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3 Tips to Reskill your Workforce: Training for Sudden Change

Cultivating talent is vital to the performance of an organization, especially for companies faced with sudden changes in the workforce. For some organizations, this requires scalable employee onboarding for an influx of new hires, while for others it means thorough reskilling current employees. Recent months have shown record layoffs for retail and service industry roles. So, employee development will become more important than ever. The challenge is how to quickly prepare learners for new roles. But the need for better employee onboarding should come as no surprise. Brandon Hall found that 66% of companies planned to moderately or heavily invest in onboarding in 2020.

Design Tips

Adapting to sudden changes in your workforce comes with unique challenges for learning and development teams and employees alike. Your employees already have some experience within the company, but their expertise may not help much in their new role. If new skills are a prerequisite for their new role, then chances are they’re going to have some downtime. But that means a potentially drastic drop in organizational efficiency. So, increasing speed to competency to turn your learners into productive employees will be the key to minimizing the impact on the business.

One way to approach this skills gap is through careful design strategy. The training experience should focus on building critical skills. So, make your content concise. In most cases, that just means removing excess information – perhaps, shift content from a course to a supplementary FAQ document. You may also want to consider if your training content is in the best modality. For instance, content on business software might be much more effective as a simulation than lengthy text or pictures. On the other hand, less important processes might be better suited to SOP documents.

Training Technology

Instructor-led training events aren’t viable as a primary training modality. Without even considering scheduling challenges, the decline in productivity can have a significant impact on organizational goals. On-the-job training would be preferable, but that requires training technology that aligns with your unique business processes. However, if a performance support platform isn’t an option, there are still other methods for increasing accessibility and content consumption. For instance, mobile learning platforms allow learners to access content off-site. Offline-enabled resources libraries and downloadable content can also make a huge difference for employees in areas with poor service.

Human Connection

That being said, human connection is the key to organizational integration. Research by SHRM found that individuals with 6 or more workplace friends feel deeply connected to their company. So, consider using peer networking events and training cohorts during the reskilling initiative to foster relationships between employees. Beyond that mentoring and coaching can offer the post-training support employees need to master more complex skills. Coaches can help facilitate the transition to a new role by offering their insight and experience.


The modern workforce is subject to change, whether due to increased automation or gaps in skillsets. However, the way L&D adapts to that change will determine organizational success. It’s no simple task, but by using careful design strategies, innovative training technology, and promoting human connection, you can quickly prepare learners for their new roles.