Why Upskilling and Reskilling your employees is a great business move
The rise of digital tech across all industries (and every facet of life) has been the change of recent decades. In many cases it has been hugely transformative to the very nature of work.
Many fear that automation will lead to rampant unemployment in the coming years as AI advances render more and more skilled jobs unnecessary. This scenario is, however, at the far end of the doomsday predictions. In reality it has simply shifted around what skills are in demand: there is currently a massive deficit in certain sectors (IT Security for instance has around 2 million places unfilled globally) and that is only expected to get worse as more companies go digital and competition for qualified workers increases.
With this is mind it has never been more important to ensure your current staff are able to develop new skills. It’s not just to fill the skills gap either. Industries are going to continue to evolve for the foreseeable future as AI, the Internet of Things, VR and other emerging tech becomes mainstream. The most successful companies will be those with staff best able and willing to pick up new skills and specialties when required.
There are two concepts that can help here:
- Upskilling: what can we teach this person to help them better fulfil their role?
- Reskilling: where does the company have a surplus and deficit of skills? Rather than trying to hire rare and expensive specialists, can we fill these gaps by retraining our own people?
Its important to recognise that both reskilling and upskilling employees is a process that will be unique to each company – each has its own business needs and skill shortages that have to be addressed. However, in the broad sweep, you’ll want to give those with excellent “soft” skills technical ability and vice versa. After all, digital connectivity is putting technical teams in close contact with clients while technical knowledge at all levels ensures, at the very least, a company doesn’t fall into the shiny object trap but can also foster closer working across the company.
‘Well what do these hypothetical benefits look like in the real world?’ you may ask. Let’s have a look at the example of web design studio Imaginaire. They decided to upskill all of their staff with knowledge of Adobe Sketch and a basic grasp of UI design. At a web agency this is a skillset you’d typically find only in the Design Team. So what was their thinking? The upskilling allowed Imaginaire to cut down on miscommunication and foster a closer working environment between teams. With a shared knowledge base and technical language, members of Marketing, Support or other non-design team can effectively communicate their actual needs for a project rather than relying on a designer’s interpretation of what they wanted.
As we’re sure you can see – upskilling and reskilling your staff has some great potential for you workforce while we try and negotiate this current skills gap!
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