Upskilling and reskilling are terms with notable differences. Upskilling involves enhancing existing skills and knowledge. On the other hand, reskilling involves learning something completely new. For example, a programmer may learn a new language to upskill, whereas an accountant may learn coding from the ground up to reskill. In the past, this concept has always existed. The introduction of new software systems has required many of your employees to acquire new skills or to take on tasks that someone else used to perform.
In the course of their career, many people have changed careers completely, and career transitions are an integral part of growing professionally and remaining productive.
So, traditionally, skills have passed from one generation to the next. Then why is there suddenly so much emphasis placed on reskilling and up-skilling today? Why does your company need it? Let me give you two reasons:
Reason 1- Tech VS Talent: A never-ending battle
People have been talking about and using terms including ‘talent crisis’, ‘shortage of skills, ‘skills gaps’, and ‘the talent war’ for quite a while now. This is mainly due to a glaring deficiency of talent available, which continues to worsen.
As every organization’s needs are changing as a result of digital transformation, growth in automation is contributing to a digital skills deficit for both current and future job roles. The speed of technological change is making it more and more difficult for many organizations to find and retain skilled employees. Plus, IT roles are often expensive to fill, making it difficult for companies to recruit key talent at an affordable price. The talent crisis cannot be solved through hiring; therefore, it is necessary to build the company’s own internal talent pool.
Reason 2 – Pandemic panic
Prior to the global economic and health crisis, skills gaps across industries were very much present. But now they have grown further due to complications caused by shutdowns, cutbacks, and dispersal of employees working from home. In addition, during a time when training played a critical role, the pandemic halted many opportunities for professional development, including face-to-face classroom training.
Several employees are under the pressure to stay employed, while they lack the resources to advance. Mental health and wellness issues surrounding skills are on the rise. Mental health is affected when employees feel under-confident. As a result, they may perform poorly, which will reduce productivity and result in a loss of revenue. It is more critical than ever for businesses and their employees to get the opportunity to learn and reskill.
What skills do employees most need?
The five skills with the most demand across all industries are as follows:
- IT knowledge and coding skills
- Management skills and leadership abilities
- Effective communication skills
- Creative thinking and problem-solving abilities
- Managing projects
Although technology is automating a number of processes, interpersonal skills, i.e. the ability to get along with people remain essential and can help people land a job. Modern workplaces require a basic level of digital skills.
Individuals who do not have advanced coding skills may find it difficult to gain them. However, all employees can gain soft skills through effective training programs that exceed industry boundaries. Soft skills have become increasingly critical as remote working brings many challenges such as virtual collaboration. Therefore, you must provide your employees with the tools and skills necessary to work both in the real world and in the virtual world.
Role of L&D in upskilling and reskilling
You must constantly provide means for your employees to upskill and reskill due to the rapidly changing business landscape. Creating a culture of continuous learning can assist with this effort.
Technology is undergoing rapid changes. And employees struggle to find the time to learn about these changes. They can’t spare time from their busy schedules for learning and training courses. The company’s L&D department should provide the solution for their employees’ busy schedules and continuous growth in the industry. They can provide employees with the required training.
Increasingly, employees demand flexibility in their learning, with the ability to learn on their schedule and access information as needed. However, many companies are finding it difficult to meet learners’ needs for customized, on-demand, multi-channel learning experiences in key skills areas.
What can you do? What are the options for managing time, budget, or your own expertise?
By using a learning management system (LMS) you can provide training to your employees. This enables them to upskill, fill the learning gap left by classroom training, and deliver effective training that is both relevant and valuable.
With an LMS, you can design and develop the content for the course or use ready-to-use courses. Having an LMS like Cornerstone Software can make things easy while developing your course. It lets users personalize the course according to employees’ needs. You can develop various courses such as management, digital skills, virtual collaboration practices, and soft skills. Thus, the L&D department can benefit from the use of LMS for upskilling and reskilling your employees.
Business leaders from every sector should embrace technology adoption trends as an opportunity, not just as a cause for concern. Leveraging technologies that can accelerate automation and digitization can help businesses to stay on top. And to do so, employees need to acquire skills to support the process. Thus, upskilling and reskilling are effective ways to increase productivity, accelerate innovation, and enhance customer and employee engagement.