Digital Transformation

The Future of Work: Reskilling and Upskilling for Business Success When Change Is Constant

By

Dickens Aubourg

| Nov 15, 2019

Ongoing advancements in automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to propel the digital transformation, making the future of work a hot topic for years. People’s jobs – and the skills required to do them – are changing rapidly, as are the industries in which they operate.

Despite the heightened awareness of this issue, 79% of CEOs still regularly worry about their workforce’s existing skills and ability to meet dynamic workplace needs, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study; four out of five said a lack of essential skills threatened the company’s ability to grow.

As organizations across the globe scramble to stay afloat in this new era, savvy leaders have started focusing their attention on workplace learning and development to keep their heads above water.

Ongoing training

To succeed in digital transformation, organizations must employ talent with the proper skills to be competitive. While online learning will never fully replace in-person training, it’s important to provide modern workers with opportunities to learn concepts when and where they need.

Learning platforms offer employees and employers greater flexibility for continuous learning – helping to reskill or upskill workers quickly and conveniently. But it’s important for businesses to understand the key difference between these two concepts to ensure they get the most out of their technology investment.

Reskilling

As technology and the digital landscape continue to change, some jobs will become less relevant while others will suddenly become more crucial. Companies will inevitably struggle to hire people with the skilled labor needed for products and services that come into prominence. Instead, they will have to build the expertise in-house.

If a talented employee’s area of expertise is becoming less relevant, don’t wait for him or her to become obsolete and then hire someone new. Even if a company can find candidates with the necessary skills, the ongoing labor shortage could make it difficult to attract them. To help safeguard future success, reskill current employees and put their talent to use elsewhere in the company.

Upskilling

Unlike reskilling, upskilling involves keeping employees in the same roles while deepening their knowledge and skills. Rather than fundamentally changing their jobs, upskilling complements what they are already doing and allows them to take on new and differentiated work and assignments.

Upskilling is effective for creating the workforce a company needs, rather than searching for it in the general labor pool.

Getting started

Before implementing a new training initiative, organizations need to identify and assess the skills needed to drive business performance. There are several ways to define a strategy to upskill and reskill:

  • performing an internal skills gap assessment
  • soliciting feedback from leaders and managers
  • sending surveys to customers and clients
  • analyzing industry trends and opportunities
  • track development of employees’ skills to business outcomes

Prioritizing your company’s learning strategy allows you to develop a culture of continuous learning; increase retention, reducing overall hiring costs; and ultimately give your organization greater capacity to expand to new markets with the talent you already have.

As technology continues to evolve, so will the future of work. Organizations that reskill and upskill their current workforce will likely avoid drowning in a sea of constant technological advancement.

About the Author

Dickens Aubourg

Dickens Aubourg, Paycom's Director of Client Learning, has over 20 years of working with global clients in positioning learning and knowledge as a strategic business driver. He has served in leadership roles at Ernst & Young and IBM. Aubourg holds a master's degree in instructional technologies from the University of South Florida, and is passionate about his faith, his family, learning, basketball and ’90s hip-hop.

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