Employers looking to shake things up and stay ahead of the curve may benefit by implementing the “military model” into their processes. What does this entail?
According to Alicia Kouparitsas, chief customer officer at WithYouWithMe (WYWM), it simply means to upskill and reskill rather than outside hire, as is done in the military.
“There’s a clear distinction between how the military obtains expertise compared to the corporate sector. While businesses tend to recruit for skills, the military trains their people to become experts in their field,” said Ms Kouparitsas.
“As such, the military’s workforce management model is based on a continuous learning approach. It focuses on upskilling employees by strengthening their skills for an existing role and reskilling employees by teaching them new skills for a new role. It’s an approach that ensures the workforce is flexible and agile in an unpredictable market.”
Employers looking to implement this model into practice must first recognise what skills need attention in their current workforce. A review of existing skill sets and identifying gaps is an important initial step in helping this model to work effectively.
“Once all skills are mapped, the focus can then shift to training. Effective upskilling is a critical element of a skills-based employment model. When developing training programs, it’s important to recognise that creating motivation and enabling personalisation significantly amplifies impact, and this is where psychometric and aptitude testing is most valuable,” Ms Kouparitsas explained.
“Importantly, as we’ve seen in the military, the completion of formal training programs shouldn’t mark the end of the learning process. Ongoing upskilling, including mentorships, workshops and discussion groups, can be used to develop a continuous learning approach and assist employees in further honing their newly acquired skills. Helping employees understand what their career path in your organisation may look like over time can also help bring greater meaning and focus to professional development programs. If an individual can see where their skill level is currently and what skills are required to secure their next promotion, it creates further motivation and a positive upskilling cycle.”
Ms Kouparitsas noted that this approach allows for self-sufficiency, creating a more adaptable workforce.
“As emerging technologies continue to redefine job roles and requirements, having the ability to adapt swiftly and effectively mobilise employees into new positions, offers organisations security and resilience against unpredictable market changes,” she said.
“Supporting employees through investment in their development and providing internal mobility opportunities is also likely to increase loyalty and staff retention –particularly as individuals increasingly prioritise professional growth as a key factor in their commitment to an organisation.”
As with most areas of business, there are always challenges that can arise: “For example, the introduction of a skills-led employment model requires a shift in the way an organisation approaches workforce management, and it requires thorough planning to be successful,” said Ms Kouparitsas.
“The best skills-based models also require an initial financial investment in creating a skills framework and mapping the workforce’s current capability level. In the majority of cases, though, the cost of this exercise is more economical than recruiting and onboarding new talent and results in a positive ROI.”
She concluded: “Finally, any new initiative should come with a change management plan to help employees understand the purpose and embrace the shift in approach. Leadership should prioritise clear communication with employees around the rationale behind upskilling and reskilling initiatives and how professional development opportunities will benefit them and their career.”
Benefits include any additional incentives that encourage working a little bit more to obtain outcomes, foster a feeling of teamwork, or increase satisfaction at work. Small incentives may have a big impact on motivation. The advantages build on financial rewards to promote your business as a desirable employer.