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Upskilling and Reskilling: What’s the Rush?


Mon Jan 03 2022

Upskilling and Reskilling: What’s the Rush?

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Many factors, both internal and external, are creating an ever-widening skills gap in the talent pool. It’s causing havoc for businesses and majorly affecting the morale and productivity of employees who are concerned about the relevancy and sustainability of their existing skill set.

An upskilling and reskilling program ensures your organization manages change on both battlefronts. Plugging essential skill gaps internally means the business can keep up in terms of performance without relying on external hiring. Meanwhile, providing employees with the opportunity to improve their skill sets boosts productivity, lowers turnover, and improves employee satisfaction rates.


What’s Driving the Need for Reskilling and Upskilling?

Managing Organizational Change

Change is happening faster than traditional processes and business models can keep up with. It’s the same need that has been driving (and accelerating) digital transformation in recent years.

Previously, companies needed to find ways to stay ahead of fundamental shifts in the way we buy, consume, and interact to remain competitive. Now, it’s a matter of all-out survival. Automation and digitization are not only disrupting industries, they’re disrupting internal operations and re-shaping existing roles. The talent pool does not exist for companies to keep up with this change through external hiring. Upskilling and reskilling are essential components to managing this change in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Cementing the Learning Culture

Many organizations invest millions of dollars in their learning programs only to be disappointed with the levels of engagement amongst employees. To see the results of a learning program through reduced turnover numbers and improved performance, implementing a culture of learning is imperative. Upskilling and reskilling programs can engage employees in a way no other training does because employees want the opportunity to upskill. It has a direct impact on their ability to stay on top of changing demands in their roles and provides an opportunity for career progression.


Generational Preferences in the Workforce

The younger generations beginning to dominate the workforce are far more invested in continuous learning. Gen Z, in particular, has high expectations of support for improving their skill sets.

According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning report, Gen Z value personalized learning paths more highly than any other generation in the workforce, and 83% want to learn hard skills to perform better in their current role.

However, employees between 18–24 are least satisfied with the amount of upskilling and reskilling opportunities offered by their employers. Younger generations preferences for continuous and relevant learning experiences that support their job performance and career progression are a significant driving factor in the need for upskilling and reskilling programs.

Formalizing Your Upskilling and Reskilling Program

Whether you’ve been rolling out ad-hoc upskilling opportunities for years now, or you’re just getting started with a formal reskilling program, planning and preparation are key. Make sure to keep business partners involved at all stages so you can be sure your learning outcomes are aligned with business strategy and bottom-line results. Forming a learning advisory committee, for example, helps to ensure your L&D resources are spent wisely on behalf of the organization, meaning successful outcomes for your department, your learners and business partners, and the organization itself.


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