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Keeping Up With Automation: Upskilling, Reskilling, And Cross-Skilling


At The End Of The Day, It Is All About Skills

Organizations today recognize that new skills are needed in an ever-evolving and rapidly changing environment. Each new day brings millions of opportunities to innovate new and unique digital practices. There is no doubt that this is becoming the new norm. Even technologies that are deemed innovative today and trending tomorrow could be archaic by this time next week. Do corporations and their employees have the ability to keep up with this change? Is it possible that we are missing the mark when it comes to the evolution of technology? Companies feel that their employees aren’t able to keep up with automation, which indicates that there is a need to fill the skills gap in professional development.

Are professional development advancements capable of solving this problem? Let’s take a moment to consider what corporations around the world are facing and how they can keep up with the pace of technological advancement.

Professional Development

The term “professional development” evokes a variety of thoughts. But what does it actually mean?

Professional development is to develop or improve your career skills through training, education, or technical advancement.

Maintaining a continuous focus on your professional development cannot be overstated. To remain relevant in today’s tech-driven world, you must be able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Workshops and training sessions can be used to accomplish professional development growth. Some corporations may be willing to pay for these training courses due to the results being better-rounded, intellectual, and motivated employees.

Further professional development has many benefits, such as improved confidence, increased employee retention rates, greater positivity from your team members, and greater efficiency within your organization. Small or large advancements will help your organization recognize the need for upskilling, reskilling, or even cross-skilling other employees. What are these terms and why are they so important for the future success of your company? Let’s take a moment to review each of them.

Upskilling

Upskilling is a means of teaching existing employees (regardless of their time within the organization) new and/or additional skills that they may need to fulfill their current role.

Upskilling enables you to identify skills gaps and weaknesses within your team and recycle their skills to enable success. It may be as simple as acquiring new technology skills. As an example, your entire corporation is familiar with Windows technology and has been using it for many years. However, your industry has recently decided to integrate Virtual Reality (VR) into everyday IT operations. Current team members must broaden their knowledge in order to keep up with changes in IT, regardless of whether they are related to software or hardware.

Your corporation must be willing to invest in the continued education of your employees in order to be successful with this practice. A wide range of corporations have already adopted this practice by offering free or low-cost college options to further the professional development of their employees. It is also recommended that workshops be held in order to promote upskilling.

“Upskilling is not an option, but a necessity.” – Ashok Veda

Reskilling

Reskilling is a similar concept and enables professional growth as well. It is when an entirely new skillset is taught to an employee to do an entirely different job, but still within the same corporation of their original job.

An example of reskilling would be where the COVID-19 crisis caused many small business owners who operated brick-and-mortar locations to close up overnight. Rather than shutting down their business forever or even declaring bankruptcy, these small business owners chose to pivot their business digitally. As a result, their products were readily available for purchase by individuals from all over the world.

Despite the fact that this may seem like a small and simple task, it posed a serious challenge to small businesses, especially those with limited technical knowledge. The pandemic prevented them from hiring someone to assist them with their digital footprint; therefore, they could only receive assistance via virtual chat, social media, or YouTube videos.

This resulted in countless companies lacking the ability to succeed or remain successful. In some cases, they even filed for bankruptcy due to the inability to reskill themselves and their companies. However, a small number of businesses have been able to adapt to the changes in pace and technology, allowing their businesses to succeed beyond their usual expectations. The result was the elimination of the need for a brick-and-mortar store, which in turn resulted in the saving of additional expenses associated with operating in person. Adapting to change, they successfully reskilled their business and themselves, which was no easy task. They honed in on what needed to be done and successfully completed the reskilling process.

“The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.” – Peter Drucker

Cross-Skilling

As you are now familiar with upskilling and reskilling, it is time to discuss cross-skilling. The term “cross-skilling” may also be used to refer to cross-training or cross-learning.

Cross-skilling occurs when an employee is trained or taught to function in multiple different areas within their department or within their overall organization.

Cross-skilled employees are capable of performing a wide range of tasks. In this manner, they are able to combine various distinct skill sets, rotate jobs, change programs in a blink of an eye, and become the best-rounded employee possible. Managers, shift leaders, and executives often possess a wide range of cross-skills that they apply to their roles.

Let us examine a scenario in order to further clarify this term. A grocery store may experience a staff shortage. A cashier is cross-trained to perform all tasks within the store, as well as assist the manager in performing accounting tasks for the business. By doing so, they are able to make use of their cross-skills to their advantage.

“Anytime there’s an opportunity for cross-training and learning something, learn it.” – Dawn Penfold

Why Organizations Should Invest In Employees’ Professional Development

It is beneficial for your organization to be able to reskill, upskill, and cross-skill your current staff. The organization saves time, money, stress, and energy as a result of the implementation. Instead of onboarding a new employee, energy can be directed towards other important endeavors. In general, it is always preferable to offer incentives to your current internal employees. It is a good idea to provide incentives to your employees, such as an increase in their salary, a shift adjustment, a department change or move, or a promotion, in order to maximize their potential within your organization.

Moreover, you may be able to motivate your team members by providing free or inexpensive education/training. This demonstrates your commitment to their professional development. The results of this will increase the overall success of your employees and help promote success within your company. In contrast, onboarding new members of a team can result in costs exceeding what would be incurred through an in-house incentive program. Additionally, your team members fail to feel included in your organization. Your corporation will reap a tenfold return on its investment in the professional development of your current employees.

Retention rates will increase since your employees will be aware that you are investing in their career development and future. It will be easier for them to realize that they are important within the industry, rather than being left to wonder if a newcomer might replace them in the future, simply due to technological changes. Providing your employees with the feeling that they are appreciated for their hard work leads to an increase in employee morale and productivity, a supportive learning environment, and most importantly, a sense of inclusion for all employees.

Conclusion

Through upskilling, reskilling, and cross-skilling, you and your corporation will be able to cope with these changes no matter how quickly technology advances. If your corporation invests in its employees, it will be able to keep up with technology trends and may even be able to develop evolutionary trends for the future. There is no question that no matter what the future holds or how technologically advanced it may become, you, your organization, and most importantly, your unparalleled team of individuals will be prepared.

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Andy Neal

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