Reskilling and Upskilling

With technology advancing at an ever-increasing pace, more and more of staff training focuses on a combination of honing new skills and upgrading old ones. That is, upskilling and reskilling. For companies large and small, this requires developing new strategies for making these changes happen.

According to 4 Corners Resources, “Upskilling can take many forms, from formal classroom-style training to online programs, informal one-on-one coaching, and more. Employers may offer upskilling opportunities to their employees, or they may pursue it on their own to make themselves more competitive candidates and advance their career prospects.”

Tip: “Conduct a skills analysis to assess your current capabilities and identify which ones are lacking.”

What about reskilling? It’s similar to upskilling but focuses on learning things that are outside an individual’s current skill set. Reasons for reskilling include taking on a new position or simply assuming added responsibilities.

The Benefits

There are many benefits to an employer for upskilling or reskilling employees. Those include:

• keeping pace with changing technologies;

• continuously engaging staff;

• keeping the company competitive.

How-to Tips

4 Corners Resources suggests two ways to make this happen.

• Set specific goals. How? “Conduct a skills analysis to assess your current technical capabilities and identify which ones are lacking. Then consider the future and the skills you’ll need 3 to 5 years from now, including how you work and how your customers shop.  Then set tangible outcomes surrounding the skills you want to work toward.”

• Establish a formal program. “What your upskilling program looks like is entirely up to you, but it must be two things: accessible and regular. Employees must be able to easily use the programs (and be given the time to do so), and they must be conducted on a periodic, ongoing basis.” 

Conduct monthly job shadowing sessions at your office.

Sample Programs

Here are a few tried-and-true examples of what a formal, employer-led upskilling could look like for your location:

  • Conduct monthly job shadowing sessions.
  • Hold quarterly in-person workshops.
  • Determine cross-training opportunities between departments.
  • Set a specific number of hours that will be devoted to online learning each month.
  • Focus on mentoring to, among other things, increase retention and employee satisfaction.

Who Needs Mentoring?

You likely think about more senior (and likely older) employees mentoring younger workers. It also works in reverse, however. According to 4 Corners Resources, “Younger workers bring value to the relationship by introducing more established colleagues to new and emerging ideas they may have been exposed to in school or other settings.”

The Employer’s Role 

Weave reskilling and upskilling into your company culture. How? By helping cover everything from online courses and conferences to certifications and, when appropriate, membership to appropriate organizations.

It all has to be done on an individual basis, however, as one employee won’t have the same gaps in learning as another. Another issue to consider is that not everyone learns in the same way, so what works for one person may not work for another.

The bottom line? Focusing on individual staff member’s particular needs will go a long way to creating a stronger 2024.

What are your plans for meeting employees’ upskilling and reskilling needs? Tell us about them and share in the conversation on Facebook here.

Erinn Morgan

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