Everything you need to know about upskilling and reskilling
Published on December 1st, 2022
What is upskilling and reskilling?
Upskilling is defined as the process of learning new skills or training workers for a new set of skills.
Reskilling on the other hand, refers to the process of acquiring new skills with the intent to shift to a different job. This includes corporate training provided by employers..
Upskilling in a professional context is conducted by teaching employees skills pertinent to their domain of work. This addresses the issue of talent gaps in the company and assists them in their professional endeavors. Employees can grow along their chosen career paths and employers can provide opportunities for them to do so, prompting them to stay with the company.
With reskilling, an employer looks for employees who possess skills similar in nature to the new skills that the company is looking for. This helps the employee learn quicker and easier. The reason why employers might choose to reskill rather than employ someone new is that current employees have experience with the company and culture. This knowledge is extremely valuable to employers as it ensures that the employee will be able to function in the company. It also reduces the cost and time involved in hiring and training employees.
There is also a dire need for upskilling and reskilling with the current growth level of tech. In the coming years, companies will have mandatory training sessions so that their employees can keep up in a dynamic industry.The World Economic Forum has estimated that half of a company’s workforce will require reskilling by 2025 as a result of constant technological advancement.
So are they the same or different?
Well, yes and no.
They are different in the sense that they are differing processes and the means of conducting them are not the same. They are similar in the aspects that they both involve a company’s existing employees and are aimed at achieving similar results.
Upskilling prioritizes developing the employee and the skills they already possess. Their knowledge of their field of work is key in this regard. This education is meant to prepare them to adapt to changes in the work environment. Depending on the assessment of the company’s needs, upskilling can also be aimed at improving existing employees’ value as a means for internal hiring.
Reskilling on the other hand, is aimed at providing a completely new set of skills for the employee so that they can shift to a new job within the company. It is more in depth, with the completion of a degree being mandatory in some cases. When a company values the institutional knowledge that an employee has accumulated, reskilling is a way to retain that knowledge and fill a position in the company at the same time.
The benefits of upskilling and reskilling
There are a variety of benefits from upskilling and reskilling, which also are aligned with the needs of the company. To highlight some of them :
Future proofing: By training their employees, a company can prepare itself for the future and meet future demand. By developing an employee’s skills, a company can preemptively solve the issue of a lack of skills in its workforce.
Talent retention: Retraining employees motivates them to stay with their company. Retaining talented employees can position a company ahead of its competition and reduce turnover rates. LinkedIn Learning found that up to 94% of workers would choose to stay with their company if employers actively invested in their careers.
Identifying skills: Upskilling and reskilling empowers employees to identify their skills, even if they are hidden. By providing opportunities for employees to learn new skills the company can understand the potential of their employees.
Talent mobility: Employee training demonstrates a company’s commitment to the development of their employees. This can attract applicants to the company who are looking for a company that values its employees. The career development of employees generates internal movement in the company.
Reduces hiring and training cost for new employees - By training employees, companies can eliminate the need for hiring and training as current employees can either replace or move up in job roles. Since employees possess institutional knowledge, the time and cost involved in training new employees is cut down immensely.
The benefits of upskilling and reskilling extend to both employees and employers. Thus both sides have reason to engage in it. Employee training is also useful in training employees in soft skills which can be hard to learn normally.
How does one go about it?
There are a multitude of ways to implement reskilling and upskilling in your company. They involve a few steps which are :
Deciding company objectives
The start of any employee training routine is dependent on having a set of desired consequences. Company objectives refer to the results or outcomes that a company desires from its training endeavors. They are based on the path that the industry is headed on in the coming years. This can be estimated by analyzing market trends and developments in business. The needs of the company for the future in terms of its workforce and its capabilities are crucial to developing an accurate set of objectives for upskilling and reskilling.
Conducting employees survey
It is absolutely vital that a survey of a company’s existing employees is conducted in order to assess the condition of the company and its need for upskilling and reskilling. The survey should also aim at understanding the employees’ goals and motivation as it highlights the employees who are ideal for upskilling and reskilling. By comparing the results of the survey with the objectives that the company has decided upon, a strategy can be determined.
At this stage, the strategy that has been developed following the employee survey is implemented and accordingly preparations are made for upskilling and reskilling.Employees are educated on the skills that the company has provided. A plan of action in this case can involve different scheduled training sessions as well as a period of review.
An important aspect of this is to regularly monitor employees who are currently undergoing or have finished their training. Active monitoring ensures that employees are putting an effort towards the acquisition of skills and are effectively using the skills imparted to them. By receiving feedback from employees, a company can accordingly modify their plans to be more accommodating for their employees. HR should be involved in this process along with analysts who can determine how useful the skills have been as well as providing us with the skill sets that are in demand in the industry.
So how can employers upskill and reskill their employees?
Here are a few methods to consider
Online courses and certifications : There are numerous online platforms that offer courses on a wide range of subjects. They also have programs for corporate entities that make them a convenient and flexible way to learn new skills or improve existing ones. Due to the pandemic, many are accustomed to online courses and certification which ensures that employees can properly use the resources available to them.
On-the-job training : Many companies offer on-the-job training as a way for employees to learn new skills and advance in their careers. Employers find that this is a very successful way of ensuring that employees can function efficiently in their new roles. This can also be a great way for employees to get hands-on experience and for employers to invest in their current workforce.
Professional development workshops and conferences : Attending professional development workshops and conferences is a great way to learn from industry experts and network with other professionals. By conducting such workshops and encouraging employees to attend them, companies can help their employees form connections that assist them in understanding the responsibilities and duties associated with their role and why they should pursue it.
Degree programs : For those who are on a road to completely change careers, pursuing a degree program may be the right path. This can be a significant investment of time and money on the company’s part but it can also open up new opportunities and lead to a higher potential in their employees. Many governments provide such opportunities to their army personnel so that they can choose to pursue a career following their tenure.
Apprenticeships or Job shadowing : Apprenticeships are a method of upskilling and reskilling that combine practical job training with technical knowledge. An employee observes another employee at work in order to understand the role that they are working at. It is an excellent way of highlighting the daily tasks and routine of a particular role and its function in the company.
It helps the employee assess whether they can handle the work they see and by slowly training them employees can gain confidence and fully comprehend the commitment that they are making towards their career at the company. They benefit from job shadowing as they receive an education that prepares them for highly skilled careers. Employers benefit as they can build a workforce of skilled employees and ensure that they are working at their best while teaching their subordinates.
There are numerous methods for upskilling and reskilling in today's market. It is important for employers to consider the various options and find the right fit for their needs and goals. It is helpful to consider these methods as a way of developing the company without replacing the workforce or having to invest in specific domains where a skill gap exists. Companies can stay competitive in the market as they possess skilled employees. Encouraging employees to continue learning and growing is a win for them and the employers as both parties can position themselves for the future.
Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.
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