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The term “automation” has practically become synonymous with layoffs. Business and tech journalists constantly write about how the continuous introduction of new technology will make jobs around the world obsolete.

It’s true that certain technology will eliminate many positions—but it will also create new ones. As more manual tasks are handled with automation, companies will need employees who can perform advanced tasks and operations that machines aren’t capable of, whether that’s managing a team or building an organization’s growth strategy.

To fill these new roles, companies must embrace employee training. “Reskilling” workers allows businesses to be agile in constant technological change. Rather than hiring or outsourcing for every new skill, companies can train existing, trusted employees to handle the shifts in their industry.

In this post, we’ll break down exactly why reskilling workforces is essential in 2020 and explain how to create this training with video.


Why reskilling employees is necessary

As automation becomes more prevalent, research predicts that employees will need new skills to thrive. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 report, more than a quarter of companies anticipate that automation will create new jobs in their field. McKinsey has identified three skill areas that will be most in demand by 2030, given the rise of automation:

  • Social and emotional intelligence, such as showing empathy and working collaboratively in teams. McKinsey estimates a 24% increase in demand for these skills in roles by 2030.
  • Technological skills. As companies introduce new tools to automate tasks, they will need employees with advanced technical skills to operate the tools. McKinsey estimates a 55% increase in demand for technical skills.
  • Higher cognitive skills, such as creativity and critical thinking. McKinsey estimates a 55% increase in demand for these skills by 2030.


 Total hours worked in Europe and United States, 2016 vs 2030 estimate.  The image is part of the resource post How to Reskill and Upskill your Workforce With Video 


For companies, there isn’t a single solution to meet the demand for these new skills. Outsourcing, hiring, and training will all be used to fill new jobs. Of these solutions, however, training proves to be one of the most cost-effective.

According to a 2018 report from Training Magazine, the average cost of training existing team members is $986 per employee, while the Center of American Progress found replacing employees on average costs 21% of their salary. Without a doubt, this could greatly impact your payroll. Outsourcing also brings its own costs, both monetary and non-monetary. Compared to managing an employee, it takes more time to oversee freelancer and agency relationships and ensure that the work is being done properly.

Beyond costs, training empowers companies to quickly adapt to the rise of automation. Outsourcing and hiring take time, as it’s difficult to find high-quality employees and services. Focusing on internal training enables employers to make the most of their current resources and avoid the time and monetary costs associated with seeking external solutions.

Many leading companies are already embracing reskilling as a solution. AT&T launched a $1 billion reskilling program for its 250,000+ employees. Amazon has also pledged to retrain a third of its workforce—nearly 100,000 people—by 2025.

Luckily, you don’t need the budget of a Fortune 500 company to embrace the trend of reskilling. With accessible, affordable software, businesses can create their own training content to grow employees’ skill sets.

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How to reskill and upskill your workforce with video

Training solutions, of course, aren’t always cost-effective. Outsourcing training to other companies is often an expensive investment. For companies who want a budget-friendly option, creating in-house training is ideal.

Video training is particularly easy to create internally. With the right software, you can quickly create high-quality videos for your team at a reasonable cost.

  • Fast: You don’t need to be a graphic designer or film producer to create training videos. Accessible software, like Vyond, offers drag-and-drop video templates so you can create professional-grade training in minutes.
  • Affordable: The subscription fee for video software is almost always going to be lower than the cost of hiring new employees or outsourcing work. It will also take a small amount of time to create these videos, in comparison to the long amount of time it takes to hire or outsource work.
  • High-quality: Modern video creation tools are equipped with professionally designed props, characters, and scenery—as well as plenty of effects—so your training is always polished. They also offer customization options so you can create training that is useful for your team.

By creating video training, you’re able to prepare your workforce and company for the rise of automation without compromising on cost or quality. We’ll break down below how you can build video training programs to teach employees the three skills that McKinsey predicts will be the most valuable in 2030.

Social and emotional intelligence

Even the most advanced machinery doesn’t have the social and emotional intelligence that roles across all industries require. Research predicts that as more basic skills are handled with automation, companies will want more employees who bring these social and emotional skills to the table. McKinsey estimates that 24% more working hours will be spent using these skills in the US.

Video is ideal for helping employees develop social and emotional intelligence. Using this medium, you’re able to create scenarios that illustrate the positive behaviors that you’re trying to teach. The stylized look of animation is especially suited for this type of training. Rather than depict difficult social topics like harassment with live video, you can use animation to make the subject feel more approachable.

As an example, check out this training video we created about “P.E.T.E.,” an acronym to help service representatives respond to frustrated customers in a positive, helpful manner.



The video starts with a scenario that gives employees a clear idea of what a negative customer interaction looks like. From there, a combination of character actions and on-screen text is used to teach reps how to improve their conversations. As a bonus, the video includes both whiteboard hand animations and fun music to keep employees engaged in the training.

When creating video that bolsters social and emotional skills, there are several tips to keep in mind:

  • Use facial expressions of characters, or even just smiley faces, to quickly convey emotions. The alternative of describing feelings with text or narration takes longer and is less impactful.
  • Consider showing both a “do” and a “don’t” situation, as seeing both scenarios gives employees a clear understanding of how they should act.
  • If you’re showing these videos in a classroom/office setting, pause between scenarios to ask employees questions about the situations and the ways they might act if they were in the characters’ shoes.

By depicting scenarios with engaging visuals, video teaches employees how to successfully navigate social situations at work.

Technical skills

The rise of automation will bring more advanced technologies to workplaces. In response, companies will need employees with advanced technical skills to operate and optimize these tools. McKinsey predicts that 55% more working hours will be spent using technological skills by 2030.

Video content is well-equipped for helping workers build these crucial skills. Unlike manuals, video allows you to display a product as it’s being used, so viewers can learn how to interact with its given features. Narration is another useful video element for technological training, allowing you to explain how a tool works through a voice recording while showing the product in action.

Consider this example of how to use Slack’s video conferencing feature:


The tutorial (one of a series) uses screencasting to demonstrate the product’s features. By deploying the training as a series of quick videos, Slack keeps the content engaging and easy to follow.

When creating your own videos to teach technical skills, follow these suggestions to keep employees focused on the training.

  • If you’re teaching employees to use software, create a screencast of someone using the product while narrating their actions to explain how to use it. Hearing instructions while seeing the product in action will give employees a full understanding of how to use the product.
  • Try to incorporate characters into your lesson to make the instructions you’re providing more engaging. Switching back to the figure, whether it’s footage of an employee or an animated character, will give employees a mental break from the lesson, so they’re able to absorb the information more easily when you dive back into the content.

Introducing new technology to your business doesn’t have to be disruptive. Prepare your workforce for the new tools by creating your own technical training videos.

Higher cognitive thinking skills

With automation handling more manual tasks, companies are able to dedicate more of their workforce to higher-order thinking, such as creativity, data analysis, and synthesis. McKinsey estimates that 8% more working hours will be dedicated to using higher cognitive skills by 2030.

Video is a powerful tool for building these higher cognitive thinking skills in employees. With video, you can show how this type of thinking is used in practice, so it feels less nebulous and more concrete for employees.

As an example of this training, consider this video from North Carolina State University. It teaches students and faculty about how to employ creative design thinking when solving new problems.


The video makes the design process easier to understand through a scenario. A character confronts a design problem, and the video walks through the steps that viewers should take to arrive at a solution. The story arc and the fun animations throughout the video keep the training engaging for employees to watch.

  • Create training content for building higher cognitive skills that are approachable and understandable with these tips:
  • Create a video of tips that employees can use to complete higher cognitive tasks. A universal set of advice will be especially helpful since higher cognitive skills can be used in a variety of situations at work.
  • When creating video content that focuses on data analysis, consider using infographics—such as charts and graphs—to visually explain how to interpret figures.
  • If you plan on showing the video in person, designate stopping points where you can ask employees to model the thinking skills being presented. This role-playing will help employees understand how to utilize these skills when tackling complex cognitive tasks at work.

With thoughtful video training, you’re able to build employees’ creative and critical skills as the demand for higher cognitive thinking increases.


Preparing your employees for the future of work

The skills gap created by automation will require a number of solutions. The government, for example, may need to step in to provide citizens with financial assistance. Citizens may choose to further their education to have access to more job opportunities.

For employers, there is a clear response that is both cost-effective and sustainable: reskilling employees. Hiring and outsourcing work is both costly and time-consuming. As a quick and budget-friendly alternative, companies can create their own training programs. This solution allows businesses to quickly adapt to changes caused by automation with employees they know and trust. Using the training tactics in this post, you can start reskilling employees at your company by building video training programs.

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