Published on November 16, 2023, 4:19 pm

Reskilling has become a crucial necessity in today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape. With advancements like generative AI on the rise, it is projected that 44% of employees will experience skill disruptions in 2023, according to the World Economic Forum. While organizations are investing heavily in reskilling and upskilling programs, they often overlook the importance of changing employee behavior through effective engagement strategies.

A recent experiment conducted by behavioral scientists from MoreThanNow and Vodafone revealed an interesting insight into how to effectively connect employees with reskilling initiatives. The experiment involved 800 Vodafone employees from around the world and compared different messaging approaches for promoting their learning offerings.

The findings showed that a direct message focusing on “career relevancy and security” had the highest positive impact on attitudes toward reskilling into technology-focused roles. Employees who received this message were significantly more open to exploring broader career options and more likely to consider reskilling compared to those who received other messages.

Moreover, employees who received the “career relevancy” message were also more inclined to explore reskilling opportunities on Vodafone’s internal site. This tangible measure of employee engagement highlights the effectiveness of using clear messaging that emphasizes the relevance of acquiring new skills for future career success.

Based on these findings, leaders can adopt three key communication tips when discussing reskilling with their employees:

1. Set the context: Be transparent about the potential impact of emerging technologies on job roles. Acknowledge uncertainties but emphasize the need for proactive engagement with upskilling opportunities to navigate future changes successfully.

2. Make it relevant: Provide personal examples that illustrate how new technologies may affect specific work areas or tasks within teams. By identifying tangible scenarios, both managers and employees can better understand the skills required in an evolving tech landscape and create actionable plans.

3. Make it real: Offer training programs as essential components for future career options rather than optional benefits. Guide employees towards the best training programs that align with potential automation and evolving job requirements. Emphasize the importance of continuously evolving skills to stay ahead in a changing world.

Vodafone successfully implemented these communication strategies, resulting in increased employee engagement and successful reskilling outcomes. By shifting their language from focusing on “individual progression” to the more direct “career relevancy and security” message, they successfully engaged 4,000 employees in Italy alone. Over 300 employees have been reskilled and redeployed within the company, with a remarkable total of one million learning hours completed by Vodafone employees.

It is crucial for leaders to adopt a more open and candid approach when discussing reskilling with their employees. The ability to navigate the digital future relies on effectively connecting employees with reskilling initiatives and empowering them to thrive in a rapidly changing world.


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