Upskilling and reskilling has become more important than ever for the future of the workforce as the workplace rapidly changes. With new technologies and advancements coming out every day, employees must be able to keep up with the latest trends and changes in their industry. In addition, companies need to continue to develop ways to ensure higher employee retention and job satisfaction in an extremely competitive market. In this post, we will discuss upskilling and reskilling efforts, as well as the benefits of upskilling for both employees and employers.
There is no doubt that upskilling and reskilling has developed into a large part of many industries in the 21st Century. This isn’t exclusive to large companies either. Many small business owners are upskilling their staff members.
What is Upskilling and Reskilling?
Reskilling involves learning new skills for different jobs or gaining new skill sets. An example can be an employee who is interested in transferring from one department in your organization to another. They might need additional training or introduction to new technologies. Upskilling is about enhancing and building on the foundation of existing skills. It usually requires further training or education opportunities to grow in a field of expertise. It can involve anything from taking a course at a local community college to getting an advanced degree from a university.
No matter how long an employee has been in their position, there is always room to learn new skills. There are many different ways for employees to upskill or reskill, it all depends on what their goals are.
Why Upskill and reskill employees?
The development of skills by employees not only benefits their professional development but also the company. The more employees learn, the better they will be able to understand how things work. This will help them reach future goals. These goals can advance them further in their career but also help the company drive their goals towards the future.
Also, the knowledge received can play a huge role in the worker’s ability to be an asset to their company. Employees who upgrade their skills are also more likely to produce higher quality products/services than people who do not upskill themselves. With upskilling, employees can increase their overall knowledge of their current roles which helps them understand how things work. This will enable them to innovate and help keep up with ever-changing technology. Employees who upskill themselves tend to increase their overall knowledge which enables them to upskill their team members.
Reskilling employees will allow your organization to better promote from within and fill existing openings. This also gives employees a clear growth path in your organization instead of forcing them to leave to find job growth.
What are some methods you can use to upskill and reskill your workforce?
Many employees may not think about upskilling or reskilling until they have been in the same job for over ten years. By this time, they have a very narrow set of skills that is limited to just their job or daily tasks. If an employee upskills themselves at work, it increases the likelihood of staying up-to-date in their field.
Employees need to be aware of upskilling and reskilling opportunities. Having the training and development opportunities available isn’t enough without people taking advantage of them. Make sure that they are posted in public areas for everyone to see. Another method is to send out announcements to managers and employees.
Three Types of Upskilling or Reskilling
Here are three types of upskilling or reskilling: continuing education, job rotation, and periodical up-training/retraining.
Job rotation moves employees between roles in your organization. By rotating positions, the employee is given the ability to learn new skills and work in different roles. Job rotation is not a promotion but can benefit the employee and the employer. It may happen on a regular schedule where an employee rotates through multiple roles per year. It may be a temporary rotation into a new job for a short period before they return to their original position. Rotation does require the employee to have the right qualifications but serves as an opportunity to learn new skills.
One example of job rotation is having employees go between different departments. Many hospitals have programs for nurses to work in various departments to learn how each one functions. This gives them a greater understanding of how each department works. Another might be moving an employee in the same department into a peer’s role to cross-train and learn new skills. So members of the accounting department spend time learning roles in auditing, payroll, and analysis.
Continuing Learning and development:
Education continues during our entire career and does not stop the minute we leave the formal education setting. This applies to an employee who continues their professional career. Learning happens daily on the job. However, employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees receive adequate access to continue to further their learning and development. Local colleges and universities offer a wide range of continuing training courses that are specially developed for continuing education. The internet also provides a wealth of materials at our fingertips through training videos, YouTube, e-learning, and instructor-led learning.
Onebridge Center offers both e-learning and virtual instructor-led training. Employees have the opportunity to upskill virtually without having to leave work, which is extremely beneficial for employers. Both e-learning and virtual instructor-led learning can be done from the comfort of the workplace or at the home. E-learning is self-paced, allowing for those to take learning at their own pace. While most instructor-led training is done in small groups.
Mentorship or peer to peer coaching:
Think of mentoring to supplement training and a way to share knowledge. There are different approaches to mentoring. Peer-to-peer coaching is a method that two or more colleagues can work together in teams. Although it was initially introduced for the education industry, it can be applied to the workplace. It can foster teamwork skills and also serve as a way to learn new skills from each other. They can share their successes, failures, and also knowledge as a way to grow.
A newer concept is flash mentoring. It is a one-time interaction for an employee to learn a new skill. Flash mentoring is not about relationships and is more focused on sharing knowledge. This less formal process allows employees to find the information they need to complete a specific task. Flash mentoring focuses on the time efficiency and convenience of sharing knowledge. There are certain applications for flash mentoring like job shadowing, gaining a better understanding of company practices, or learning a harder skill. Employers can also offer employees an outside perspective by bringing in a keynote speaker or third party to present. Then participants can break out into small groups to discuss the topic further.
The last is long-term mentorship where you pair up individuals and the mentoring focus on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The mentor focuses on teaching and supporting the person they are mentoring to help them develop new skills. They can also advise them on specific actions or behavioral changes in daily work.
Upskilling and reskilling your employees will set them up for long-term success with your company while improving productivity. Onebridge Center offers eLearning and instructor-led training that allows you to upskill or reskill on demand. Contact us at 330-267-7556 to get a quote about our full offering of training solutions.