal lives has and continues to challenge us all. The crisis forced many to change the way they work almost overnight. It is clearly a difficult time to relax, with individuals feeling vulnerable due to a range of uncontrollable factors such as organisational restructuring, the possibility of job loss or the concern of a change in role and responsibilities.

During this time of change and uncertainty, we can anticipate challenges and difficulties, but we can also expect to be exposed to new opportunities for growth and development. This may include a fast track route to management, the opportunity to learn new skills or bolstering your existing skillset.

Numerous factors like, the freeze on increments and hiring, the scaling down of workforces or opting for performance-based exits has made the need for up-skilling the remaining workforce a top priority for organisations. Many employees will find themselves being introduced into new roles. Yes, this may be a brilliant opportunity however, it can still be a challenging time to make that step where the typical support network and resources may no longer be available due to COVID-19. These employees must learn to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions, and businesses must learn how to effectively match those employees to new roles and responsibilities, so both employee and employer thrive.

With the introduction of new time and cost limitations on businesses, online training programs are proving to be an excellent solution for upskilling and re- skilling existing staff during this pandemic.

Reskilling is defined as the development of additional skills to help them move to a new role, whereas upskilling is defined as the training that enables someone to become better at a job they already perform.

‘Upskilling is not only about increased competency; it also improves resistance against threats and challenges in a highly volatile market after the Covid-19 pandemic’  (ETHRWorld Contributor).

By empowering staff through upskilling and better learning opportunities it will result in overall developments within the business. Through online training and resources, staff will gain new required skills and become adaptable to changes in the market or industry. Reskilling your current workforce will enable them to maximise their potential in their current position or take on new tasks where the business needs support.

Businesses may be tempted to cut back on Learning Development to preserve cash however, this decision will ultimately reduce the tools and skills available to staff which will in return, negatively impact their business.

A McKinsey report notes, “Now is the time for companies to double down on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling. Developing this muscle will also strengthen companies for future disruptions.” Malik agrees upskilling initiatives will help companies “strengthen their workforce” and, consequently, strengthen and prepare their business to compete in the post-pandemic economy.

Corporate eLearning needs to be accessible and easy to use to ensure that your workforce can reskill and adapt to changes happening within the organisation. The pandemic has forced a new culture of remote working with staff utilising a wide range of digital tools. Businesses should be using this time to conduct a gap analysis of their current workforce skillset, to identify, strategically plan and implement the suitable training to fill them.

eLearning is a way to guarantee that the workforce remains engaged and armoured with the tools they need, whether on the go or from home, to help your company continue to succeed. With the right online training platforms and guidance, we can expect employees to develop a greater depth of knowledge and an ability to react to our industry and market demands during these uncertain times. The opportunity to leverage our skills in this way will help to carry our organisations across murky waters whilst also developing and honing our own skillset.

In conclusion, upskilling during the pandemic benefits both employee and employer. By upskilling and reskilling your workforce with digital learning opportunities such as eLearning you can still achieve ambitious goals with a lower headcount. Maintaining high valued staff during this pandemic is crucial as once business is back to usual, these individuals will be key in supporting the business to scale up as quickly as possible. Maximise your current talent, focus on your learning budgets and commit to reskilling your employees where needed, it will ultimately aid you in the future. Who knows, this way of working could be a blueprint for the long term.