October 28, 2022
Those exposed to the HR industry would have probably noticed that upskilling and reskilling are getting a lot of traction lately. This has mainly resulted from skills emerging as a key focus area for recruitment in 2022 and building critical competencies becoming a key priority in HRM. With executives setting their sights on skills, McKinsey has also found that nearly 70% of businesses are doing more skill-building now than before COVID-19.
This article will define the differences between upskilling and reskilling and their role in future-proofing the employees of an organisation.
Reskilling – Preparing Employees for New Jobs
This is where employees are trained with an entirely new set of skills to take on a different job role within the organisation. Reskilling focuses more on career growth and requires employees to commit themself to learning and adapting so they can fulfil the new job role’s functions and responsibilities more effectively.
In simple words, reskilling is about upgrading the skill set of employees to match new HR systems and internal requirement needs. Aside from organisational training, reskilling may require employees to obtain a new degree, certification, or other extra qualifications.
Organisations do this because sometimes an employee may fit well within a company, its culture, and industry, which would be too difficult, tedious, and expensive to replace with another candidate through a recruitment process. The key to choosing employees for reskilling is to identify employees whose current skillset overlaps with the skills needed for the new position.
When To Implement Reskilling?
While reskilling can be used in many situations, the most appropriate instance to use it comes from the desire to retain reliable, high-performing employees whose roles can become obsolete. This is where your organisation may have removed a department or sunsetted a team whose goal is achieved.
In either scenario, there will be a pool of employees whose original job role in your organisation is no longer required. However, if you have a few employees that you want to retain in the company, then it is ideal for reskilling them to take up another new job role. Reskilling in such situations eliminates the expensive and time-consuming process of hiring staff for the new job role.
Upskilling – Developing New Skills for the Same Role
Just like reskilling, even upskilling requires employees to learn new information and skills; however, under upskilling employees won’t take a new job role or function under upskilling.
Upskilling is used to improve an employee’s existing skills and deepen their abilities and impact within their area of expertise. It can include providing employees with new tools or an effective HR platform to perform their current job more effectively, efficiently, or in a more modern way to meet expected objectives.
In other words, upskilling is done to improve the job performance of employees and to close any developing skill gaps that are affecting employee outputs and the quality of their work. When employees are upskilled, they upgrade to a better position to take on additional responsibilities and even go up the career ladder in the future.
When To Implement Upskilling?
If you feel your employees’ skills within a given team or job role remain stagnant with no notable improvements, then it’s an excellent sign to implement upskilling. Job markets are dynamic, and it’s only fair for an organisation to help employees to specialise in their current job role for future career growth.
Upskilling is generally used to help employees adapt to the new changes in the job market, so they remain up-to-date, confident and knowledgeable in their field of expertise.
New technology implementations are an ideal instance to upskill your workforce. For example, an employee may have thirty years of experience, but they won’t necessarily have an understanding on how to manage a new and advanced HR portalthat is new to the market. Giving them these skills as per the market changes through upskilling is an excellent way to future-proof your employees and provide them with the career growth they would also expect from the organisation.