Data shows that while millions sit unemployed, just as many job vacancies exist. You’d think that employers had a massive pool of talent to select from but the truth is that many of the people looking for employment don’t have the skills and experience required for available jobs—especially roles requiring new and advanced skills.
If you are wanting to build a highly skilled workforce then upskilling and reskilling should be your focus. There is stiff competition for professionals with in-demand skills and you will likely have to invest more in growing at least some talent in-house. But where do you start? Paul McDonald, the senior executive director at Robert Half, recommends first assessing digital literacy.
“Many companies will find that first increasing their employees’ general digital literacy is necessary to lay the groundwork for more advanced skills-building,” he said, even employees with advanced digital skills can benefit from a refresher course.
“Ongoing training ensures workers stay current with the latest tools and best practices, including in critical areas like cybersecurity and data privacy,” McDonald continued. “Stepping up technology skills training for the whole workforce could mean the difference between an organization that moves forward and one that is falling behind.”
Upskilling vs Reskilling
These phrases are used interchangeably but McDonald pointed out that they’re different efforts:
“Upskilling is the process of enhancing or expanding an employee’s skill set so that they can be a more productive contributor to the business. Upskilling usually involves continuous learning, and it’s often vital to an employee’s ability to advance in their career and take on more responsibility,” he said. “When workers upskill, they learn new abilities and grow their competency in areas that are important to their role or department, both immediately and over the long term.”
Reskilling, McDonald pointed out, is “about equipping employees with new skills that will allow them to take on a new position in the company that’s entirely different from what they’re doing now.”
McDonald pointed to a recent report from LinkedIn Learning that found that 59% of learning and development professionals said their organizations are prioritizing both upskilling and reskilling programs this year. “You’ll likely need to do the same to meet the various needs of your employees,” he continued.
Some options for delivering reskilling and upskilling opportunities include:
- e-learning provided in-house or through platforms like Degreed or Coursera
- virtual mentoring arrangements and peer-to-peer learning
- financial aid to support other relevant external learning.
“Offering an array of options helps to ensure every worker who is able to evolve into a future worker for your business — and wants to do so — can,” McDonald said.
The Next Step
When developing a reskilling and upskilling program, it helps to consult with other senior leaders who can help to identify current skills gaps and what talents the business needs to achieve its objectives. McDonald suggested considering the following:
- What are your plans for digital transformation?
- What are the general technology and hiring trends in your industry and what are other leaders doing to adapt to them?
- What types of skills—both technical and nontechnical—are your competitors trying to recruit?
“As you consider questions like these, do so with a focus on inclusion. Research shows that job losses due to the pandemic have disproportionately affected minorities, women, younger workers, and workers with lower educational attainment or income,” he added. “Reskilling and upskilling will be essential to preventing further job erosion among these groups and will help those still employed or now reentering the workforce to succeed in an increasingly digital workplace.”
And don’t forget your remote team, McDonald stated. “If your business, like many, intends to maintain a hybrid workforce post-pandemic, you’ll need to ensure remote workers have access to professional development opportunities that are the same or on par with what employees in the workplace can access,” he said.
Depending on how you intend to implement upskilling and reskilling in your company, employees may require some days off from work. Considering the benefits, it is worth allowing for additional paid time off but how do you manage that and ensure there are no conflicting schedules, and that employees are not taking too few or too many days off? This is where an online leave management system can come in handy.
Benefits of an Online Leave Management System
Using an online leave management system can solve these problems and make the whole process of tracking leave easier and smoother, ultimately saving you time and stress so that you don’t have to worry about the burdens of leave.