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What’s Most Important Now: Employee Upskilling, Reskilling, and Beyond

This world of no normal, employee training has never been more important—but here’s why upskilling, reskilling, and beyond are so critical.

What’s Most Important Now: Employee Upskilling, Reskilling, and Beyond

Can you say, “labor shortage?” 

It’s what most companies are saying at the moment since millions of workers continue to quit their jobs each month. It’s a talent shortage in all industries like we have never seen before. 

Add to that the rapid pace of change, where job skills have a half life of about five years (for some technical skills it can be as short as two years), throw in an aging workforce as well as rising higher education costs, and we’ve got a full-blow talent/skills crisis on our hands. 

It all means that L&D and HR professionals can no longer hire their way out of the skills gap. It’s time to take matters into your own hands and reimagine employee learning and training (sooner rather than later than you think).

Same Old, Same Old Doesn’t Work Anymore

We are moving from an age of production to an age of information…and imagination. We’re not producing things as much as we have in the past, but we are imagining things. And this requires different skill sets. Most of all, it requires agility. 

Things have also become a lot less predictable. You can no longer send new employees to a training location, immerse them for a week, and then give them three months to get up to speed. They need to be ready right now to hit the ground running. You’ve got teams and departments that are severely understaffed.

And students beginning college today may find the skills they learned as freshmen out-of-date by the time they’re seniors. But when they apply for a job at your company, they’re going to demand career paths with training to get them there, at the speed of a Tik-Tok video (or even faster). 

Is your L&D organization ready to meet these challenges, and ones you don’t even know about yet? Because you can bet that what you’re doing  today to train employees won’t work, or be able to keep up if it’s not agile enough. 

Upskilling, reskilling, and more…oh my!

Maybe five years ago, your programs included a few that focused on reskilling and upskilling existing employees. After all, it’s always less expensive to keep and develop an employee than to hire, onboard, and train a new one. But now it costs even more and its harder (maybe impossible) to replace a valuable employee. 

Not only should your L&D team be creating engaging, easy-to-access, and relevant reskilling and upskilling, you also need to consider cross-skilling and new skilling. Why? A recent and staggering statistic pretty much says it all: by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there won’t be enough skilled people to take them.

Before you consider becoming among the millions who quit their jobs, remember that knowledge is power. It’s important to know the differences between reskilling, upskilling, cross-skilling, and new skilling so you can develop the right content and program for employees:

  • Reskilling – occurs when employees learn new skills that replace existing skills
  • Upskilling – occurs when employees learn new skills to progress in their current role or career
  • Cross-skilling – developing skills that are valuable across multiple functions
  • Newskilling – continuous, life-long learning approach that progress over time

It’s also good to know that many of your peers are tackling these head on, right now, which means you can too.

One example is Orangetheory Fitness, a boutique fitness company, that completely shifted its business model because of the pandemic. The L&D team had to figure out how to train in-studio teachers to bring the same energy and brand personality to a virtual environment—and they only had 72 hours to do it. They did it, and the program has been so successful that the company is now known for its unique fitness services, anywhere a customer happens to be. Talk about reskilling!

Reimagining Corporate L&D 

How in the world are you going to do all of this? It’s no easy task but having the tools in place to help you develop the training you need to make our employees successful is paramount. 

And since you’re an L&D professional, you know that most people leave their jobs because they don’t feel like there’s room to grow—which is why your focus should be on making your existing employees the happiest they’ve ever been in their jobs. To do this, reimagining corporate L&D should be top of the list.

A few things can happen right now without a major upheaval, like doing a continuous needs analysis on employee training. Talk to business units, departments, and subject matter experts to find out what skills are needed. Help them look ahead and figure out how to adapt employee skills to that future landscape. 

There is a lot more that can be done, and you can hear it straight from a peer who is doing all of it right now. Pam Conway, Chief Learning Officer at Intellezy, shares what’s working in L&D at her company to keep valuable employees happy in our on-demand webinar: Mission-Critical Upskilling and Reskilling: The What, Why and How. Click here to watch it now. We’re confident that it’ll be well worth your time.