Upskilling Vs. Reskilling: Delivering the Training Your Organization Needs to Succeed Today & Tomorrow

The global workforce landscape is changing so quickly and there is a severe shortage of qualified talent in the pipeline to meet the workforce needs in the ever-expanding digital economy.

Organizations big and small are struggling to find the solution to this growing problem, both from inside and outside their companies. Many recent college graduates will quickly find out that the skills they left school with will not be the skills they need as technology continues to advance. The high cost of hiring and retraining their current workforce makes things even more difficult for organizations, but it is a path they must pursue.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to,” says Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic.

So it’s no surprise that more than half of the companies that took part in a 2019 Upskilling Initiatives Survey, compiled for Raytheon Professional Services by Training Industry, Inc., say upskilling is a high and urgent priority.

Upskilling vs. Reskilling

Upskilling initiatives are different from traditional, ongoing corporate training programs. Upskilling training expands an employee’s competencies to meet future business needs and promotes career growth within the organization. These initiatives can be companywide or cover an entire function. Advances in learning methods and analytics are now available to help speed up these processes for the good of the employee, and these techniques help companies move people into new jobs where they will excel, or help them be more successful in their current job. All with the ultimate goal of ensuring the company remains competitive in its marketplace and continues to thrive.

Reskilling, as we see it, is a much broader societal issue around providing new skills, or employment opportunities, to members of the workforce whose skills no longer match those required by the current job market, or have become obsolete due to advancements in technology.

Who Needs Upskilling: From New Hires to Senior Management

Employees across a range of role types, from senior management all the way to new hires, can be positively affected by upskilling. Common functional areas for improvement tend to be technology related – namely: IT, operations, cybersecurity and technical support.

And with upskilling directives now coming from the top down in organizations, leaders involved in all talent functions are scrambling to put together and enact a plan to deal with these issues. The survey found that there is a strong sense of urgency in as many as two-thirds of companies about upskilling initiatives with various objectives, though the use of technology and automation are the most urgent.

The payoff can be huge for an employee in terms of money, quality of life, job security and increased chances for promotions.

Drivers for Upskilling a Workforce

The key drivers for the uptick in upskilling is the technological evolution of jobs and how to offer training as an employee perk to foster retention, especially with millennials, who tend to do a lot of job hopping. The most common skills needing improvement are managerial, decision-making, problem-solving and technical. There is another complication — baby boomers are leaving the job market in large numbers. In 2020, the youngest boomers will turn 53, and the oldest will turn 71, meaning a good number of them will be at retirement age.

High-performing companies characterize the importance of upskilling as integral to their success — at 90% according to the survey — because upskilling aligns with their business strategies and their L&D leaders have the necessary funding to partner with a vendor to support these initiatives. As a result, they’re seeing the benefits in retaining millennials and transferring boomer knowledge.

And 80 percent of those companies surveyed said they are using vendors such as Raytheon Professional Services to support their upskilling plans.

Reach Out to RPS

Get in touch with our team now to identify and deliver effective upskilling initiatives. How would you tackle upskilling in your organization? Do you have lessons learned that you’d like to share? Start a conversation in the comments below or connect with us at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags #upskilling, #learning, #training.