Upskilling and Reskilling the Workforce as a Business Imperative

Upskilling and Reskilling the Workforce as a Business Imperative

The pandemic is definitely a time of discovery for the workforce. It has forever changed the way employees look at their career paths - and also showed how upskilling and reskilling is important for organizations. Read along to find out how these two factors are affecting the workplace. 

Meet Martin.

Martin works as an engineer for a construction company. He loves his job very much—but the pandemic happened.

Suddenly, the construction projects were halted and everything about his work was indefinite. Soon, their company had to announce pay cuts and some of his co-workers were laid-off.

The job Martin used to love was not what it used to be. Yet Martin cannot do anything about it. With the uncertainty of the situation weighing on his mind and more idle time on his hands, Martin decided to browse free online courses. That is when he discovered he actually enjoyed doing social media marketing.

Yes, it was a far cry from his current job. Martin had never even have the least bit of interest in marketing before. But when he learned more about the field, Martin began to consider if he should forge a path in the marketing industry.

So, who is Martin?

One of the huge impacts of the pandemic in the employment sector is the high unemployment rates. In 2020, the number of unemployed individuals reached 220 million. On the other hand, another 18 million employees left the labor market forever.

Martin is no fictional character—he is a real-life individual, who in one way or another, you may have known during the pandemic. Someone in your family or your close circle of friends may also have reworked their skills because of unemployment, job uncertainty, or simply using the extra time to divert their attention away from the dread caused by COVID-19.

But not everyone is as lucky as Martin.

While Martin saw a silver lining for his future, not everyone in the workforce had successfully done so. Some people may not find viable career options immediately, especially if their current role has always been their passion.         

On the other hand, employees who were able to keep their jobs may possibly struggle to excel in new job responsibilities, such as the use of new software and hardware for hybrid or remote workplaces. Either way, both kind of employees are in a tough situation.

Now this is where your organization can better support your workforce.

How can my organization bridge this skills gap?

According to Forbes, right now is the best time for major industries to explore new approaches to improve their current talent pool. Rather than spend a huge fraction of your corporation’s resources in hiring and training new talents, choose to be more economical by upskilling and reskilling your present workforce instead.

Upskilling is the process of enhancing existing skills to help your workforce excel in their current job role. On the other hand, reskilling is the process of learning new skills to prepare the workforce for an entirely different job role.

Whether your corporation decides to upskill or reskill an employee, deliver effective skills programs with these strategies in mind.

  1. Evaluate priority areas to determine core skills.  

Review your organization’s mission, vision, and future projects. Which areas will probably need improvement or upgrades that can effectively communicate your company vision and accomplish plans? After figuring out the focus areas, identify which core skills and roles would be necessary to improve the said areas. 

  1. Customize training courses according to preferences.

Excessive virtual meetings and webinars can definitely cause burnout in employees—a condition most popularly known as Zoom fatigue. So rather than impose mandatory training, give them the liberty to choose which courses they would like to sign up. Provide employees with options for choosing the duration, topics, or learning platforms.

  1. Reach out to potential candidates.

Reskilling or upskilling every individual can be costly and time-consuming for any corporation. This is especially true if employees are not interested or doesn’t understand the significance of the training courses. So, schedule a meeting with individuals who are most eligible for the skills program and discuss their career aspirations and opportunities.

  1. Partner with established universities and institutions.

Business partnerships with accredited learning institutions assure that employees are well-prepared to improve or take on new company roles. Your education partner can better align your organization’s mission and vision with training programs, so select schools that offer specializations in your needed skills or roles.

  1. Implement mentoring and reverse mentoring programs.

Mentoring is a common way to enhance the skills of entry-level team members with the guidance of tenured staff. But the seniors can also learn a lot from their juniors, especially the digital native employees. Assign the best mentoring and reverse mentoring matchups for employees to not just improve skills gaps, but also build stronger team collaboration.

  1. Provide post-training reinforcements.  

No matter how great the training program is, employees are bound to forget the concepts that they’ve learned after some time. Research shows that within a week, an average of 90% information are long forgotten by individuals. Open reskilling and upskilling courses and learning materials on-demand, and provide post-training review tests to help address learning gaps. 


According to the Wall Street Journal, 58% of today’s workforce is in need of skill sets to do their jobs. While it is great that individuals like Martin are upskilling and reskilling out of their own volition, it is still essential that corporations offer these opportunities instead—or risk losing their most valuable employees for good.


Eager to find new ways to empower your workforce? Read more about the latest enterprise technology, innovation, and sustainable industry practices at CXO Connect ME.

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Patricia Mae M. Estenoso, Creative Copywriter, CXO Connect ME