Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Upskilling and Reskilling Employees

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Ygnacio V. Flores and Tracy Rickman
February 9, 2024

As technology advances, it creates a skills gap in many industries. Not filling these gaps can be detrimental to an organization. Administrators need to ensure they and their employees stay relevant in the workplace. This benefits both the employee and the organization. Artificial intelligence (AI) is leading the fields that require the necessary upskilling or reskilling. Along with the fears of AI replacing human capital, there are many opportunities for those who use AI to their advantage. Instead of seeing AI as a threat, administrators can acknowledge that working with emerging technology is a way to ensure people stay employed. AI will soon be ubiquitous in our jobs and home life. Using AI to enhance our work is a more innovative way to make an organization progressive.

As professors, we notice that many students need more soft skills. In the wake of the COVID experience, many future workers were prevented from interacting with others. A lack of human interaction created a gap in the development of communication skills. Other soft skills we notice need development are creative thinking, leadership, emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence. Development of these skills requires that administrators work with and guide the next generation of workers. Soft skills are necessary in an organization. AI has yet to master the soft skills developed through millennia of human development and interaction.

Writing with style and effectiveness is a vanishing skill. An overemphasis on pushing students forward does little to develop the writing skills required in a competitive job market. Technological advances in communication and social media are reducing a person’s ability to communicate effectively with proper English. While many curricula tout the inclusion of these skills in their syllabi, many students, as products of higher education, lack the rudimentary knowledge and experience to use these skills outside of the campus. Administrators must develop their employees’ soft skills by building on the foundations new employees bring to an organization.  

As an individual, ask yourself why you want to or need to reskill. Are you looking for different opportunities? Are you happy with your current position in life? Do you require challenges to sustain peak performance? Think about how upskilling or reskilling affects the job you are currently performing. Upskilling and reskilling can supply opportunities beyond those of your current position.    

Upskilling is enhancing and growing current skills. This can include using your current skills to meet the requirements of a changing job assignment or gaining the necessary competencies to perform in a higher-level position. Reskilling is a way to learn new technology and, more importantly, the capabilities of the new technologies. Knowing how to use emerging technology to an organization’s advantage can place your organization ahead of others. Innovation is only limited by a person’s imagination.

Reskilling is learning new skills. People may need new skills to respond to a changing work environment or to seek a new position, either in or outside a current organization. Reskilling is an essential means of adapting to new technologies. Reskilling requires training and education. An investment in reskilling can prove to produce significant returns for an organization.

Going beyond fads by focusing on strategic priorities helping the organization is a sign of an administrator with foresight. Look for training and education that increases an organization’s resilience. Administrators need to select effective training programs. Many companies sell reskilling programs. Unfortunately, the result is often an invoice and not better employees. Select training that is proven and effective. Preparing for unexpected challenges is better than learning skills after an unexpected event stresses your organization.  

Conduct a 720-degree analysis of your organization to see what skills are required to be successful in your environment. A 720-degree analysis involves an assessment of the organization from two perspectives. The first is a 360-degree internal assessment of the organization. The second is a 360-degree assessment of the organization from an outside perspective. Consider how parochial factors outside the organization can affect the organization’s success. A 720-degree analysis goes beyond the SWOT analysis, especially considering the opportunities and threats outside an organization’s walls. 

Proven strategies that are effective in reskilling and upskilling are mentorship and modeling, learning paths for required skill families, and fostering a learning culture in your organization. Supporting upskilling and reskilling supports a learning organization. Administrators need to upskill or reskill their knowledge, skills and abilities for self-improvement and serve as models for their employees. Learning across the spectrum of an organization fosters innovation and resilience. An administrator’s participation in upskilling and reskilling is critical to organizational success. Doing as you say earns the trust and confidence of an organization.

Authors: Dr. Ygnacio “Nash” Flores and Don Mason are faculty at Rio Hondo College. Dr. Tracy Rickman is faculty at Tarleton State University

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *