When it comes to the long-term success of a business or upward career trajectories, there is arguably nothing more important than having a wide-ranging skillset. Whether a company operates in the business field, design industry, or even careers in beauty and healthcare industries, a multi-faceted skillset for staff is essential.
In 2020, as the world plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic and forced millions of us to work from home, companies began significant efforts to reskill and upskill their staff. In fact, more than 40 per cent of businesses have started to work on both upskilling and reskilling since the pandemic began, according to TalentLMS.
But what does all this mean?
Essentially, as the business world becomes more and more competitive, and consumers launch into the online world to find the ‘best’ experience from a brand, there is more avenue for loss than ever before.
Businesses have no other choice to but ensure their staff are at the ‘top of their game’ so to speak, and so begun upskilling or reskilling processes.
The Difference between Upskilling and Reskilling
Before we get into whether you should consider upskilling or reskilling. One is often more affordable than the other, however, the other can enable your business to branch into entire new industries given that the process is done correctly.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.
This term essentially means you’re learning entirely new skills.
These skills are generally required for you to move across your business or into a new job entirely. Think of this as developing the agility to leave your current role in business, for example, and move into an adjacent field like design or beauty — or vice versa.
The most effective use for reskilling is when an organization or an individual is looking to migrate into a new field or service offering. With new skills, there’s a level of preparedness that will allow for a higher chance of success; especially in competitive industries.
Unlike learning an all-new skill, upskilling refers to strengthening the skills you already have in a specific role.
Whether this is to improve your ability to output great results, improve productivity at work or anything else, upskilling is about bettering your existing skillset and moving up the ladder.
The most effective use for upskilling is combating a slow or demotivated workforce, or individual, who is somewhat unsuccessful in the tasks that they’re undertaking at work. An improvement or upskilling in a specific set of skills will allow for greater productivity and talent in these tasks, increasing productivity and profitability.
In all, both of these types of skill improvements or enhancements are ideal for both businesses and employees. An organisation will have a more productive and valuable workforce, and staff members will have a better skillset to raise the chances of an improved salary or have the ability to move to higher roles.
When you’re considering to either reskill or upskill, it’s important to note that the business landscape requires lifelong learners.
A single skillset that remains stagnant is no longer enough to ensure success in any field, and businesses will often look away from candidates who only offer one skill — even if it is well-developed.
That said, it’s integral to have at least some sort of upskilling plan on your to-do list when it comes to working.
Back in 2019, the Wiley Education Services and Future Workplace group outlined that a staggering 68 per cent of businesses touted upskilling as a very worthwhile practice, though not too many of the companies acted on this. Essentially, the process of upskilling holds a tonne of value to employers, though, as an employee, you’re expected to do this on your own.
To end, for businesses, it is significantly more affordable to reskill and upskill existing employees rather than hiring new. As an example, just $500 per staff member directed intelligently to online or in-person learning can significantly improve skillsets and improve workplace efficiency.
As an example, businesses in the cosmetic or beauty field could quite quickly and affordably implement an online learning program in which team members undertake online courses in beauty services to improve their productivity and quality of work. You can learn more about these courses and initiatives on Courses.
Choosing Between Upskilling and Reskilling
Whether you’re an employee or a business, the choice between an upskilling initiative and a reskilling one will depend on your organisation’s requirements for growth.
If, as a business owner, you’re noticing that productivity is not at a level you’re satisfied with, or your staff have trouble getting their work done in the day — whether it be a delayed submission or simply too difficult for staff to complete –– then an upskilling focus is what we would suggest.
Adjacently, if as an employee or a business, you’re looking to move and expand into a new sector within the industry, or wanting to branch out into a new service area entirely, then a focus on reskilling is imperative.
From an ROI standpoint, many businesses would be best off working on the upskilling of all staff before moving into reskilling. Only down to the productivity and work output that comes as a result of an upskilling, you’re able to increase revenues and then refocus efforts on reskilling down the line.
To add, major corporations also stand by upskilling in that it is their primary means of improving workplace efficiency.
Technology and Solutions for Upskilling and Reskilling
Prior to delving into a reskilling or upskilling effort, you’ll first need to determine the types of skills you’re looking to build, either for yourself or a team of staff. Of course, a vast majority of these skills can be taught online, though there are a few that require hands-on learning. That said, be sure to have a plan in place first.
To assist in this, both businesses and employees can make use of competency testing to identify required skills and instantly locate a skills gap. This is ideal in that it is a fast-tracked way to finding avenues for improved productivity and profitability.
Different Ways to Reskill and Upskill
As we mentioned above, there are a few techniques for the reskilling of a workforce, and we’ll take a look at these below.
For beauty services, for example, these upskilling and reskilling efforts were often forced into slow, in-person learning. However, with COVID pushing the world into their home offices, there are now all-digital pathways to make use of.
To start, the Interplay Learning organisation has moved into virtual reality for the purposes of both upskilling and reskilling. That has enabled the complex trade-based industries to succeed in their reskilling as this method remains hands-on, although digitally.
Another means of reskilling and upskilling is the gamification of learning in the workplace, which is especially useful on the Gen Z and Millennial workforce. Converting learning and re-learning processes into a game-like experience keeps staff motivated to continue their reskilling and in some cases, even improves workplace happiness.
Online courses also remain the backbone of employer and employee-driven reskilling efforts. With course providers online offering well-rounded programs to offer the required information and skill-building processes required to assist employees in moving up the ladder at work.
These online courses are also regulated, vetted and supported by governments, making them the more trustworthy of the bunch, at least for now.
With all of the above said, it isn’t too difficult to see that there are significant payoffs for both upskilling and reskilling on your own, or for your workplace.
When it comes to workplace productivity, there’s little that comes close to the output offered by a motivated and empowered workforce that is also well-educated and trained in their craft.
For owners of businesses in the beauty industry, you could potentially have all staff members capable of higher-up tasks or more delicate processes. This is an excellent perk in that it means when there isn’t a particular employee present; you’re still able to remain productive and operational as all of your staff are capable of each workplace task.
For the process of determining whether to upskill and reskill, it is integral to take a look at whether your business is performing at its best. Suppose there are profitability issues or high staff turnover because of task difficulties. In that case, it will be far more affordable to simply reskill your team to ensure they’re all capable of undertaking the required daily procedures.
One final thing to keep in mind is that the reskilling of a workforce, or yourself as an individual, is a highly motivational experience. Not only will you, or your staff, be more attentive at work, they will also be appreciative of where they work.
Research has shown us that, in some cases, employees see the upskilling process as a ‘promotion’ in a sense, and an empowered workforce becomes a powerhouse for profitability and resilience.