Digitization, remotization, automation of business processes and robotization are just some of the factors that are radically changing the world of work. Flexibility and adaptability therefore become fundamental requirements to face the changes, as well as the ability to retrain and increase your personal skills based on market trends.
These characteristics can be enhanced through Reskilling and Upskilling paths, in which training, updating and field work participate in improving the skills acquired and learning new knowledge that can be used in a changing reality.
But what do we mean by “Reskilling” and “Upskilling”? Let us try to answer this question by taking into account the differences between the two concepts.
Reskilling and Upskilling: the differences
Reskilling and Upskilling do not have the same meaning but they both have fundamental importance in enhancing personal skills. Specifically, these are two processes that respectively concern the re-professionalization of workers and the integration of new expertise.
These paths can be approached through various methods such as tutoring, face-to-face training courses or distance learning initiatives through online platforms. Let’s analyze their features in detail.
What is Reskilling?
Reskilling is a path that allows you to acquire skills and knowledge useful to perform a new task, therefore, in the specific case a worker, for example an employee of a company, will be able to tackle a different task than previously performed.
The term Reskilling also means an ability, or rather the propensity to acquire skills different from those you already have, and a strategy. Thanks to it, organizations do not have to recruit new staff when there is need to have new figures in the team, and they can enhance internal resources.
New hires also have a cost in terms of time, typically the time required for recruitment, selection and testing campaigns. In the same way, they have unknown factors due to the need to create a new working relationship and trust. With Reskilling, on the other hand, the investment focuses on resources whose professional qualities are already known.
Companies able to reskill their employees are also more competitive because they are able to easily adapt to changes in their target market, at the same time they are entities that offer greater opportunities for growth to employees.
What does Upskilling mean?
On one hand Reskilling allows you to acquire abilities different from those you already have, and on the other Upskilling enables you to improve the expertise and knowledge already acquired by developing additional skills related to your job profile.
With Upskilling you will have skilled and also more loyal employees, this is because a company that continuously trains its workers is less exposed to the costs resulting from the loss of talent and the problems related to turnover. Why fill a skill gap by hiring new collaborators, when it is possible to improve the skills of the employees already present in your team?
Reskilling is for people who want to take on a new role, whilst Upskilling is for those who want to keep their current job but improve their skills.
Practical examples of Reskilling and Upskilling
Two examples can be used to further clarify the differences mentioned above. The first is a business activity that has decided to close its physical stores and focus only on e-commerce after undergoing a Digital Transformation process.
To address this transition from offline to online, the owner may decide to totally replace their workforce, but this would involve a complete employee turnover and therefore a heavy commitment, both in terms of time and resources. Alternatively, it could opt for a strategy aimed at training at least part of them with the purpose of assigning them new roles related to the management of online catalogs, relations with suppliers, orders and customer assistance in the pre or post sales stages.
In this case we therefore talk about a Reskilling path.
The second example concerns a software house which, evaluating the latest market trends, decides to focus on the production of applications based on Artificial Intelligence technologies.
A first option could be to hire new employees specialized in programming languages more oriented to this area, such as R or Python, as well as to look for professionals already trained in the field of Machine Learning tools. Otherwise, it could take advantage of the fact of being able to count on programmers and Database Administrators who have already proven themselves capable in code writing, data management and problem solving, by accompanying them in an Upskilling path.
The importance of constant and continuous Training
Reskilling and Upskilling can be summarized in a single term: continuous training. This is because, given the continuous changes that affect the market regardless of the sector of reference, even a “reskilled” worker needs to periodically face Upskilling paths.
Mainly due to the Digital Transformation that involves so many sectors, lifelong learning is something that affects the entire working life of an employee or professional. In this regard, the examples that can be proposed are different, just think of a segment like that of Digital Marketing where operators always have new platforms, methods and tools at their disposal to plan campaigns, develop creativity, analyze traffic data, measure performance and coordinate your team.
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The training courses for Reskilling and Upskilling of workers are applied according to different needs. The first one allows you to acquire skills to perform a new task, the second one to update your knowledge to fulfill your role in the best possible way.
Both approaches provide a competitive edge when considering the various needs of a business and the market in which it operates. They help employees to develop their skills and are a cost-cutting solution for human resource management.
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