Upskilling is a form of training often designed to help an employee become more effective or gain advanced expertise in their current role. For example, an IT technician may upskill in new technologies, or a manager may upskill by learning advanced communication practices.
Reskilling is a form of training designed to help current employees transition into different roles. For example, if a department became obsolete, those employees could be reskilled to integrate into a new area.
Upskilling and reskilling have been key areas of priority and focus for several years now. In fact, this was the case even before the pandemic. But COVID-19 accelerated this timeline. It created economic uncertainty, required businesses across industries to change their working models, and sped up automation. Now, the World Economic Forum predicts that 85 million jobs will be displaced and 97 million new ones will be created by 2025.
But there are reasons outside of economic necessity to prioritize upskilling and reskilling in 2022, too – particularly as we’re in times that make employee retention difficult. Upskilling and reskilling can help you grow from within and can become more appealing to current and prospective employees.
Specifically, a few of the benefits are:
You probably already have a training program in place. First, analyze it: What are it’s strengths? What are it’s weaknesses? What skills does it cover? What are the gaps? From there, you can begin building on what already exists or revamp it entirely in order to avoid starting from scratch. The best approach is going to be dependent on your type of business, your available resources, the skill itself, and the learning styles of your employees. Given that, it’s best to experiment with a variety of learning methods and determine through feedback and data which is the most effective or engaging. Some examples include:
Micro-learning: Short content formats like a five-minute video or a three-minute article that employees can access flexibly on their own time are increasing in popularity. It doesn’t require substantial investments in time but still allows people to learn continuously and on-demand.
Peer-to-peer learning and mentorship programs: Mentoring programs are often discussed in the leadership development and “soft skill” space but they can also be appropriate for hard skills. Peers can work on cross-training opportunities together and senior skill holders can mentor junior skill holders as they embark on their training journey.
Self-training opportunities: Working with employees to develop personal plans for their own development that outline their learning goals is another option. Employees can then explore the best avenue and opportunity for reaching their learning goals which can include certifications, courses, workshops and beyond.
Software: Many organizations have chosen to roll out software or technical training implementation – particularly when there’s a key skill or knowledge gap across the board. Examples of this can include virtual or augmented reality training (VR/AR), and learning management systems (LMS).
But the best way to upskill and reskill your employees in a way that resonates with them is to solicit their feedback! People have different learning styles and preferences. While one team may love the idea of peer-exchanges, another team might recoil at the thought and prefer independent development through software and courses. Ultimately, you need to learn from and listen to employees as they tell you where they’d like to see themselves go in terms of career growth – and then help them create a roadmap to get there.
And GoCo can help.