For many organisations , COVID-19 has accelerated existing reskilling programmes . But how can reskilling create opportunities to build a learning culture and talent development ? Mark Jackson , Strategic Workforce Planning Manager at Nationwide Building Society , provides insights .
Mark Jackson , Strategic Workforce Planning Manager
One of the biggest things Nationwide identified pre-COVID-19 was that our workforce needs to be multiskilled . What you ’ re looking for is to develop a breadth of skills across your colleagues , rather than just a depth of experience in one particular space .
So , for someone like me in HR , my depth of knowledge is in strategic workforce planning and resourcing . However , I also need a breadth of understanding in inclusion and diversity , learning and development , and talent management in order to contribute more to our HR strategy . It ’ s about developing more flexibility in the skills your people have .
The most prominent section of our workforce that needed to become multiskilled was our frontline member-facing colleagues . With banking becoming more digital , the behaviour of our customers is changing , and our skills need to change too . Staff might spend part of their week talking to members in branch , another answering telephone queries or another resolving digital queries .
To the outside world , it might seem as if you ’ re answering the same sorts of question , but the skills you need and the systems you work on change depending on the query . We ’ ve now embarked on reskilling member-facing colleagues to work across all sectors .
With banking becoming more digital , the behaviour of our customers is changing , and our skills need to change too
Creating opportunities through reskilling
We achieved this by doing two key things . First , with partners , we created an experiential learning programme with a focus on digital learning . We wanted the programme to be an experience and to feel different to any previous training . Second , we linked this to our learning platform and talent marketplace tool . This will , in future , give colleagues a great user experience that makes training feel better than traditional , mandatory learning programmes , but it also allows us to enhance our talent management and pipeline profiles .
As people work through the training , it will log their existing skills and the skills they are developing . We will then be able to match these skills and individual profiles to potential roles across the business , creating opportunities for internal hiring .
This has a huge effect on employee mindset . Traditionally , what drives an employee to an internal careers platform ? Maybe they ’ re unhappy with their job . Perhaps their manager has recommended a potential role to them . If you transpose that type of internal recruitment into a talent marketplace where your skills are logged on a profile that can be used for even short-term assignments or networking , the whole process becomes more open .
Suddenly , each person is being matched to relevant opportunities that complement their skills . The tool can also recommend relevant training courses which build extra skills and knowledge . Talent managers are able to see the skills the organisation has and where gaps need to be filled with external hiring . What you ’ re beginning to build is an organic learning culture that has a real impact on the business bottom line .
For customer-facing colleagues , this boosts opportunities to move into different roles across the organisation , aided by the fact that we ’ re now much more open to remote working . Getting a head-office position , for example , is now all about the skills you have – not where you live .
We ’ re now much more open to remote working . Getting a head-office position , for example , is now all about the skills you have – not where you live
Like many organisations , we ’ ve made strides in creating a learning culture , but there is more we can do . You can buy new platforms and provide excellent content , but if your people aren ’ t given the space to learn , it won ’ t work .
Much of this is about helping leaders to understand the benefits of giving their teams time to learn . It might be about giving leaders budget to bring in extra resources to cover learning time so that they can understand the dual benefits of not losing a staff member and of upskilling them at the same time . You need to look at learning benefits across several years , not a single year . That ’ s how you measure learning and talent culture .
It ’ s also about understanding where reskilling can have a real impact . It ’ s important to dive into the data . Are measures having a real effect , or would the resource be better spent in external hiring ? It ’ s important not only to run reskilling schemes , but also to measure their impact .
The view from AMS : Kate Green , Client Operations Director
We ’ ve partnered with Nationwide Building Society since May 2018 , having been awarded a five-year partnership for all UK contingent hiring . We source and manage all professional hires into the Society , and source all PAYE temporary hires via our teams based on client sites and in our Global Client Service Centres in Bracknell , Belfast and Krakow . We have provided consulting solutions , including training and development , and project managed IR35 legislation change within the organisation .