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3 reasons why you should reskill your warehouse workforce


3 reasons why you should reskill your workforce

Professional skills are constantly changing, and as technology advances, these changes are becoming more rapid. According to IBM, the half-life of learned skills was once 10-15 years, whereas today, the half-life is estimated to be five years and even shorter for technical skills. This means that the skills your workforce currently has will likely phase out in the near future. To survive in this perpetually shifting landscape, warehouses must take a proactive approach to reskill their workforce.

What is reskilling?
In 2019, the warehouse giant Amazon announced a $700 million plan to upskill and reskill 100,000 of their employees. Even before the pandemic, many companies implemented workforce retraining programs to give them a competitive edge and provide employees with professional development opportunities. However, there is often confusion about the terms upskilling and reskilling.

Whereas upskilling adds a level of specialization to an employee's current role, reskilling enables a lateral transfer of workers by teaching them new skills for different positions within your company. While important in its own right, upskilling doesn't always offer much in terms of future development. On the other hand, reskilling can help your company adapt to potential disruptions, prepare for the future and maintain a healthy, productive workforce. Here are three reasons you should reskill your warehouse employees.

Dealing with labor shortages
With no end in sight for the labor shortage, it can be challenging to find candidates for new positions, and recruiting, interviewing and onboarding new hires is an expensive and time-consuming process. Reskilling allows you to bypass this process altogether by preparing your current employees for new roles. For instance, if your warehouse needs a technician for new software or equipment, you can provide training to your current employees so that they can fill these roles. Reskilling programs also offer an attractive opportunity to potential applicants, as it shows your company cares about its employees.

Reducing turnover rates
The warehouse industry is known for its high turnover rates, which can be a major detriment during the current labor shortage. This is, in large part, due to the fact that employees increasingly want professional development programs to advance their career opportunities. By reskilling current your workforce, you can retain those with institutional knowledge while also creating incentives for current employees to stay with your company. Workers want to know the company has a vested interest in their success and professional growth. These reskilling programs demonstrate this commitment while providing your staff with valuable skills to strengthen your company and its culture.

Boosting efficiency
On the surface, creating and implementing reskilling programs might not seem like the most efficient use of company time. However, this could not be further from the truth. By reskilling your workforce for more technical roles, such as handling automation software and equipment, you can increase employee productivity and operational efficiency while preparing your business for the future. As the warehouse industry shifts to robot-assisted jobs and increasingly adopts automation technology, these reskilling efforts will be necessary for employees to perform daily operations. Implementing these programs early on will optimize workflow efficiency while ensuring the future success of your company.