Spring 2021
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CTDO Magazine

Upskilling and Reskilling Accelerated

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Listen to two executives’ perspectives on ensuring employees are ready for the future of work.

Talent development professionals are focused on building employees’ skills and capabilities to prepare them for what’s ahead. For some, that means upskilling, or helping individuals gain capabilities to perform better in their current roles. For others, that may mean reskilling, or teaching staff new skills to take on different roles.


Not surprising, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many companies’ future plans and their transition to a more digital workplace. For example, LinkedIn Learning reveals in its 2021 Workplace Learning Report that the fast pace of changes in technology is leading L&D professionals to focus on helping employees build new skills. More than half say upskilling and reskilling is their no. 1 priority, a 15 percent increase since June 2020.

CTDO  recently asked two talent development executives for their ideas and advice on ways other TD leaders can help shape their organizations’ upskilling and reskilling efforts.

Kelly Palmer

Kelly Palmer.png

Kelly Palmer is the chief learning and talent officer at Degreed. She is also the co-author of  The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete, and Succeed.  



To start upskilling and reskilling, Palmer advises first taking an inventory of the current skills, knowledge, and capabilities in your organization. Next, work with all levels of the organization and define what skills are needed for the company’s future plans. Comparing your baseline skills against prospective needs will help guide your L&D plans.

Khairunissa Jivani



Khairunissa Jivani is vice president of talent transformation and talent catalyst at Prudential. 



She reminds leaders that what is a critical skill set in one organization may not be in another. Look at current roles and consider how that role may evolve before you pick up on specific skill needs. She adds that the pandemic has brought a heightened focus on reskilling and upskilling and that organizations must become more agile in their skill-building efforts if they’re going to succeed.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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