Technology with its profound impact is disrupting the business world. Organizations need employees who are agile, flexible, versatile, or multi-skilled to handle volatile technological advancements. Here is more on the benefits of multi-skilling the workforce and tips on how to achieve this in an organization.

versatility in the workplace

The rapidly evolving marketplace, technological advancements, and high competition is making businesses look for a workforce that can handle new tasks smoothly and are willing to learn and upskill themselves on the latest technological and business requirements. Versatility is becoming a highly valued skill in the workplace. Companies need multi-skilled employees who are ready to come out of their comfort zones and explore new challenges.

Being versatile is a quality where a person can switch from one task to another easily.

So, that brings a new set of character traits to look for during the hiring process. How well can the candidate deal with pressure? Is he open to new technology? Do new opportunities excite him? These criteria become more important than resumes or background checks.

We see the human resources department showing a noticeable preference towards such candidates who are agile and versatile.

Why should you have a multi-skilled workforce?

Multi-skilled employees can help an organization stay competitive in the longer term. Let’s see how this is possible.

  • Minimizes disruption– A versatile employee can easily cover the absence of his co-workers. This can ensure that the workflow doesn’t get affected if a key employee is absent for a while. Companies can also handle sudden events or unexpected pandemic like COVID-19 with little hiccups. A versatile workforce can rise to the occasion fast and adapt to the new technological requirements.
  • Reduces the need to outsource– many companies outsource specialized skills rather than hiring in-house to reduce human resource costs. Often the need for such niche skills is only temporary. Multi-skilled employees can handle such temporary requirements and reduce the dependency on contractors.
  • Improves efficiency – Versatile employees would be your biggest assets. They can execute different tasks efficiently and cover up the sudden disruption in the workflow. Besides, they move from one task to another and utilize the work hours better.
  • Learning and development- As you put more effort into training your workforce; it increases the knowledge base of the organization. The productivity and the overall satisfaction level of the employees also increase simultaneously.

How can you build a multi-skilled workforce?

The idea of a multi-skilled workforce is attractive. But is it tough to build one?

It’s quite simple. Just following these steps will ensure a versatile and productive workforce.

  • Regular and effective training – Employees need continuous learning and skill development opportunities to perform at work and handle a diverse set of tasks. Analyze the current training needs and also discuss with the department heads to understand future requirements. The training programs should also anticipate and cover these future needs. Training sessions should be effective and interesting so that the employees are motivated to seek more training opportunities to upskill themselves.
  • Cross-functional collaboration– There should be good communication and exchange of ideas between the employees of various departments. The exchange can happen during formal and informal interactions. This will create knowledge sharing and increase the skill levels of the employees and their awareness about the various processes in the company.
  • Reward programs for learning new skills – The reward and recognition programs could include skill development as an important criterion. The HR department can introduce perks or rewards to employees who have learned maximum new skills within a given period.
  • Provide opportunities to experiment with new skills – Learning is effective only when it is put into action. Department heads need to assign employees to tasks that help them to experiment with their newly acquired learning. This will reinforce the knowledge and also make the employees confident of their skills.


The volatile business environment and the increasing attrition level emphasize the need to have a multi-skilled workforce and minimize unexpected disruptions in the business. Apart from this, a versatile workforce also increases overall organizational efficiency. Encouraging versatility in the workplace also increases brand reputation and attracts talented employees.