Re-Skilling and UpSkilling to the future

July 10, 2020
Lily-Rae Hewitt Jasilek

There is no doubt that 2020 will be a year to remember. As our economy finally begins to reopen and recover, and we pause to evaluate our ‘old normal’ and look ahead to the future. There will be times when we want more from our professional life to forge beyond what we are today, however good it may be. Or, we could be facing a reality check on how we are inadequately prepared for tomorrow’s competitive and disruptive landscape. Investing in the upskilling and reskilling of yourself, or your workforce, could be the best investment you make towards resilience and adaptability in a tough time. Learning, at an individual or corporate level, and at every hierarchical stage, is a continuous requirement. Setting aside the time, commitment and effort to upskill is important. So, whether you’re the CEO of a large organisation or a redundant worker, it is always the time to be upskilling and reskilling.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”

Just last week, Microsoft announced that it would be training 25 million people worldwide free of charge by the end of the year, to assist them in acquiring the digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy. Upskilling on more digital and new-age skills will help your organisation stay relevant and significant. The new normal will demand a new version of yourself as well.

Why is upskilling so important to future-proofing?

Your organisation

Upskilling, or reskilling, is a smaller investment than hiring and training a new worker. As you reskill your team, you create a more well-rounded, cross-trained workforce, and increase your team’s effectiveness. You will also improve retention; no one wants to work at a company that doesn’t invest enough in its employees’ career development. When workers are happier within their role and believe in what they are working toward, they do better work. Plus, when employees feel a sense of purpose with their company and clients are happy with their work, they become stronger brand advocates. Meaning you will suddenly have a wide pool of diverse talent to choose from when it comes to expanding your team, in the future.

Your career

It helps you in career progression and enhances your professional value. The professional world around has rapidly changed and will continue to do so even more in the near future. As a professional, you can’t only keep up with the changes but be ahead of them. Even if you think the experience you are gaining in your job is gratifying and useful, it is not adequate to shield you from the rapid pace of change that is happening around you.

UpSkilling yourself could be the best strategy to ensure you are a nimble and flexible resource – you need to make yourself as indispensable as you can. Even in your current role, the right upgrading of skills can hone your functional and business skills to improve your productivity and overall performance. This will strongly position you for promotion and lateral career progression.

Beyond the technical and functional, develop your human skills

Future-proofing your career is not complete without upgrading your soft skills - problem-solving, dealing with ambiguity, critical thinking, negotiation, influencing and emotional intelligence. As automation is set to take over transactional jobs, these skills will be high in demand across the board. Developing required soft skills and ensuring employees, and in turn, organisations, are set up for success isn’t as simple as broadcasting a training video. Instead, companies must change their employees’ processes and behaviours—a much harder task.

Overcoming barriers to learning

Take a second to think about how many times you have said you want to do something like write a novel or learn a new language but have you done those things? If you have those goals but haven’t accomplished them, then you have experienced the frustration that comes with having the desire but not the matching motivation to learn. In this way, your employees also need this push of inner strength that motivation brings in order to absorb the information available.

Here are a few points to think about when helping your team overcome any learning hurdles:

1. Motivation

Spark the curiosity and showcase value-add

2. Relevance

Relevance comes hand-in-hand with motivation. Help them visualise the benefits and align it to their career progression.

3. Access

It’s crucial to break any access barriers and make the learning fit into the flow of work. As a learning organisation, we build a comms strategy to ensure this embeds into your flow of work such as your slack channels, or Microsoft Teams.

4. Time

Show them how immediate the benefits will be.

So, where do I start?

Assessment is an important first step. Identifying these gaps is critical to building effective and focused training programs. Often, companies launch programs without enough understanding of where the skill gaps exist in their workforce. This just produces poor results.

Although sizing a skills gap proves particularly challenging, since they don’t all have certification mechanisms. HR departments must be equipped with a personalised framework that codifies soft skills and defines their respective evaluation criteria.

Effective reskilling and upskilling requires blended learning journeys that mix traditional learning, including training or digital courses, with nontraditional methods, such as peer coaching. Learn more about one of our blended learning models.

The fight is far from over- but if we are to recover successfully, skills training must be a priority at personal, organisation and government levels. UpSkilling to future-proof your career or organisation is vitally important to fuel the service industry and rebuild our economy. If 2020 is the year of anything, it is the year or ReSkilling and UpSkilling, so make it count!

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