Learning & Development

7 Strategies to Build a Resilient Talent Ecosystem for the Great Reskilling

Human resources (HR) leaders are deeply familiar with the Great Resignation and the millions of individuals who quit their jobs over the past few years. However, it is likely that many aren’t as aware of an equally important development known as the Great Reskilling. This momentous transformation represents the growing desire among employees for roles that provide a sense of meaning and accomplishment, as well as pathways for personal growth and opportunities to learn new skills.

The American Phycological Association outlines the new expectations from today’s workforce in its 2024 Trends Report, stating that in the wake of the pandemic and other technological trends like artificial intelligence (AI), people across different vocations are rethinking what they want to get out of their work – namely, jobs that deliver satisfaction, growth, and stability. Nevertheless, due to misalignments between employees’ understanding of their skills, unclear job and skill expectations, learning opportunities, and the demands of their roles, many don’t feel secure and will resign in search of greener pastures.

Of course, lack of growth opportunities and feelings of skill disparity aren’t the only reasons employees quit. Still, for organizations to effectively retain employees amid the Great Reskilling, their HR teams must deploy talent-nurturing strategies emphasizing continuous learning and professional development. This approach will create a resilient talent ecosystem that will not only help reduce turnover and related costs but also foster an agile workforce that can adapt quickly to emerging challenges and stay competitive.

Continuous Learning 

An essential aspect of any talent-nurturing strategy is that it promotes continuous learning. Training shouldn’t end once the onboarding process is complete but should be a constant part of life for any employee. Companies can strengthen staff retention by investing time and resources in their workforce through the structured rollout of training, education and mentorship programs. Skill assessment and development workshops will also allow employees to identify pathways for professional growth. These efforts will likewise demonstrate to employees how much their employer cares about their personal development, strengthening retention.

Skills-Based Hiring and Training  

Another means by which HR leaders can create a more resilient talent ecosystem is by transitioning from static job titles to dynamic skill sets. For example, rather than hiring based on degrees and job titles, HR teams should select candidates based on how closely their skills match the role. Gartner reveals that skills now surpass degrees as the “paper ceiling” crumbles. Beyond skills-based hiring practices, businesses can apply this same mindset to training programs where employees aren’t merely climbing a ladder for the next job title but for new qualifications and capabilities.


Recognition is also crucial to reinforce an employee’s sense of value, helping to minimize turnover. Employees will stay longer and be more productive if they feel their efforts are adequately recognized and rewarded. In fact, a report from the Brandon Hall Group discovered that businesses that prioritize habitually recognizing their employees throughout the month are 41% more likely to enjoy greater employee retention. Moreover, these businesses are 34% more likely to see increased employee engagement. Likewise, companies should develop targeted development and recognition programs aligned with individual skills and contributions to track and reward progress more accurately.

Balancing Fulfillment and Productivity 

In the era of the Great Reskilling, a workforce needs to feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their work. At the same time, businesses need to keep the lights on. Therefore, HR leaders must work with other departments to create initiatives and methods that balance personal employee self-actualization and professional productivity. U.S. worker productivity has been at an all-time low, leaving workers unmotivated to continue their job search efforts. Enterprises must implement techniques to measure productivity – when necessary, they should redefine job roles to harmonize individual aspirations and business needs.

Leveraging Technology 

HR teams must utilize data and other technology, like AI, to ensure all learning, training and mentorship programs align with larger business objectives. For example, AI-powered systems could examine various databases and identify a skills gap in the workforce. From there, an automatic alert will get sent to HR so that they know which learning opportunities to prioritize internally and which skills they must look for when hiring. These AI-driven insights and tooling will help synchronize workforce skills with emerging and future opportunities, protecting the company against market unpredictability.

Talent-Fostering Strategy in Action: Fortune 100 Food Services Company 

Today, even some of the largest and most successful companies rely on a rigid yet vague career growth structure that often seems confusing and arbitrary to employees. Recently, a Fortune 100 food services company, having recognized that its current system was not conducive to attracting, retaining and nurturing technical talent, partnered with a leading digital transformation services and product engineering company to implement a technology-first strategy to build a robust talent ecosystem.

Over 1,000 practitioners actively engaged in the newly developed upskilling program, including skill matrices, growth pathways, career development tracks and talent resources for critical roles in software engineering, technology leadership and project management. This new talent ecosystem also had support from a governance body, including knowledge management tools and social networking structures. Additionally, the partnership saw the development of the organization’s first competency center, which contributed to the hiring, developing and retaining of top software engineering talent, helping the company more effectively pursue its digital transformation initiatives.

Getting Help from Other Departments  

It is important to note that although HR professionals will most likely spearhead the development of a resilient talent ecosystem to reduce turnover, they will need help from organizational and technology leaders to realize some of the more technically advanced strategies and mythologies. Leaders must collaborate effectively, leaning into each other’s proficiencies and capabilities. Their concerted efforts will ensure everyone within the organization has the tools and resources they need to embrace new opportunities and tackle the future’s uncertainties.

Ashley Kontos, Principal Consultant, Talent Enablement & Transformation at EPAM Systems, Inc.

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