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The Importance of Upskilling as the UK Reopens

Before we get to the importance of upskilling, I thought it might be an idea to define the difference between upskilling and reskilling...

Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Importance of Upskilling as the UK Reopens Image

which is as follows, according to the Cambridge dictionary:

  • Upskilling is the process of learning new skills or of teaching workers new skills
  • Reskilling is the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job, or of training people to do a different job

Both are effective tactics for employers to tackle the skills gap that many businesses will identify as we move into a freer way of doing things, both in our business and personal lives. This blog concentrates on the more positive of the two actions which are upskilling, and the gaps identified are more than likely to involve technology.

As a successful digital marketing agency, you would expect us to focus on the way technology has helped businesses communicate with their customers, and sold to their customers during the last 16 months or so – but more of that later!

Technology can also play a massive part in making businesses more efficient and therefore positively affect the financial performance of a company. Investment in both is key to businesses growing in the post-pandemic world of commerce, and it is companies that view upskilling as an investment that will grow quicker and stronger.

A famous well-used quote often used and still true in the current climate is:

One day, the CFO goes to the CEO and says, “What’s the point of paying so much to train our employees if they are going to work for another company?”. The CEO says, “What happens if we don’t train them and they decide to stay?”

The implication being businesses will end up with second-rate employees not equipped to help the business grow in the longer term.

Whilst upskilling requires an investment in both time and money, there are no recruitment costs, and the new skills gained, remain a permanent fixture within the company, often leading to cost savings in the long run.

Another famous quote and from Richard Branson is:

This introduces the concept of upskilling adding value to both employees and the business. The more employees feel empowered and valued by a business the more they are likely to invest their time back into that company and go that little bit further for the business.

There will undoubtedly be a digital skills gap identified in many businesses, proficiency in technology is no longer just the remit of the IT department. Digital technology is now in every area of a business’s processes. Consequently, for businesses to thrive, they must have employees with the relevant knowledge and capability to help businesses move forward successfully, whichever department they happen to be working in.

Perhaps a massive overgeneralization, but it is probably the existing and older employees (who have the business expertise, experience, and knowledge). Whereas the younger, newer employees that have grown up with technology already have this ability. Upskilling narrows this gap and makes for more harmonious working.

You could argue that as technology has become more common in the workplace, our soft skills have suffered, there is no doubt 16 months of lockdown have also contributed to this as well. Employers should also be focusing on developing an employee’s soft skills. With businesses increasingly reliant on automation, key abilities such as communication, problem-solving, networking, and critical thinking will suffer.

Technology can only take a business so far. Employers that neglect upskilling interpersonal skills and analytical capabilities will often find themselves outdone by their competition.

Continued learning and development in the workplace have always been vital for businesses to grow and succeed. A workforce that does not move with the times will inevitably find itself lacking in the skills necessary to advance in the marketplace. In addition, technological advancements and the changing expectations of employees mean that a business that fails to implement an effective upskilling strategy will struggle to attract and retain top talent, dramatically falling behind its competition.

The most successful businesses continually evaluate future needs against current capabilities, developing training opportunities that ensure the continued development of employees as well as company growth.

Astute Media has a suite of training courses that will suit both the older and younger employees, designed to improve an employee’s digital marketing skills from whatever level they are at the moment. They can choose from the following:

  • Social media the basics
  • Getting started with digital advertising
  • Social media management tools
  • Content marketing training
  • Attract more customers through Google
  • Creating visual content effortlessly
  • Generating leads through LinkedIn