Upskilling and reskilling are essential strategies for developing internal talent for the future of work. Developing internal talent is imperative during times of rapid change. Chances are your employees’ responsibilities continue to evolve. They’re expected to perform novel tasks in ever-changing working conditions. Having a strategy in place to upskill and reskill your workforce allows your organization to adapt to change more dynamically.
Here at AllenComm, we’ve defined a few terms that have been gaining more prevalence during the last few years so that you can address them at your organization.
- Reskilling. The process of learning new skills so you can do a different job.
- Upskilling. The process of learning additional skills or enhancing your abilities, often with the goal of advancement within your job discipline.
- New-skilling. The process of learning the new skills necessary to do your existing role.
Why Is Developing the Skills of All Employees Critical?
Intuitively, many of us know that learning new skills is a lifelong process. We’re often faced with new situations, personally and professionally, that require us to learn new ways of doing things. For example, can you think of a person who hasn’t had to learn a new skill in the last two years? Most of us have had to pick up a new skill set. This could be on the job, related to new hybrid working conditions, or even at home, like ordering groceries or takeout from an app.
In this case, our intuition and personal experiences can be supported by solid research on the subject. According to research conducted by the World Economic Forum, in the next two years—by 2022—42 percent of the core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. A recent McKinsey survey found that 87 percent of executives said their organizations are currently experiencing skill gaps or expect them to emerge within a few years.
In short, the majority of the workforce will need upskilling, reskilling, or new-skilling to continue to be effective in their roles in the next few years.
Additionally, we know the most sought-after skills are rapidly changing based on market demands and ongoing digital transformation, making skills increasingly perishable.
According to some estimates, the average shelf life of skills needed to be effective across industries is approximately half of what it used to be (down to five years from more than 10 years). The total number of skills required for a single job is increasing by 10 percent annually. Skill development supports internal mobility, which is a key retention lever.
What Are Employers Doing to Respond to the Need for New Employee Skills?
Because of the current labor shortage, the focus needs to be on retaining employees. Effective digital learning solutions can help with that.
Surveys show that 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if their employers invested in them. Moreover, employees not engaged in learning are twice as likely to leave their company before they reach their third year of tenure.
We know top-performing organizations are planning to implement upskilling and reskilling in the near future. Data gathered by McKinsey show nearly half of all organizations (44 percent) offer skilling due to employee demand—a number that’s likely to climb soon.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, companies in computer-related industries were most likely (53 percent) to offer training due to employee demand, followed closely by those in manufacturing, construction, and utilities (52 percent).
To build the skilled workforce, we need to plan for the future, and to do that effectively within budgeted resources, companies need to invest in continuous upskilling and reskilling of employees to successfully adapt to new challenges—no matter the industry.
In an ever-changing environment, stay ahead by asking yourself: What am I doing to retain top talent and get my workforce ready for the future of work?