Drawing the line between job security and job satisfaction is a challenge for employers and their employees. While companies want their workforce to always have a sense of fulfillment in their responsibilities, there is also a concern for employees to feel their expertise will always be needed. Companies that can find the balance between job security and job satisfaction don’t have much trouble preventing employees from leaving.  

But that is not the case for some, if not many, companies. Their employees seem to always see greener pastures elsewhere, thinking their efforts are valued in another job, or they can see themselves having more stable job opportunities out there. There are two ways companies can employ to stop this exodus: upskilling and reskilling. But is one better than the other?  

Let’s discuss what the difference between upskilling and reskilling is and how each can be used to battle the departure of employees as the phenomenon called The Great Reshuffle continues.  

Before The Great Reshuffle was The Great Resignation. 

While the pandemic has an undeniably massive effect on the job market, the post-pandemic era is still a time where many professionals are victims of the continuing loss of jobs. People are finding various reasons why they would rather quit their jobs: early retirement to care for their families, the need for higher pay due to a rise in living costs, and the refusal to go to work physically while COVID-19 is still out there. This particular surge was dubbed The Great Resignation, wherein since the spring of 2021, 33 million Americans have left their jobs

But beyond monetary and safety reasons, workers are now finding additional reasons why they are looking for other job opportunities. Employees are looking for a better work-life balance, mental health spaces in the workplace, and better opportunities in the form of career development and learning experiences. 

This is the Great Reshuffle. Professionals are searching for a means for them to thrive and feel their work will be in demand for the foreseeable future. At the same time, they want to feel they are taken care of while they do their work. Companies that are more aligned with their personal values have become more appealing to them. 

While better pay and benefits, improved work culture, and mental health awareness in the workplace are already non-negotiable, the lack of fulfillment in their current roles drives employees away. Also, with new skill demands in today’s workplace, when employees feel their skills and knowledge are threatened by new in-demand proficiencies, they might seek to gain such proficiencies elsewhere. This is where upskilling and reskilling come in. 

Upskilling and reskilling help employees find new meaning in the work they do. 

Upskilling is when workers are taught new skills. When emerging professional capabilities are finding their way into the modern job market, companies have to keep up by upskilling their current workforce. 

For example, in a hospital setting, more updated equipment comes in, and there is a particular need for a group of hospital professionals to learn how to use said equipment. There are also specific apps necessary to navigate the equipment’s functions. Chosen employees are to be upskilled so that they can use the new piece of equipment right away to speed up the workplace’s processes. 

Reskilling, on the other hand, is when employees are reviewed on who has “adjacent skills” to new demands of the market and are given learning opportunities often to take on new roles. These employees may be put in a new career development plan, as they have the base knowledge needed to be reskilled before their “adjacent” knowledge of the subject matter. 
For instance, engineers with a background in architecture may be selected to learn new apps to create blueprints. Aside from being trained to use said apps, these engineers have the opportunity to take on projects using their new app knowledge and even take the lead in said projects. 

Which will safeguard your company’s workforce for the future: upskilling or reskilling? 

In their basic sense, both upskilling and reskilling can safeguard your workforce’s future. While upskilling and reskilling sound almost the same, they contribute to a specific need of your company when it comes to workforce future-roofing.  

A constant review of workforce competencies, in general, gives a better perspective of your employees’ skills and how competent they are in the current market. Identifying what skills can be taught to them to improve efficiency in their current job roles leads to efforts to give upskill training to those who need it. 

In other words, upskilling can be utilized to empower all employees in a general sense by giving them the right skills that will make them at par with not only the modern professional but one who will be in demand in the not-so-distant future. 

Upskilling can be done in the workplace through the following: 

  • Professional development days. Think of a teambuilding day, but instead of games and parties, the event is laden with talks from resource persons who can elaborate on who the competitive professional is in today’s post-COVID society and what skills they have. These guest speakers can help introduce what these modern professional skills are, and employees can engage in group learning experiences that ultimately contribute to how to improve the work they do. 
  • Mentoring. Company leaders can talk to their employees periodically to check on their difficulties and if there is a gap in their current work skills. By keeping tabs on the employee’s experiences over a longer period, leaders can identify if current skills need to be updated. They can then be scheduled for additional training to improve their work knowledge and capabilities. Also, effective mentoring gives the employees confidence that they are being valued. 

On the other hand, reskilling is a means to evaluate employees’ capabilities and how they can be challenged to take on new roles and responsibilities. Through reskilling, you don’t only close the gap with necessary skills to be covered, but you also discover workers who have the potential to be part of management or at least take on more elevated and other highly specialized roles in the company. 

Reskilling can also be a solution to the following dilemmas: 

  • Employee excess can be rechanneled into productivity. Perhaps a department has to be closed, or demand for particular company products or services goes down. Evaluate the company’s skills gap, and offer these displaced employees if they are willing to take on new job placements. Emphasize that these are not mere roles but ones connected with emerging skills in the market that are or will soon be in demand.  
  • Use reskilling as a litmus test for leadership. The mark of a true leader is the willingness to learn. Compared to the training given to all employees, like on a professional development day, employees who say yes to reskilling have the makings of a leader. This is very helpful for future-proofing the company because when a new skill becomes in demand and new employees must be trained, you know whom to assign as a trainer and/or mentor. Reskilling can also be appropriate for employees considering moving up the corporate ladder. 

Let Agile Workplace Staffing help in closing the skills gap. 

When it comes to building bridges between companies and the skills they require, Agile Workplace Staffing is your go-to partner in rallying the best professionals in engineering, IT and technology, and life sciences. Our solution-based approach to building a workforce of diverse backgrounds has served a multitude of clients, and you can be our next success story. 

A future-proofed company has employees with current skills and has built life-long partnerships with them as they continue to progress in their own professional ways. Agile Workplace Staffing works well to preserve that relationship in bringing together great people with great companies. Contact us now to see if we can answer your concerns in future-proofing.