How Reskilling and Upskilling Can Catalyse Economic Recovery Post-COVID
Reskilling vs Upskilling
With many businesses fighting to stay afloat in this era of rapid change, more and more leaders are turning to reskilling and upskilling existing staff.
The terms ‘reskilling’ and ‘upskilling’ are often used interchangeably, but they do mean different things; understanding this difference is crucial in choosing the most appropriate development approach for your employees…
What are the definitions of upskilling and reskilling?
Upskilling refers to taking employees’ current skills and refining them to improve employees’ performance in their existing roles.
Reskilling involves providing employees with new skills to prepare them for new roles.
When should you upskill employees?
Choosing between upskilling and reskilling depends on your current employees’ skills, talents and potential.
There are certain situations where upskilling will be more suitable than reskilling, including if you have:
- Employees that are talented but are struggling – often when an employee isn’t performing well, it’s because their skills aren’t substantially developed.
- Employees that have potential but need help unlocking it – employees sometimes need extra support to give them the confidence and ability to achieve their full potential.
- Employees whose roles have changed slightly – if an employee’s role changes, it’s likely that you will be able to develop their current skills to make them suitable for the adjusted role.
When should you reskill employees?
According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, by 2030 as many as 375 million workers may need to switch their occupation due to the constantly changing business environment.
Reskilling allows you to retain talented employees and utilise their talent in another job role, instead of letting them go when their current role is no longer needed.
There are certain situations where reskilling will be more appropriate than upskilling, including if you have:
- A new position available that a current employee could grow into – helping your existing staff grow into new positions saves both time and money, and shows your dedication to your employees.
- Talented employees whose potential could be better utilised in a different role – if you have employees who have a lot of potential but don’t suit their current role, you can reskill them and offer them a new role.
To meet the challenges presented by the post-COVID economy and help their organisation recover, leaders should craft a flexible, long-term learning and development strategy that focuses on reskilling and upskilling existing staff.
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An organisation’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.