Reskilling and Upskilling: A Strategic Response to Changing Skill Demands
As demand for new capabilities gathers pace, reskilling and upskilling can enable your organization to develop the skills needed to remain competitive. By 2025, the Forum projects up to 85 million jobs could be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between machines and humans. At the same time, 97 million new roles are expected to be created, driven by advances in technology and continuous digital transformation. Even for the talent that is able to remain in their same roles, the expected share of core skills that will change is 40%. This emphasizes the desperate need for reskilling and upskilling in every job, department and company, and with major change coming by 2025, the time to start is now.
Let’s go over the differences between reskilling and upskilling and how these two techniques can help your organization be better prepared for future industry change.
Reskilling versus upskilling
According to the Cambridge dictionary:
- Upskilling is the process of learning new skills or of teaching workers new skills.
- Reskilling is the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job, or of training people to do a different job.
Both are effective strategies for employers to combat what is expected to become a perennial skills shortage.
Reskilling means looking for people with ‘adjacent skills’, that are close to the new skills your company requires. It provides a lateral learning experience that can help with the vast amount of reskilling required of employees in the modern workforce. The World Economic Forum estimates that half of all employees will require reskilling by 2025 due to technological advancement.
A culture of upskilling, on the other hand, means teaching employees new, advanced skills to close talent gaps. It involves keeping your team members involved in continuous education and helps them advance along their current career path. These employees may have worked for your organization for several years and possess an in-depth understanding of both your culture and your customers. LinkedIn Learning found that if companies actively invested in employees’ careers, up 94% of workers would choose to stay with them longer.
While two thirds of organizations believe that workforce development programs will help to address the skills gap, they are slow to take action due to financial constraints and the lack of suitable technology to support internal initiatives. However, without taking action now, your company’s ability to meet its long-term goals are at risk if you do not have access to the skills you need.
“What’s the solution? Let’s explore career pathing”
One of the best ways to utilize reskilling and upskilling in your organization is through providing employees with structured career pathing. Career pathing is the process used by an employee to chart a course for their personal career development. Both reskilling and upskilling strategies can be introduced into your business by creating a career pathing program as a way to align your employees career dreams with your organization’s business objectives.
Successful career pathing strategies are derived from a competency-based approach. This allows your organization to evaluate and assess the specific competencies required for each unique role and understand the skills development required for employees who are moving into new positions.
A career path is personal to each individual employee and helps them to break down the steps needed to achieve their long-term career goals and progress their career either laterally or through promotion. It requires an understanding of the knowledge, skills and personal traits required and helps to identify the specialized skills and additional training needed to fulfill those aspirations.
The benefits of career pathing
Introducing career pathing into your organization brings with it several advantages, including:
Meeting future demand: Identifying the capabilities already available enables you to target the development of key skills in your existing workforce to meet future demand.
Identify hidden skills: Career pathing empowers your employees to detail and assess their own skills, revealing potential the business may not be aware of.
Create a culture of talent mobility: Today’s talent looks for employers with a commitment to their future career development. Not only does a career pathing strategy attract talent to your organization, it increases motivation and retention levels among your employees. Career pathing also creates internal movement, both laterally and vertically, and visibly demonstrates that your organization values its people.
As the speed of digital transformation continues unabated, an effective career pathing strategy that incorporates reskilling and upskilling is beneficial for both employees and HR. Even more so, this must be a talent imperative for your organization if you wish to keep up with the changing market of skills.
Want to learn more? Here’s what to look at next:
Watch the webinar: Career Pathing and Talent Mobility: Driving Engagement and Performance
Read the white paper: Career Pathing as a Talent Imperative
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