Beyond Normal: Upskilling and Reskilling in a Changing Workplace

As employers look to rehire their post-pandemic workforce, many will begin focusing on skills and competencies, rather than educational credentials. This shift in workforce hiring is in response to a skills “gap” where employers are not finding qualified candidates for skilled positions.

This “gap” is twofold: the first gap relates to worker skills where people lack necessary skills or credentials for modern jobs. The second “gap” relates to the number of people available for these positions. A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report says that in 2019 there were 12% fewer available workers than there were job openings. And nearly seventy-five percent of employers believe there has been a lack of skilled talent among the available workforce in recent years. 

In preparing for a world where competencies – not degrees – are the most important factors when filling a job, employers are looking at “reskilling” and “upskilling” their employees. This culture of continuous learning helps companies remain competitive rather than lag behind.

What Is Reskilling?

Reskilling is when you learn new skills via training or education in order to change jobs or career fields. This doesn’t just involve job-specific technical skills, but also the acquisition of core competencies like critical thinking skills, collaboration, and communication.

reskilling-upskilling-response-to-covid-job-crisis-coronavirus-businesswoman-adding-skills-her-cv-increasing-employment-211081661What Is Upskilling?

Upskilling means advancing or increasing your current skill set with additional training or education. The difference between what an employer wants or needs an employee to do and the employee’s actual capabilities. These added specializations may be due to modern advancements in industry, shifting workforce duties, or a lack of available worker skills.

Is upskilling necessary for a future-proof workforce?

Upskilling is essential for organizational growth. As organizations grow, job duties change, employees get promoted, and positions are modified to reflect a new paradigm. Upskilling provides a path for current employees to continue to serve. It also allows businesses to hire employees that have similar skillsets to be “trained up” to accommodate business needs.

What Are The Benefits Of Reskilling and        Upskilling Employees?

In addition, providing skills training to existing employees shows a vested interest in their continued employment. The most valuable employees typically seek out new skills and opportunities. Upskilling provides these employees with a sense of respect and job security.

Upskilling and reskilling also helps you maintain your institutional knowledge. Often a company will have a few key personnel that have the core business knowledge and understand how everything works. Upskilling and reskilling employees brings that knowledge to a more formal level, ensuring the company continues to operate with effectiveness.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Reskilling and Upskilling Employees?

Training is an expensive endeavor. It takes valuable time away from important tasks and duties of every-day business. In addition, producing training is challenging. Not only are you making time for your employees to attend the training, but your subject matter experts are tasked with producing the training content – this may be a task with which they are unfamiliar or uninterested.

How to Upskill Your Members / Employees

There are a few steps to ensure upskilling/reskilling training efforts are successful:

1.) Agree on topic, content, scope, and scale

Getting your internal stakeholders to agree on things can be tricky. However, this first step in formulating a upskill/reskill training plan is the most important. Subject matter experts and company leaders should have uniform expectations with respect to the subject matter, length of training, as well as the training method and mode.

2.) Produce a training plan

Once you have your training topics and goals defined, the next step is to produce a training plan or blueprint. This keeps your training in alignment with your strategic goals as well as providing a framework for your content.

3.) Nerd herding

Once you have a strategic plan for your upskill/reskill effort, you must produce the content. This is most often performed by your subject matter experts. Producing this content will provide the outline and structure for the next phase.

4.) Upskill/reskill training development

Whether your training is online, in the classroom, or a combination thereof, the training content needs to be collected and organized in a logical fashion. In an online environment, information should be dispensed in an interesting manner with video and interactive lessons serving to keep the learner engaged. The same principal applies in face-to-face training; efforts must be made to keep learners engaged here as well. Finally, the assessment of topic master must be capable of effectively assessing your learners progress (or lack thereof).


LX Studio is a non-profit university-based consulting organization that helps companies, associations, and educational institutions effectively create and produce their upskill and reskill training. Our proprietary consulting method helps your organization through the above steps in an orderly and timely fashion. We have a proven track record with many satisfied clients. Contact our business manager and get a free initial consultation today.