A Changing Workplace: Why you need to Up-skill and Re-skill

Bazil Jabuto

May 12, 2022

The future of work is being restructured and highly driven by digitization, a change accelerated by COVID-19. The skills workers have today either need a refresh or have become redundant, which creates a skill gap. As a result, companies are looking for specific skills and competencies to gain a market advantage. In response, upskilling and reskilling have become essential for employees and companies to stay relevant. 

In this post, we’re looking at why upskilling and reskilling are essential in today’s job market.

Reskilling and Upskilling: Why Now?

You might have heard these two words a lot more recently. Why?

There are 3 key reasons:

  1. There’s been a shift to working remotely and online jobs due to COVID-19. This exposed the gaps in the capabilities of many organizations and their human resource/ workforce. 
  2. The shift to remote and hybrid work led to employees demanding more autonomy and wanting to engage in more strategic work.
  3. More companies are automating day-to-day tasks. This frees up employees‘ time to innovate and focus more on growing the company.

According to a PwC’s talent trends report, these 3 reasons have driven organizations to now look for people with a mix of soft, technical, and digital skills. This helps organizations create a workforce with the right mix of skills. 

74% of CEOs across the globe are concerned about finding workers with the right skills to stay competitive. Also, 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors believe workers should re-skill or up-skill annually to help an organization maintain a competitive advantage. 

Before we continue

Why is Kikao64 interested in upskilling and reskilling? 

We are a modern workspace that hosts diverse groups of people – freelancers,  professionals, entrepreneurs, startups, non-profits, students, athletes, and creatives – who come to work, connect, network, and grow. In the process, we learn about industry and market trends and needs.

We see how roles change, companies seeking employees with new skills, and employees striving to fill skills gaps. We are better placed to understand market demands and provide opportunities for skills development. Book a Space with us online, call us to take a tour, or walk in and enjoy the best working environment and become part of our community.

Upskilling vs. Reskilling: What’s the difference? 

Upskilling and reskilling both mean learning new skills. But there’s a difference. 

Upskilling is learning new skills (for individuals ) or teaching workers new skills (for organizations).

Trainingindustry.com defines upskilling as “the process of building an employee’s existing skills and strengths to enhance their skill sets.” 

This means upskilling involves advancing or increasing the current skill set of employees with additional training or education. The added skills may be due to company needs, modern industry advancements, shifting workforce duties, or a lack of available worker skills.

Reskilling on the other hand, is learning entirely new skills to do a different job (for employees) or training individuals to do a different job (for organizations).

Reskilling employees can position them to take on different tasks in the company. According to Delloite, it’s a way of building an employee’s “Adaptability, flexibility, and a commitment to tasks and a goal towards lifelong learning. 

Upskilling and Reskilling Examples

While upskilling and reskilling the workforce enables companies to build a future-ready workforce, they allow employees to build their careers and even take on new jobs.

Upskilling examples

Upskilling involves acquiring new and relevant industry competencies. Common examples of upskilling include reporting skills, digital skills, analytics skills, data analysis, and organizational transformation skills.

Reskilling examples 

Reskilling involves acquiring new skills in the same industry or different industries. For example, software retailers like Softwarekeep might reskill their remote customer service agents in the latest industry products such as Windows 11 and software as a Service (SaaS) trends.  

A programmer can upskill to become a systems analyst. The same programmer can acquire new skills such as graphic and web design and content marketing to support a company’s digital marketing efforts. 

Reskilling can also imply equipping yourself (or your employees) with ‘adjacent skills’, close to the new skills an industry or a company requires. It provides a lateral learning experience.

How to Upskill and Reskill

There are different ways to upskill or re skill including:

  • Formal education. Getting a new diploma, degree, master’s, etc., is a way to develop new skills or improve the ones one has.
  • Short courses and virtual learning. There are many short courses for upskilling, reskilling, and developing soft skills. Most short courses are categorized by market, department, or industry. 
  • Custom training. This works best in niche industries such as SaaS, Digital Marketing, etc. where custom courses help people develop new skills or improve theirs.
  • Mentorship. Employees and individuals can learn new things that the market and industry need to help the company develop a competitive advantage through mentors. 
  • Internal training or on-the-job training. A company can develop an internal training program for employees with new knowledge and skills required in the market.

Why are Upskilling and Reskilling Important?

The benefits of upskilling and reskilling might be different for organizations and individuals. However, the key benefits are:

  • Tackle Emerging Challenges

Work continues to have emerging challenges and parameter changes partly due to the COVID crisis and increasing digitization. COVID-19 exposed the nature of work and skills gaps in companies. Employees now need reskilling and upskilling to tackle future emerging challenges. The shift to hybrid work and co-working spaces, for example, needs employees to be tech-savvy and more digital.

  • Adapt To Market and Industry Changes

There are many reasons for digital upskilling or reskilling. One of the reasons people upskill and re-skill is to adapt to change and keep up with industry and market trends. Upskilling and reskilling training allow individuals and employees to become aligned with new skills and fill the skills gap in the market or industry.

  • Retain Top Performers

The opportunity for self-development through reskilling and upskilling courses is an important job perk that many candidates look forward to. Equally,  it’s also a key reason why a company’s top performers stay within an organization. Having an upskilling and reskilling program is a gesture to your employees that you care about their personal growth and development. In turn, the organization benefits directly, because you cultivate a team of highly qualified professionals and fill the skills gap.

  • Save Time and Resources

Having an internal upskilling and reskilling program saves time and resources. Compared to hiring and onboarding a new employee, the cost of internal learning and development is lower. It’s also an opportunity to help employees grow at a low cost. You’re teaching employees how to learn, making them more prepared for change.

  • Identify and Fill Skill and Knowledge Gaps

A strategic reskilling and upskilling plan focuses on talent development and allows workers to identify and fill gaps, limiting beliefs and behaviors that hinder their job performance. Periodic upskilling and reskilling helps both the company and workers improve their skills and fill any gaps that the market or industry demands. It’s also an opportunity for knowledge checks and self-evaluations to help them stay on track with their individual and company goals.

  • Nurture Emerging Talent

Spotting talent and nurturing them is one of the important roles of HR directors or company leadership. It is vital to be able to pick emerging MVPs out from the crowd and nurture their skills to maximize their gaps and strengths. Upskilling and reskilling can help you spot the star employees and nurture them.

In Conclusion 

Things are changing fast in the workplace and the market. The market keeps demanding new skills and creates a skills gap as the shelf life of skills also gets shorter. For organizations to keep up and stay competitive, there’s a need to invest in employees and help them improve their skills or develop new ones. Reskilling and upskilling is a strategic response to the changing skills demand. 


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