Before you switch careers, you need to tell HR about reskilling


Have you heard of “The Great Resignation,” the latest job market trend that has organizations scrambling to attract and retain talent? Is it making you think about a career switch yourself? If this is the case, you may want to consider telling HR about a surprising solution: reskilling.

“Today, we’re seeing a heightened war for talent, and ‘The Great Resignation’ means people are leaving their jobs at an alarming rate. 1 in 3 workers are now considering leaving their job, while almost 60% are rethinking their career,” says Steve Black, co-founder of Topia, an HR tech company specializing in global talent mobility.

“Reskilling is the process of learning new skills to take on a different job within the same company or to add on skills to stay relevant as your role changes around you.”

According to him, reskilling is such a great solution because it allows companies to fill the gaps left by those who resign and save costs incurred by turnover. And they get to retain top talent by supporting their career growth, which makes it a win-win for you and your desired career moves.

Why reskilling is a win-win

“Shifts in the future of work are compelling organizations to embrace a more global approach to labor to achieve business objectives. In the new world of work, specialized skills may be scarce, which makes attracting and retaining the right talent essential to success,” says Black.

“Equally important will be the reskilling of the existing workforce and flexibility in the deployment of that talent. Flexible teams that draw on resources when needed and from wherever they reside will have the competitive business advantage.”

Besides saving companies time and money, it also helps you avoid putting your own time and energy into job hunting efforts. And it might advance your career even faster.

“It can be used as an opportunity to grow within an organization whereas undertaking a career switch will result in professionals starting over again,” says Black.

“We’ve seen some organizations use a project marketplace internally for short (a few hours a week) projects that sit next to your primary job. This is often reskilling in disguise and has big benefits for the company and individual.”

Reskilling is also a good alternative to quitting your job if you’re excited about the idea of relocating. Or if factors such as increased flexibility are more important to you than pay.

“Our recent survey shows employees still want international experience, and they are willing to do so without a pay increase. 79% of respondents said they would consider moving abroad for work,” says Black.

“People want the ability to work flexibly, and reskilling can help achieve this. By offering a wide variety of opportunities for employees to gain the broader experience and perspective they desire, companies can benefit by matching the right internal and external candidates to the right roles regardless of geographical boundaries.”

The result? An environment that “drives both employee engagement and organizational agility.”

How to talk to HR about reskilling

Now that you understand the benefits of reskilling, you might want to bring up the topic with HR and make a case for it. Black shared his insights on having a fruitful conversation that will encourage your employer to embrace reskilling while giving you and other employees greater opportunities in the process.

Bring up the company benefits

First, start the conversation by mentioning what’s in it for the organization.

“Reskilling is a business advantage for the employer as it saves the company money on rehiring costs when employees resign,” says Black.

Discuss relocation opportunities

If moving abroad or to a different state sounds like an appealing adventure, don’t be shy about offering to relocate.

“Consider if your skills are in demand elsewhere and raise your hand to relocate: Global talent mobility—the process of deploying, managing, and engaging employees anywhere in the world—means employees’ work location is based on where their talent is needed, not where they may live today.”

You can even offer to train others if your skillset is super valuable in your organization.

“Deploying your skills globally to reskill others who need new training supports a mobility strategy in that companies can and should relocate existing employees to be the experts where their talents are needed, instead of hiring brand new talent.”

Emphasize employee engagement

HR departments care about employee engagement more than ever, so that’s something you’ll want to emphasize while discussing the positive impact of reskilling. “Emphasize to HR that reskilling is an initiative that keeps workforces motivated and improves the employee experience,” suggests Black.

The dos and don’ts of successful reskilling initiatives

But, just like any management approach, reskilling won’t work if it’s not implemented properly. Black shared the dos and don’ts of successful reskilling initiatives, which is something you’ll want to keep in mind when discussing with your HR department.


  • Listen when employees express interest in new roles and look beyond competitive compensation, benefits, and lifestyle perks.
  • Offer job flexibility combined with talent fluidity to motivate and engage employees with opportunities for growth and advancement.
  • Leverage talent mobility to facilitate these conversations and allow employees to explore options beyond their current roles while providing the tools to help them get there.


  • Don’t simply offer higher pay when employees are looking for career growth. Modern workers demand growth opportunities, both personal and professional. They want unique experiences to expand their skillsets, explore new cultures and gain a broader perspective on both their career and the world around them.
  • Don’t narrowly think about reskilling in isolation. When combined with various types of talent mobility (remote work, permanent relocation, and assignments) it is even more powerful.

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