ASU+GSV: Yael Gilboa Kaufmann on why upskilling and reskilling are critical to an inclusive recovery

WorkingNation interviews leaders in public, private, and nonprofit spheres attending the ASU+GSV Virtual Summit as part of our #WorkingNationOverheard campaign

Upskilling and reskilling existing employees rather than seeking new hires from the outside might be one key to an inclusive post-pandemic recovery.

WorkingNation interviewed Learn In’s Yael Gilboa Kaufmann for #WorkingNationOverheard as a media partner with ASU+GSV’s Virtual Summit 2020, held September 29 through October 1+October 8. You can watch all of the interviews on our YouTube channel. Kaufmann is COO and co-founder at Learn In.

She says while it’s always been more cost-effective to cover the costs and allow time for existing employees to get new training and education as opposed to hiring externally, the pandemic has created a new urgency.

“We’ve found with the pandemic women or others who are caregivers in the home, the people who are left often to upskill on their own time and on their own dime, are not those who have existing support networks,” Gilboa Kaufmann says.

“We are big believers at Learn In of aligning all the incentives and unblocking all the barriers to upskilling, number one: time. People say they don’t have time to learn, and when we think about all of the additional responsibilities, whether it’s caring for those in your home or having to be an all-of-a-sudden school teacher at home, being able to upskill yourself on your own time, if your employer isn’t offering time, can be a huge challenge and a barrier to advancing within an organization.”

To close the skills gap, employers have traditionally looked outside their firm to recruit. But Gilboa Kaufmann says hiring and firing is expensive and “loses the inherent value that employees have with their internal domain expertise and knowledge.”

She said businesses stumble on this front because it is difficult to assess the landscape of a company, and to understand where the skills gap exists, and then to figure out how to close it. Learn In identifies the incentives for companies, and “helps equip HR leaders and leaders within various businesses in being able to say, ‘I’m going to put a dollar in and it’s going to be 10 times the value because I’m investing in my workforce and that workforce is then going to pay me a return on that investment by delivering on the business outcomes that we all care about.’”

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