Reskilling vs. Upskilling your Team

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In an ever-changing business landscape, leaders must keep an eye on the pulse of talent development initiatives to meet their long-term company goals and remain competitive in the marketplace.  As industries move towards advances in automation and digital interfaces, many job responsibilities will begin to change or become irrelevant over the next decade and beyond.

This shift towards an ever-increasing artificial intelligence world has prompted a new dialogue around re-skilling vs. up-skilling staff to keep up with the times.  Elizabeth Loutfi, in her article on “Navigating Semantics and Skills: Reskilling Vs. Upskilling” from Chief Learning Officer magazine, defines re-skilling as “learning new skills for a new position” and up-skilling as “taking current skills and refining them for the position you currently have…doing the same job, only better.”

Loutfi points out that re-skilling is not a new concept – companies reinvent themselves all the time to stay current with marketplace demand and technological advances.  But what is new is taking that concept to the talent development arena in a more proactive way. In other words, being “future-minded” to initiate learning and development programs for your team as business trends to maintain employee retention and keep pace with industry changes.

A professor of management practice at London Business School named Lynda Gratton was interviewed by Loutfi in her article.  Gratton stated that reskilling and upskilling programs need to have a broad portfolio of learning mechanisms, as well as a way to measure and show a learner’s certification of a new skill, so it can be portable from job to job; this last element being crucial even though it can be difficult or time consuming to keep track of all the data.

Companies everywhere need to understand that talent management is no longer simply focused on ensuring staff are functioning at optimum performance.  It is now leaning towards agile thinking to remain relevant within the intersection of customer needs, industry trends and technological innovations.

If you want to learn more about re-skilling vs. up-skilling, you can read Loutfi’s article in full by clicking this link.


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