Train Employees to Take on New Roles During a Recession

Posted by Des Sinkevich on October 25, 2022

While economists and experts debate on whether or not we’re “officially” in a recession, there’s no doubt that a recession is looming – if it’s not already here. With increasing inflation and the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, the economy is more than likely headed for a bad time and that means it’s time for businesses large and small to reconsider what they’re spending on. For many, that results in laying off workers to save money. While this may help your company stay within budget in the short term, it may negatively impact employee morale for those that stay in the short-term, and business outcomes in the long term when things pick up again. Instead of looking at layoffs as the only solution, you can explore retraining and upskilling your current employees to make up revenue in the most profitable areas of your business.

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How retraining and upskilling can prevent layoffs – and improve your bottom line

Most businesses have been impacted by rising prices and hiring struggles. And, with inflation in mind and the rising cost of living, many customers and clients have worked to cut costs – which means they’re spending less, impacting revenue for both small and large businesses. With less revenue, it makes sense that you’d consider layoffs to save money. But with the hiring struggles that have plagued employers in 2022 – there are 11 million job openings, but only 6 million potential workers to fill them – are layoffs really the most practical option to balance budgets right now?

Instead of letting go of a portion of your workforce, consider reskilling them to take on those empty roles that you’ve been struggling to fill or those that may generate quick-win revenue opportunities before they can return to their previous positions. Retraining, upskilling, and reskilling your current employees can lead to long-term benefits for your business that can outlast a recession. These include

  1. Higher retention rates. Offering an education benefits program is proven to increase retention rates. Investing in the professional development and career advancement of your employees builds trust and confidence, leading to a more dedicated workforce for the employees you need to hold onto.
  2. An internal talent pool. While you may be considering layoffs, training your current employees to fill other open roles within the company can create an internal talent pool that will allow you to confidently build a strong workforce and leadership team.
  3. Confident workers and leaders. By investing in their training and future with the company, you’re increasing confidence and satisfaction in your workers, which leads to higher productivity and more motivated workers. You’ll have employees who excel at their work and leaders who know what they’re doing.

With less turnover and more satisfied, successful employees, your company can be more increase productivity and revenue over time.

Read more: Education Benefits Can Bring Long-Term ROI

How to train employees for new jobs

Training current employees for new jobs within your business isn’t simple, but the results can be worth it. In order to train your workers, however, you’ll need to do more than simply offer upskilling opportunities or encourage them to further their education. You’ll need to ensure they’re aware that the training exists and that it’s essential to growth at the company. In order to train employees for new jobs, you’ll want to

  • Decide which employees should be reskilled or upskilled. While offering training can aid in forgoing major layoffs, there will still be some employees who won’t benefit from upskilling or reskilling. Before offering the opportunity to train for a new role, it’s important that the employee is interested and willing to complete a training program and has potential to succeed in a new role.
  • Assess who needs training. Not all employees who can move to another role need formal training. Some may have the skills you need just based on their previous work experience or their experience gained working for you. If someone doesn’t need training to move into a new role – outside of any job-specific tasks that can be learned on the job – save the space for someone who does.
  • Make training a priority. Some workers may hesitate to enroll in offered training programs because they don’t have the time outside of work to focus on learning. If you’re upskilling and reskilling employees to fill internal roles, make sure you make their training a priority. That could mean offering time during the workday to progress in their training.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure that employees are aware of any deadlines for completing their programs or training and that they stay motivated to complete their learning. If an employee isn’t progressing and reminders to complete their training aren’t helpful, then it may be beneficial to let that worker go and make space in the training program for someone who does want to learn and grow with the company.

Read more: How to Improve Workforce Training Through Microlearning

Partner with a proven training provider

Training programs can allow you to cut the number of layoffs you need to make and redirect the employees you were going to let go to new roles within the business. But an internal training program run by your HR team may not be able to handle the training and upskilling needed – that's where a training partner comes in. By working with a training partner that offers online, self-paced programs in a variety of industries, you can have a simple path toward skills attainment and professional development available to all workers. With Penn Foster, you can offer a range of upskilling opportunities in in-demand industries to your employees. To learn more about the programs that may work best for your needs and goals, reach out to one of our training experts today!