Employee Development

A Practical Guide to Upskilling and Reskilling

Artificial intelligence will affect nearly every sector of the global workforce in the next 10 years. This guide to upskilling and reskilling will help your organization keep up with a changing job market.

Nathan Goldstein

Co-founder of Together

Published on 

December 14, 2021

Updated on 

October 19, 2023

Time to Read

mins read time

There’s no denying it: artificial intelligence is changing the face of the global workforce. 

In less than 10 years, 25% of job-related skills sets changed — a figure that will likely double by 2027. Your team needs to be able to adapt. A report from Citrix says we need workplaces full of employees who are willing and able to upskill — especially since we can’t predict technological advancements. Gartner calls this ability to adapt “digital dexterity.”

For organizations who want to stay competitive in the workplace, it’s time to focus on employee reskilling and upskilling.

What is the difference between upskilling and reskilling?

Upskilling occurs when an employee needs new knowledge for their current role. L&D teams may offer training, certifications, or mentoring programs to help employees upgrade the skills they need to perform their job. The advantage of upskilling is it helps workers adapt as new technology comes along. 

Reskilling, on the other hand, happens when an employee develops skills they need for a new job. This prepares employees to take on a different role within your organization as you adjust available roles to match evolving needs. For instance, many organizations took on reskilling initiatives in 2022 to adapt to supply chain disruptions

The reality is that companies need to invest in both upskilling and reskilling employees if they want to stay competitive and remain agile in the face of technological advancements and industry changes.

eBook How To Fast-Track Employee Learning With Colleague Connections  

Why is it important for organizations to upskill and reskill their workforce?

The need for organizations to upskill and reskill their employees has never been more evident. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, productivity is skyrocketing. It’s expected that automation and machine learning will increase global GDP by about 7%

Employees will need new skills to meet the demands of their current jobs and for new roles we’ll need to fill as tech continues to evolve..  

AI is changing the future of work

Goldman Sachs estimates that automation could replace 300 million full-time jobs globally to keep up with that growth. What's more, generative AI could replace nearly a quarter of all work.

Employees need to learn new skills ASAP

With all that growth and rapid advancements in technology, your new hires may need to reskill as soon as 12 months into the job. The problem: only 20% of employees believe have the skills needed for their current jobs, let alone in the future. 

Agile organizations are more resilient

Investing in both technology and professional development will help organizations stay agile. They’ll be better equipped to adapt to changes in the workforce and limit the impact technological advancements have on productivity. 

Employees want professional development

If you want to be an organization that attracts top talent, you’ll need to invest in your existing employees. Professional development remains a top concern for about 60% of the workforce: Millennials (35%) and Gen Z (27% by 2025). And when they feel their employer is investing in their development and growth, they are more likely to stay.

Successful companies focus on upskilling and reskilling

Companies that invest in their employees see higher profits and greater productivity. Major players are paving the way to meet the demand for tech-focused jobs.

Mercedes-Benz plans to invest more than $2 billion to reskill employees for roles in data and artificial intelligence. Its pilot programs trained more than 600 employees in digitization and AI.

Verizon promises to prepare 500,000 workers for future jobs with its Skill Forward program. They plan to focus on underskilled workers who may be at risk of losing their jobs due to automation.

Amazon committed $1.2 billion to upskilling its employees for jobs at the ecommerce giant and elsewhere. Several programs focus on technical training in machine learning, IT, user experience, robotics, and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Meta offers the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Residency Program to train workers in machine learning so they can develop new AI techniques. The program matches talented professionals with mentors for hands-on experience in AI research.

5 ways to upskill and reskill your workforce

The best place to start upskilling and reskilling your workforce, is with a skills gap analysis. This assessment gives you a chance to uncover the skills your organization will need to stay competitive and also create a plan for ongoing development initiatives.

Ideally, you’ll compare the skills your current employees have with skills you need now and in the next five to 10 years. 

Once you have an understanding of any skill gaps your organization has, you can start working on a strategy to reskill or upskill your employees. 

Create a culture of learning with on-the-job training

One of the easiest ways to overcome a skills gap is with learning in the flow of work. Your employees learn how to do a task as needed. It’s reskilling on the fly. You can also implement on-the-job training through job shadowing

Tap into existing talent with a mentoring program

If your company already has a workplace mentoring program, you can build on it to achieve your upskilling or reskilling goals. 

Mentoring supports learning through informal conversations or formal training opportunities. The hands-on aspects of mentoring encourages employees to get curious and motivated about what they’re learning. It can also be a valuable tool in your succession plan

Create an inclusive culture with peer coaching

You can also enhance employee training through upskilling with a peer coaching or peer mentoring program. In this approach, peers act as coaches to help colleagues develop the skills that will help them advance. It establishes a safe atmosphere where employees can ask questions, experiment, and be guided. It can be particularly effective as a leadership coaching tool and as part of your DEIB program

Offer flexibility with remote and mobile learning

Online or mobile courses are an easy and cost-effective way to add reskilling or upskilling to your L&D programs. Some organizations create continuous learning using their own courses, while others rely on ones like LinkedIn Learning or Coursera. 

Make upskilling accessible with blended learning

Not everyone learns the same, so investing in a blended learning program could be a good idea. This style of employee development program combines a variety of learning preferences and capabilities to ensure your entire team gets the benefits of upskilling and reskilling training. 

Together Software helps your employees prepare for the future 

Our mentoring software empowers you to start and run a workplace mentoring program with ease. Contact us today to find out how to begin building a mentoring program to help your employees reskill or upskill for the future.

Ready to upskill your employees? Book a demo to see how Together can speed up your process.

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