Employee Preparedness is Imperative for Business Recovery

By Adrienne Way, Edcor owner and CEO

The world of work is changing rapidly. Even before the coronavirus pandemic employee preparedness was a challenge in the wake of AI, technological innovation and shifting market demands. Today the pandemic has changed how businesses operate and what they need to ensure success. Today business must ensure employee preparedness in order to navigate an uncertain future.

It is clear that Americans believe they need more education and training to recover from the effects of the coronavirus. A June Strada Education Network survey shows that 35 percent of people who lost jobs or work hours said they needed more skills to get a similar job.

Worker worry about skills is a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus. The US has about 15 million few jobs than it did in February, the month before the pandemic forced wide-spread shutdown. Now as business begin to open there still is great uncertainty. Coronavirus surges threaten recovery. Sometimes workers who are laid off during a crisis don’t get hired back. Often recovery from a crisis involves new ways of working and new processes. Even before the crisis employee preparedness meant that many workers faced the need to improve technical skills. “One conclusion seems reasonable,” says John Aubrey Douglass, senior research fellow in public policy and higher education at University of California, Berkeley. “Americans will generally need greater access to higher education and vocational training programmes, not less, even if it includes a more online, more socially distant experience.”

This need for more skills – employee preparedness – is crucial for businesses, as well as their workers, during the time of recovery from the pandemic and beyond. Helping employees achieve preparedness will help businesses adapt and change. Employee preparedness will increase a company’s resilience. Businesses that promote employee education through tuition benefits will find that their employees will have necessary skills. Whether employees are seeking degrees or alternate work credentials, their higher education is valuable to all stakeholders.

Supporting employee education benefits is a best practice for employers. They can assure that employees:
• Develop their technical skills. Virtually every business operates in a world were these skills are important, from retail to medical services and education.
• Enhance their problem solving, creativity, innovation skills. These skills help businesses adapt procedures and drive efficiency. For example in production environments, companies may need to find new supply chains or change logistics. Adaptation like this require creative thinking and the ability to innovate.
• Advance their interpersonal skills. With the world of work going online, it is even more important to establish and maintain relationships with co-workers, customers, suppliers remotely, without personal contact.

Solving worker preparedness problems from within creates long-term benefits for employers. A recent McKinsey survey showed that companies with successful reskilling programs could to fill skill gaps caused by technology, and could develop new business models. Even companies that didn’t feel their reskilling programs were successful were glad they had attempted reskilling. They feel better prepared to handle future skill gaps. “The lesson here,” says McKinsey, “is that simply getting started on reskilling programs makes organizations better prepared for potential future role disruption—and is preferable to waiting.”

Tuition assistance programs will help companies prepare for future disruptions. As companies initiate changes that help them recover from the pandemic or adopt new technology, employee preparedness will lead to success. Encouraging employee education will need to be a continual effort. Using tuition assistance to further their education, employees will develop technological skills that give them an advantage in working with new technology. Employees will develop the analytical skills to identify future problems and the creative skills to develop solutions. Tuition assistance that builds employee preparedness will build companies that can recover from a crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic. The McKinsey report states, “Companies can’t be resilient if their workforces aren’t. Building your reskilling muscle now is the first step to ensuring that your organization’s recovery business model is a success.”