personal growth is critical to company success
Talent Development

Why upskilling and reskilling are important to employee development?

November 22, 2021
5 minute
Emily Vo

Emily Vo

Growth Hacker
a girl pointing to different people
January 2, 2022
Talent Development

Why upskilling and reskilling are important to employee development?

5 minute
Emily Vo

Any organization that aims at thriving in today’s digital economy must focus on its most valuable asset, the employees. We are in a new era of talent development, which forms the foundation of growth and sustainability of any business. With the major changes in the economic landscape brought by the pandemic, there is high demand for new approaches to addressing the skills gap, mobilizing the existing talents while introducing new ones. Allowing employee upskilling and reskilling in a strategic manner is key to faster innovation. Efforts like evaluating skill gaps, introducing training programs, and managing succession planning result in competent employees and improve organizational performance.

Employee development is a key to faster innovation and successful organization

Surprisingly, the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2030, about a fifth of the global workforce stands at a risk of losing their jobs to automation. In the report, the US workers were pointed as the most affected by the changes. Also, we can see that digitalization are causing rapid changes in skill needs to succeed in particular roles.

Skills are emerging or evolving, and it force companies to take a new approach in talent management to remain competitive. Solution such as hiring new talents is expensive especially in competitive market and it is not efficient from the long-term perspective. Moreover, getting talents onboard and familiar with the company’s process takes time.  

The key to staying successful here is investing in the current workforce and implementing faster innovation, which includes upskilling and reskilling the employees. It is easier and cost-effective to allocate the right talents to the right projects if you have clear visibility into their hidden abilities, skills, and aspirations.

When done right, employee development allows the staff to unlock the potential and understand how important their works are to the company. It also increases employee engagement and motivation. It takes time and effort to transform an enterprise, but it results in a high-performance workforce that able to take up the future challenges.

Moreover, it is crucial for individuals to have control over their career path. A career path is specific to each employee and aids them in breaking down the steps necessary to attain their long-term career objectives. It necessitates a grasp of the skills, knowledge, and traits required, as well as the additional training to achieve those goals.

Evaluating Upskilling vs. Reskilling

With the swift changes in the world today, both upskilling and reskilling are critical for organizational success.

We can use evolution and revolution to describe the two terms. Upskilling represents evolution, which is enhancing the existing skills with the aim of advancement. For instance, when shifting to a corporate or management position, a retail store employee or a bank teller would upskill. Or when an employee has skills related to the one required to succeed in a specific role that can be leveraged and quickly upskill through learning and training.

The significance of this is quite undeniable. Upskilling is very crucial in the development of an organization. It is not only for sustaining and increasing productivity but also for keeping staff motivated and interested.

On the other hand, reskilling can represent a revolution when people learn new skills or train for a new role. Think about an industrial revolution when a vast range of industries transitioned from manual procedures to machines. In the McKinsey Global Survey, over 87% of organizations were experiencing skill gaps in their workforce. Only a few were clear about the actions they would take to overcome the problem. In such a situation, reskilling plays a very significant role.

Which one to pursue is dependent on the context. Is your company, or a part of it, in need of evolution or revolution to remain resilient? Employers should consider both company and employee career ambitions when making decisions.

Useful Tips on how to Upskill your Employees

If you’re thinking of implement plan to upskill your people, here are a few tips that you can use to gain maximum benefits and positive returns. 

Understand what organization is trying to achieve and identify the skill needed to fill critical roles.

Instead of looking for candidate with specific title, look at the skills set necessary to perform that role.

Set Clear Goals for Upskilling

Having clear goals for the upskilling process is crucial, as it determines what skills your employees learn and the overall strategy to be used. Ensure your goals are specific and realistic for a successful process. Note that you also need to specify the metrics you will use to measure the progress and achievement of your goals.

Set Aside Time for Employee Training

Allocate some time for training during the working hours and encourage them to learn. You can set aside a specific time during the week for all employees to engage in learning or plan for each employee to be trained at their discretion. To be effective in the process, avoid training them during their free time.

Organize Some Training Space at Work

It is crucial to have some space set aside specifically for training to avoid possible distractions if everyone is back to the office. You can put the learning materials in an empty room, where everyone can access them and catch up on their training. If you’re in hybrid mode, introduce online courses and encourage employees to learn together. LinkedIn statistic shows that 86% of L&D pros said that employees who learn together are more engaged and successful. Community based learning also foster a sense of belonging and is a rising practice among many organizations.

Learning together increase engagement and knowledge sharing (Credit Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

Promote Employee Personal Development Plans 

Allowing your employees to take charge of their skill development is an effective approach to upskilling. While as an employer, you will have the specific skills you want your team to learn, they may have a better view of what they should do to increase productivity. Hence, having ability to influence the career growth and advancing increase employee's motivation.

Besides, since this is recommended and is done individually, they will be accountable for everything. You should, however, monitor their progress and provide supports to ensure they learn what is relevant for the company.

Have a Defined Post- Training Plan

An upskilling process without application can be of little or no benefit to your employees. It would be best if you had a plan of how the team will execute their skills at the workplace after training. For instance, you can introduce new tools or equipment based on what they have learned.

In summary

That said, employee development is a growing aspect when it comes to workforce trends. Without employees on the cutting edge of development, it will be difficult for an organization to compete in the marketplace. Statistics show that hiring staff from outside is six times costly than reskilling the existing ones. Most employees are interested in growing their skills and capabilities to stay resilient in the changing economy.

Companies can maximise their investment in talent by connecting their employees with opportunities for personal growth. Building a culture of constant learning and mentorship boosts productivity, allowing an organization to reach its maximum potential. Enterprises that identify their employees' hidden abilities can work more agilely and achieve greater success. So, how prepared is your company for the existing market changes?

Are you looking for talent and leadership development solutions to take your business to the next level? If yes, reach out to our team and see our platform in action. We deliver agility, sustainability, and inclusiveness to staff development.

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