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Talent management
What is upskilling thumnail

What is upskilling?: The future of organizational talent management

Talent management
What is upskilling thumnail

The rapid pace of global change in the tech industry makes it essential for organizations to understand and adapt to evolving skill needs. Companies that show agility to be able to rise to this challenge can expect enhanced productivity, more engaged employees, and more cost-effective talent management programs.

The key to achieving success lies in two areas: effectively understanding the skills inventory and implementing targeted upskilling and reskilling strategies throughout your company culture and organization. An effective development program can be vital to the employee engagement and employee retention of your organization.

The LinkedIn Workplace Learning report recently stated that,

“94% of employees claim they would remain with a company longer if it simply invested in their learning”

So, training and development opportunities are not just beneficial for the success of your organization today, they actively encourage employees to stick around in the future as well. Meaning you have to compete less for new workers in the job market.

1. Assessing skills inventory to develop new skills

For an organization to develop and strategize its workforce planning efficiently, it must first understand its employees’ current skills and any skills gaps therein. An organization can then make plans to fill skill gaps by allowing an employee to develop any missing skills or any new skill coming into question.

Developing a Skills Taxonomy:

This involves a comprehensive process that draws insights from past organizational data, research body analyses, and industry peers’ benchmarks. Advanced analytics tools can be used to glean data from professional networks, identifying high-demand skills. Expert interviews with top industry players also provide valuable direction.

Skills can consist of hard skills—like knowledge of a foreign language or programming languages like JavaScript and Python. Whereas, listening, problem-solving, people skills, and effective, communication skills are all good examples of some of the most important soft skills. Hard skills refer to abilities developed by the employee that are often specific to their role and their job duties. Soft skills can be considered more general, everyday skills. Both types are equally important and combine to make up the knowledge employees currently possess. However, new skills become important every day, so, there needs to be constant skills development, in development initiatives or online courses, to continue the learning process.

Every aspect of the daily processes of any organization is made up of various skills and skill sets. Inevitably, however, skills gaps appear between what an employee knows and what an organization requires. Being able to map the learning and development of employees and quickly identify skills gaps, allows organizations to create learning initiatives to propel the workforce forward.

Aim to consolidate this invaluable skills information into a workable skills taxonomy that can adapt to the organization’s needs, prioritizing general and specialist skills.

Identifying skill gaps:

Once critical skills and measurable abilities are pinpointed, the next step is assessing the organization’s current standing. Benchmarking tools like skill-gauging workshops, employee surveys, and skill data scraping can offer qualitative insights on areas of strength and needed improvement.

Strategies to bridge the skills gap:

Armed with a clear taxonomy and understanding of the relevant skills required, organizations can then:

  • Integrate skill assessments into the hiring process.
  • Launch personalized learning pathways for employees.
  • Adjust career models and performance evaluations, emphasizing skill building, coaching, and mentorship.
  • One notable example comes from a tech company that wove a personalized learning platform into its performance system, boosting employee skill development and business revenue.

2. Talent Management Strategies for professional development

In the skills-based workplace, past experience in jobs is not as important as the possession of the skills that make up those job roles. Hiring managers in a traditional workplace focus on the requirements of the role and on job descriptions in particular.

Workers within that role are then given specific tasks relevant to the job description and their experience. However, skills-based hiring is related to what hard and soft skills the employee possesses and where those skills can be best utilized.

As the post-pandemic world evolves, organizations are faced with the urgent need to optimize their existing talent. Critical thinking reports suggest that shortly, half the workforce will require reskilling while new roles continue to emerge quickly.

Redeployment involves moving an employee from a redundant role to another that matches their existing skill set. For instance, during a transformation in the insurance sector, automation threatened many call centre jobs. Leveraging the employees’ skills and experience, many were successfully redeployed to roles like customer ambassadors, preserving institutional knowledge.

Reskilling caters to scenarios where a significant skills gap exists. Employees are then trained to align with their new roles. For the same insurance company undergoing automation, reskilling filled skill gaps and strengthened the company’s overall health and financial performance.


What is upskilling?

An Upskilling strategy focuses on enhancing an employee’s existing skills through mentorship programs, online courses and training programs. Such programs are excellent at encouraging employees to carve out a career path and develop their skills within your organization.

Upskilling opportunities can be found across organizations as so many new skills are becoming relevant each day. The benefits of upskilling are many. It can offer organizations a competitive advantage as well as boost employee satisfaction and promotes career growth within the workplace. Upskilling opportunities also help by improving employee engagement. If a worker cares about their job, they will be more likely to remain with your organization and be less likely to look for growth opportunities elsewhere. For instance, some workers might possess great leadership skills, in which case they can be fast-tracked to career paths in a management position.

A case in point is a large healthcare firm aiming to bolster its underwriting team’s strategy. Employees with aligned skills and interests were placed on learning trajectories to ensure they developed the additional expertise necessary for professional growth in their evolving roles.

An organization may also notice that a worker possesses distinct leadership abilities and can be fast-tracked to career success.

These three strategies will play pivotal roles in the foreseeable future of work. The secret to a thriving organization will be leveraging these strategies individually and in tandem, ensuring employees are well-equipped to navigate and excel in an ever-evolving workplace.

Deloitte’s insights paint a vivid picture of the evolving professional and technical skills landscape, not only in the information technology sector but in work overall. Thus, emphasizing the need for proactive talent development. By 2030, the global upskilling market is anticipated to soar to $370 billion. This rapid expansion directly responds to the escalating integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and associated technologies in the workplace.

Several key areas are projected to be at the forefront of the upskilling movement: data science, analytics, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. As the technological revolution accelerates, employers prioritizing their upskilling efforts will be better equipped to maintain a competitive edge. Not just corporations need to heed this call – governments worldwide must also frame supportive policies that catalyze upskilling and reskilling initiatives.

Yet, the road to creating a future-ready workforce has its obstacles. The financial implications and the challenge of pinpointing effective training avenues and potential employee apprehensions may prove daunting. A significant concern is the current scarcity of adept upskilling providers.

In the face of these complexities, Deloitte offers a beacon of guidance. To harness the full potential of the upskilling revolution, organizations should:

  • Acutely recognize the skills deficits within their ranks.
  • Strategically plan to bridge these identified chasms.
  • Allocate resources to high-impact training initiatives.
  • Foster a top-down emphasis on upskilling, ingraining its importance in the organizational ethos.
  • Cultivate an organizational culture rooted in perpetual learning.

The overarching message is unambiguous: upskilling programs are no longer a mere option but a quintessential strategy. As we stand on the cusp of this upskilling epoch, organizations that wholeheartedly embrace this imperative will thrive and lead the charge into a technologically augmented future.

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