Upskilling vs. Reskilling: Which One Is Right for Your Organization?

The American workforce has evolved. What attracts professionals to one employer over another isn’t just a matter of salary potential anymore. Yes, pay is still at, or near, the top of most everyone’s list of priorities, but a greater variety of factors now play into every job candidate’s decision-making process.

And considering that 1.7 million healthcare professionals (almost 3% of the entire healthcare workforce each month) have quit their job this year, it’s safe to say there’s a lot more at play here than money on the table.

For instance, 80% of employees polled in a recent survey across multiple industries say they feel disrespected at work. As they start looking for other opportunities (which is inevitable) and weighing the pros and cons of potential employers, they’ll evaluate whether or not each organization will respect their time, input, and skill level. Other factors they’ll likely consider include the clear delineation of responsibilities, performance recognition, and mutual trust.

And while many of these points vary based on the job seeker’s personal circumstances and needs, one element always seems to persist: growth potential and ongoing training.

This may come as a surprise; but when some of the top-ranking companies in the world provide employees with 40 to 60 hours of training and education each year, it’s tough to argue otherwise. What’s more, 86% of employees — regardless of discipline — say this is important to them, and roughly 75% are willing to put in the effort outside of work hours to improve their job performance.

There’s no denying it — upskilling and reskilling are on the rise, and the success of your organization depends on your ability to provide these opportunities.

But what’s the difference between the two? And how do you pick what’s best for your team?

Let’s discuss.

Upskilling vs. Reskilling: What’s the Difference?

We’ve mentioned this before, but we think it bears repeating: According to the World Economic Forum, approximately 54% of workers will need to reskill or upskill in the next three years. Not only because learning something new or sharpening the proverbial tools in their belts is fun and exciting. But because it’s essential to their career growth.

A lot of that has to do with non-stop evolution and technological innovations, particularly in healthcare. The industry never sits still for long. Above all, you want to ensure your employees have the skills they need to stay relevant and be successful. Further, you need to understand that upskilling employees and reskilling employees are two very different ideas.

Upskilling: This is how healthcare workers expand their existing skill set and increase their value in the workforce. It keeps them relevant and employable for the long-term. Health systems profit, too. By making upskilling a regular part of their employees’ routines, they decrease turnover, increase employee engagement, and cut hiring costs.

Reskilling: Medical reskilling is the learning of completely new skills that often results in a career change. Folks who start out as administrative assistants and decide they want to pursue a career as a medical assistant, for example.

Choosing What’s Best for Your Organization

Gaining a competitive advantage is tough. You need to improvise and innovate while investing time and energy in the right initiatives. And that’s not just to attract more customers — it’s so you can attract the right level of talent, too. There’s a lot to consider here, of course. Financial stability, industry trends, and customer needs will all influence your approach to hiring.

But one of the easiest, most effective ways to stay competitive is upskilling and reskilling employees.

A report from Citrix found that 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors said it’s critical to reskill or upskill workers on a yearly basis if an organization hopes to maintain a high level of relevancy.

When we talk about relevancy, we’re talking about perception and the value of a good reputation, which can’t be dismissed. Patients, customers, consumers — whatever you might call them — are more informed and more aware than ever before. “Where will I get the best treatment or service?” is a question they’ll always ask themselves. And, the answer depends heavily on your organization’s ability to keep employees performing at high levels.

And here’s the thing: while upskilling and reskilling both have their own unique definitions, no organization should prioritize one over the other. They’re both equally important.

This means, you need to offer opportunities for additional education and certifications based on the specific needs of your organization as determined by a thorough skills gaps analysis.

What is a skills gaps analysis? It’s a tool that helps you measure short- and long-term business goals against the existing skill levels of employees throughout your organization. The results provide insightful, actionable data that will help you build a blueprint for the future.

Now let’s talk about budgets and bottom lines.

The surprising truth about the financial impact of formal learning and development policies is that upskilling and reskilling are far more cost-effective than juggling job vacancies and launching recruiting campaigns.

Research by Gallup found the cost of replacing an employee is between one-half to two times their annual salary. In contrast, the World Economic Forum estimated that reskilling employees can average around $24,000 per employee.

In other words, if it’s a lack of on-the-job training that’s driving your employees out the door. High (and 100% preventable) turnover rate is wreaking havoc on your bottom line.

So here’s how you repair a small chip that could eventually become a million-dollar crack in your company:

    1. Have regular, meaningful conversations with your employees.
    2. Listen. Then take the feedback you receive and develop a retention plan.
    3. Offer more ways to help individuals develop their skills and grow based on internal needs and objectives.

It’s an active approach to improving job satisfaction and retention. By placing a greater emphasis on the professional development of your people, you have a better chance of attracting top talent, keeping your stars, and maintaining a strong competitive advantage.

Want to learn more about how digital upskilling and reskilling solutions can add more value to your organization?

Visit www.carruslearn.com to schedule a free consultation.

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