Upskilling and Reskilling for the Future World of Work

The rapid pace of technological advancement, globalisation, and changing market dynamics are reshaping the world of work and the skills needed to remain relevant. What’s the most important skill right now? The ability and willingness to adapt to changing rules. This includes the ability to think differently, to do differently and to connect and engage with others differently.

Employees and businesses have a role to play

The experts suggest that the key to individual success will be continuous learning and adaptability, while leveraging the power of technology and AI to augment skills and capabilities in virtually every job role.

To stay competitive, businesses need workforces that are dynamic, resilient and equipped with future-fit skills. Reskilling and upskilling your people, while fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning, is the difference between business survival and obsoletion.

Anyone remember Kodak, Blackberry, Nokia or Blockbusters? They were big – in the 2000s.

When you look at the rapid pace of change and monumental shifts in industries, you’ll understand how critical it is to have an upskilling and reskilling strategy for your employees – that is, if you’re serious about business competitiveness and innovation.

For example, predictive analytics is used in finance, healthcare, and marketing to anticipate trends and behaviours, which means human beings must understand data science and analytics tools. Logistics and procurement professionals must learn how to implement and use blockchain solutions. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are changing the nature of training across industries, from medical simulations to manufacturing processes, which demands completely new skills from training providers and developers. Biotechnology is improving crop yields and resistance – so different  biotech applications and abilities are needed in agriculture.

Planning your upskilling and reskilling strategy

Given the rapid pace of change and the consequent need for reskilling employees, we at SA Business School believe that a commitment to continuous learning is a key performance indicator. Here’s some guidance on how to approach your reskilling/upskilling strategy as a continuum, rather than as a once off-event:

1. Assess Skills Gaps: Work with your L&D training provider to conduct skills audits and gap analyses. These will help you to identify current and future skills in the context of your organisation’s strategic goals. A data-driven approach is useful because it yields L&D initiatives that support growth and success for both your business and your people.

2. Develop Tailored Programmes: Based on the skills gaps you identify, create customised training modules that address the specific needs of employees and the business. This could include technical training, soft skills development or leadership training. Collaborate with accredited learning and development specialists to ensure quality, relevance and alignment of with business objectives and individual career ambitions.

As your workforce develops and grows, and your people need to diversify their skill sets, skills programmes become invaluable tools in providing short, focused learning interventions to close identified skills gaps. For example, you might offer finance for non-finance managers, customer service, conflict management, change management, team management, or ethics training.

SA Business School is currently seeing significant demand for programmes that develop power skills such as resilience, adaptability, creativity, collaboration and problem-solving. Because they enable people to navigate the complex work environment, these skills are becoming more and more important as our world becomes increasingly tech-driven.

3. Encourage Continuous Learning: Promote a culture of ongoing improvement by supporting employees in pursuing formal and informal education, professional development and training. A robust and flexible learning culture also helps employer brands to attract and retain top talent.

4. Commit to Mentorship: Pair employees with mentors, coaches or guides who can provide direction and share expertise. Establish internal programmes to help employees to transition into new roles – and you’ll build their confidence as they take on new challenges.

5. Leverage Technology: Use e-learning platforms and blended learning models to create interactive and flexible learning experiences. Blended learning methods like online modules, webinars, Augmented Reality and video tutorials can overcome geographical barriers, allowing companies to train employees across diverse locations, time zones and work schedules.

It’s also important to allay employee fears about technology. While AI will make some jobs redundant, employees have an opportunity to acquire new and essential skills that are unlikely to be replaced by AI anytime soon. However, those humans who refuse to embrace and leverage tech may very well be replaced by another human who leans in.    

6. Create Career Pathways: Develop clear pathways that outline the progression from current roles to new or advanced positions. Communicate these pathways to employees and offer the necessary support and resources to help them navigate the journey. By designing people-centric L&D solutions that cater for individual preferences, motivations and goals, you empower employees with choice, autonomy and feedback that boosts engagement and impact.

7. Return to Step 1: Assess Skill Gaps

Your L&D strategy should help your organisation to cultivate a space where everyone is enthusiastic about continuous development and learning; where every employee has the opportunity to realise their full potential and your workforce is prepared for the future. Enhancing the skills and capabilities of your workforce is a springboard to increased innovation, productivity and competitiveness in an ever-evolving market.

By the way

SA Business School works with organisations to build bespoke learning and development solutions that meet the specific needs of each business and its people. We consider human capital, capacities and budget allocations – laying powerful foundations for your people to fill meaningful, sustainable, future-fit roles.

Scroll to Top