How to upskill yourself, acquire more skills and advance your career
Learning and developing skills to improve your professional performance is one of the best strategies to face an accelerated global transformation.
MEXICO CITY. Learning and developing soft and technical skills -processes known as upskilling and reskilling- has gained momentum amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which hasn’t only accelerated technology and digitization in companies, but also transformed business models and made the workforce rethink the way they want to work.
While upskilling refers to new soft or life skills to improve performance within the same job position, reskilling is about training new hard or technical competencies for a new position. In short, reskilling, also known as professional recycling, creates more versatile employees, while upskilling generates more specialized ones.
Both intentional learning processes have been essential during the pandemic. In the first stages of the crisis, having up-to-date employees was a survival strategy for companies. Now, two years after the appearance of the virus, it’s also a win-win channel to grow engagement and motivation in employees, as researchers Susan R. Roman and Tiffany Danke point out on the Harvard Business Review website.
However, before the appearance of the virus, both processes were a crucial matter globally. In 2020 was estimated that, if from that point on investment in upskilling was made on a large scale, 6.5 billion dollars could be added to the gross domestic product in 2030, according to a study by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with PwC.
Therefore, upskilling should be one of the main strategies for companies, even governments, but also individually. If you’ve set a goal to acquire new skills to improve your performance in your same job position, here are some steps to follow to be successful, based on the eBook ‘Upskilling and Reskilling’, written in 2021 by PagePersonnel.
STEP 1. The interest and ability to learn and develop yourself
It would seem like an easy thing to do, but it’s important to identify your true interests, or else, you risk quitting halfway.
STEP 2. Identify the skills you need
This also looks simple, but you will have to identify what professional moment you are at, what opportunities are possible at the moment and in the future, and know where you want to go and what skills you need to get there.
STEP 3. Mind your time availability
Calculate how much time you’d need to put in every day for upskilling, as well as how much time the process will take. Then, and this is important, analyze how much time you have available. The goal is to fit both things together: the time you need and the time you really have. If it’s your company that’s offering the training, both you and the organization must understand that you will have less time for your current responsibilities. If your tasks overwhelm you, it will be hard to incorporate new skills and roles.
STEP 4. Self-evaluate
Once your learning and development cycle is over, do a self-evaluation. Find out if you reached your goals and time limits. If it’s your company who’s providing the training program, it must evaluate alongside you how successful the plan was and if it could be done in a different, more useful way.
STEP 5. Become a mentor
Becoming a mentor to someone is beneficial in two ways: you get to practice what you’ve learned and you gain motivation. Once again, if it’s your company that’s providing the training, this type of mentorship will offer an additional benefit, which is having a more prepared team.
BONUS: 3 methods to upskill yourself
In its eBook, PagePersonnel suggests different upskilling methods; here are three of them. You could apply them individually or for your work team and they aren’t mutually exclusive.
a) Seminars, programs, and workshops. These are the most common when it comes to training since they’re the best to acquire new skills or to boost the ones you already have. “It’s a great method to keep companies up-to-date, it’s simple to do, and it’s super versatile.”
b) Mentoring. An employee or senior colleague acts as your mentor. This could be an inexpensive option, both on an individual and organizational level.
c) Staff development programs. These also apply to organizations, and come from internal talent. These plans must be carefully thought-out and executed to be effective, so they’re not immediate; they could take six months, a year, and so on.