Let’s first understand the difference between “up-skilling and re-skilling”. Up-skilling is linear, where we identify existing skills and improve on them. An IT technician, for example, can be up-skilled to become a network specialist. Now, re-skilling prepares employees to move laterally or into newly created positions. An IT technician, for example, could be taught programming and eventually move into a server management role. Up-skilling focuses on adding to an existing skill set while re-skilling teaches a person to do a new job entirely.

Start Up-skilling and Re-skilling Your Staff

  1. Make sure you understand your company’s strategy and develop a learning and development strategy for your staff aimed at achieving those same goals.
  2. Make sure that you select programmes that staff are able to attend without negatively affecting their job. Look at when and where they will need to attend courses and if online or face-to-face training options work better.
  3. Support your staff when you introduce training in your organisation. Keep up the support mechanisms throughout the process (before, during, and thereafter).
  4. Create opportunities for recognition or benefit if they excel and achieve the outcomes you set.

Once you have institutionalised training and continuous learning in your organisation, you will be helping your staff grow and you will all work towards a common goal. While doing so, you close the skills gaps which may have been critical to the organisation and hence your organisation will function and perform better.

Here are 5 tips to think about when up-skilling or re-skilling staff

  1. Create bite-sized pieces of training. There is nothing more rewarding to a staff member than being able to feel the impact of the learning straight after they have completed it. When staff members are under pressure to perform on their job, the bite-size training programmes will alleviate their anxieties about leaving their work to attend a course.
  2. Allocate a mentor to a staff member. Internationally, mentoring is becoming more important and there is good research to show how effective it is. Allow a more experienced staff member to mentor a staff member who can assist them with perceived challenges and highlight the benefits of skills training.
  3. Encourage life-long learning. This could include staff participating in programmes of their choice (i.e. It does not have to always be “paid for” interventions). Free online courses are available on the Internet and on a variety of topics. Encourage reading and research.
  4. Where possible, customise your courses to make them appropriate to your organisation.
  5. Acknowledge and recognise successes whether it is in forums where achievements are rewarded or public announcements.

Where to start

  1. During your Performance Reviews, determine what the specific skills gaps are. By understanding the company goals, you can visualise the long-term plans. You can then compare the existing skill set of the individual and determine a learning pathway to achieve business goals.
  2. Ask the staff. Use forums, discussions, or surveys in-house to determine training needs.
  3. Analyse what skill sets you have in the organisation and more importantly the experience. Work out who will be retiring and when. How long will you have those experienced staff members. That will provide you with critical timelines for up-skilling and re-skilling.
  4. Make sure the training department is agile. Rethinking, reshaping, and reorganising where necessary to achieve the company’s goals is vital.
  5. Motivate employees by facilitating and helping them track their progress.

The courses offered at VeryCoolIdeas will help you maximise the up-skilling and re-skilling processes you need to achieve your company’s goals. Whether you need formal qualifications or those all-important bite-size training programmes (online or face-to-face), we can assist you. Contact us now: support@verycoolideas.co.za