Upskilling & Re-skilling

How does reskilling and upskilling help your organization grow?

Published on November 5th, 2022


Technology is evolving with time. A brand-new technological marvel greets the world each morning. The incredibly ambitious technology developments have created numerous opportunities for commercial growth. 

There are opportunities everywhere. However, because of the ongoing advancement in technology, employee training and development have taken a step back due to the continuous uprise in the technical world.

While there is no doubt that technology has brought many opportunities, no one can deny that technology and its continuous upgrades have created a dreadful skill gap among employees. Those who have become accustomed to the old technology need to upgrade themselves after each new launch. 

To prevent performance deterioration and employee demotivation, the responsibility falls upon organizations to arrange employee training and development that focuses on employee upskilling.

Because of this, according to 59% of L&D professionals worldwide, upskilling and reskilling are the top priority for their position. Not only does it give employees the flexibility and room to grow that they need to prosper in the current climate, but it also has enormous long-term benefits for the company.

What Is Reskilling??

Reskilling is the process of learning new skills, either to move into a different job or find a different job role in the same organization or meet the new demands of a current role. 

It’s a good way to move a person who fits better for another role, but for some reason ended up working in a totally different one.

For example, there may be an account manager who is interested in the sales process and is excellent at engaging with clients. After a test run, it turns out that he is a natural salesperson. It would be preferable for the employee and the business to reskill him for a sales position because he is also open to the concept of switching to a sales role.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is the process of learning new skills to enhance your current job role or career path. 

Upskilling is most common within the workplace. Employers may want to train their workforce to acquire new skills, ultimately enabling workers to grow in their current positions and bring added value to the business. 

Yet, employees may upskill on their own by taking short courses, master programs, or professional training to strengthen their career paths. 

Why Are Reskilling and Upskilling Important Now?

The need for organizations to upskill and reskill their employees has never been more evident. Researchers from McKinsey have said that companies who want to come back from the COVID pandemic stronger will need to reskill their workforces. In addition, the World Economic Forum warned that over half of employees around the globe will need to reskill or upskill by 2025 to stay competitive. 

The global reality is there is a labor shortage in almost every industry, and those numbers are not likely to get better. Gone are the days when you could hire new staff who were skilled and ready for future challenges. According to SHRM's skills gap research, 83 percent of HR professionals have recruiting difficulties. And 75 percent of those surveyed said there was a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. Organizations can’t find the talent they need so they need to turn inward and develop it themselves.

Additionally, it is a big undertaking for your company to hire an employee. From the cost of recruiting to training and onboarding, it is a significant investment. It only makes sense to continue capitalizing on that investment by upskilling or reskilling your current employees. It’s likely to cost much less than it would if you hired and trained someone new, even if you could find a good candidate. 

Additionally, it is a big undertaking for your company to hire an employee. From the cost of recruiting to training and onboarding, it is a significant investment. It only makes sense to continue capitalizing on that investment by upskilling or reskilling your current employees. It’s likely to cost much less than it would if you hired and trained someone new, even if you could find a good candidate. 

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Here are some additional reasons why your organization should prioritize upskilling and reskilling.

  • Future-proof your workforce by making it more resilient

Things are changing. The work world is rapidly becoming a new place. For organizations to keep up and stay competitive, you need to invest in your biggest asset: your employees.

Doing this can make your workers more adaptable to changes. Investing in your people can also help your organization avoid disruption, impacting productivity and revenue. In addition, research has found that when employees feel their employer is investing in their development and growth, they are less likely to search for positions at other companies. 

Why would an employee look elsewhere if the company they’re working for is providing them with the growth opportunities they want?

  • The shelf life of skills is getting shorter

The research from the World Economic Forum demonstrates that we are in a time of rapid change. As technology, like automation, takes over and makes some jobs redundant, workers will need to reskill to move into new positions and roles, or they’ll be left unemployed.

The worst possible scenario is that millions could be left without a job. That, in turn, will put pressure on the government and social support spending. Organizations play a key role in how ready we are for the future of work.

  • Top talent wants to join organizations that will develop them

If you want to be an organization that attracts top talent, you’ll need to invest in them.

According to Gallup, 87 percent of millennials have said that professional development and career growth opportunities are very valuable to them.

Businesses that want to continue will need to have a plan for reskilling and upskilling their employees.

Reskilling vs Upskilling

Re-skilling and up-skilling employees are both successful corporate training solutions that employers can use to address the skills gap in their workforce. When is the best moment to employ upskilling and when should you try reskilling? Each of these concepts has advantages and perfect use cases.

Let's clarify by examining the main variations between these two L&D trends:

1. Focus

Reskilling is when employees develop new skills to take on a new job function within their organization.   Employees who have current abilities that match those required for a new position might consider reskilling. A data entry professional with great technological abilities, for instance, could retrain for a position as a data analyst.

On the other side, upskilling calls for workers to acquire new knowledge and abilities but not to assume new roles. It only gives staff members the resources and information they need to carry out their existing duties more skillfully and effectively.

Upskilling is suitable for employees identified with a significant skill gap that needs to be bridged for them to improve performance.

2. Implementation

Reskilling is implemented in situations such as:

  • Retaining reliable, high-performing employees whose roles have become obsolete. 
  • Retaining a pool of employees whose original job function with your organization is no longer needed due to the sunsetting of legacy software.
  • Retaining your current employees while implementing a business strategy that shifts personnel from one department to another.

Upskilling is implemented in situations such as:

  • Helping employees succeed in their current jobs. 
  • Helping your workforce adapt to new changes in the industry. 
  • New software implementations
  • Helping your workforce remain confident and knowledgeable in their field of expertise – even if that field changes and develops.

Benefits of Reskilling for Organizations

When you reskill your people to take on new tasks or roles, you can save time and money in the short term.

You can also build a stronger employer brand, a deeper bench of talent, and a wellspring of innovation over the longer term.

Here are a few benefits of implementing reskilling programs in your organization.

1. Develop your employees’ skills: 

Employees have the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally through reskilling training programs. It serves as a starting point for an employee development program that offers reskilling training to help workers keep up with the rapid changes in technology and future-proof their careers.

2. Retain company knowledge and processes:

Between the Great Resignation, layoffs, elimination of old roles, and general employee turnover, company knowledge loss is a big concern for organizations.

When an experienced employee leaves, all of your company’s valuable information, which takes years to obtain, is lost.

Reskilling your employees with the internal company knowledge they need allows you to retain your best team members. Furthermore, these employees have invaluable company knowledge, which enables them to work without assistance, complete tasks more quickly, and generate higher-quality products.

3. Higher workplace morale:

Career planning clearly shows how much your company regards its employees. It promotes employee happiness, satisfaction, and motivation in their jobs by bringing comfort to the workplace.

Benefits of Upskilling Employees

The process of employee upskilling entails teaching new skills and boosting employee competency and productivity. An organization may more easily achieve its goals and maintain its competitiveness in the market the more trained its workforce is.

Although employee upskilling programs assist both people and organizations in a variety of ways, some key aspects highlighting their significance have been outlined below.

1. Minimizes cost and time:

Considering the efforts and investments involved, recruiting a qualified job applicant to fill vacant positions is arduous. By upskilling existing employees, an enterprise will also instill multitasking skills by broadening employees’ horizons at work.
2. Helps to reduce turnover rates: 

Employees do not want to stay at a company that is not concerned about their career trajectory. Such employees would likely start seeking a better organization that puts a premium on their career progression. Upskilling carves a learning culture that inspires the employees to associate with their organization for long, hence significantly contributing to higher employee retention rates.

3. Improves performance:

Upskilling fosters skills improvement, enabling employees to explore the pathway to new skills and career progression. This empowerment leads the employees to master their current roles and helps the organization accommodate evolving business needs.

4. Helps develop self-awareness: 

Employee upskilling programs can assist in identifying employees' strengths and weaknesses, which is useful in determining what new skills they should learn to enhance their capabilities. Employees can periodically monitor their development thanks to these programs.

5. Improves efficiency levels: 

Every organization aims to attain higher-than-usual productivity. Upskilling the workforce will help them anticipate the diverse needs of different clients and accordingly deliver proper solutions.

How to Reskill & Upskill Your Workforce

It could take some time to decide on a plan to reskill and upskill your workforce. But it's crucial to do it correctly. Here are some of the steps you should follow during the process.

  • Uncover skill gaps and current capabilities:

Conduct a skills gap study to address the difficulty of upskilling and reskilling your staff. This entails considering the competencies your company will require to be on top. Compare it to the skills that your present staff possess. The skills gap in your workforce will be apparent. You'll be ready to create a plan or strategy to reskill or upskill your employees once you have a clear grasp of the skill gap your firm is experiencing.

  • On-the-job training:

To close the skills gap, establish some on-the-job training chances. This is one of the simplest solutions. This may involve job shadowing, in which a worker observes another employee at work so they can learn how to perform the task. However, this approach will not work for every position you have in your organization

  • Mentoring:

You might expand on an existing workplace mentorship program at your organization to support your upskilling or reskilling objectives.

Mentoring supports learning by encouraging people to become curious and enthusiastic about what they are learning. Additionally, it might be a useful tool in your succession strategy.

  • Peer coaching:

Engaging employees in peer coaching or mentoring is another way to improve employee upskilling or reskilling training. With this strategy, peers can serve as coaches to help coworkers acquire the abilities that will accelerate their growth.

  • Blended learning:

Not everyone learns the same, so investing in a blended learning program could be a good idea. This style of employee development program combines in-class and online learning to help solidify the exchange of knowledge. 

Final note

Upskilling and reskilling take time, just like everything worthwhile. They can greatly help your organization when strategically implemented and put into place. 

Additionally, there isn't a single answer that works in all ecosystems, so use trial and error and consult your workforce while making these choices.

Getting your workers excited to learn more is one of the single best ways you can future-proof your organization. Focusing on reskilling and upskilling is simultaneously the best way to do it and one of the best ways to solve today's challenges.

The more your workers are prepared to learn, the more prepared they — and you — will be for the challenges and changes of tomorrow.

Do you have an upskilling & reskilling hack that works well for your organization? Tell us in the comments below!

Employees are guided rather than directed in a safe environment where they can explore and ask questions. It can be very useful as a coaching tool for leaders.

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Radhika Sarraf

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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