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Why Upskilling Has Never Been More Important for Entrepreneurs


Paulo Guimarães

Why Upskilling Has Never Been More Important for Entrepreneurs

Our world is rapidly changing, and so is our approach to career paths. Earlier, we saw our first jobs as a destination that one had to work hard enough to enter into, and that was it. A degree or two was all you needed to secure a somewhat stable job; there wasn’t necessarily any significant growth from there. Yes, there were promotions based on performance reviews, but these lacked true transformation. Nowadays, everything works at lightning speed, and multiple degrees have become the norm. There’s a constant demand for new skills and everyone wants to keep up and get better at what they do by the minute. It is in this context that the concept of “upskilling” entered in vogue.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is the process of equipping your employees or yourself with the additional skills required to keep up with ongoing developments. This may be done, for instance, via knowledge enhancing workshops and certificate degrees. Reskilling, on the other hand, focuses on the acquisition of skills required to do a (possibly entirely) different job.

It can be seen as getting better prepared to adapt to the urgency of a fast-paced world. Upskilling can greatly contribute to the prevention of the decline of organizations with a large number of employees with only one skill set. In many cases, it helps to provide further perspective to organizations. Entrepreneurs, in particular, have seen themselves hardpressed to revamp their business from time to time by empowering themselves with multiple skill sets.

Why is Upskilling Important?

Hiring a new employee is exponentially more expensive than improving or adapting the skills of your current ones. It is no surprise then that 44% of employers believe employees will need significant training on new skills required to fulfill their current roles in the next ten years according to the Global Employer survey by Pearson.

Job roles aren’t solidified; they keep changing with time and performance. Upskilling helps in filling these gaps between different functions. It should be added in this setting that upskilling is also linked to satisfaction, morale, and motivation boost of current employees (see this article by The Aspen Institute). There’s no surprise here considering that Gallup has found that, 87% of millennials look for professional development and career growth opportunities in their jobs.

In today’s world of hustle culture, productivity mantras, and digital transformations, entrepreneurs have to run even faster to remain in the race. This upskilling process makes employees and entrepreneurs indulge in a growth-mindset. Learning new skills also ensures better pay, which in turn often guarantees better mental health and productivity at work.

How Can Entrepreneurs Develop an Effective Strategy for Upskilling?

There are many ways in which entrepreneurs can upskill their workspace. Some people approach their local training providers; some people pick workshops in the workspace, and others are more self-reliant, and they decide to learn on their own.

Identify the Skill Gaps & Think Ahead

The first step to upskill is to figure out where exactly is lacking. Setting up future goals, keeping updated with work trends, and measuring the current skills, is of course, essential. The focus should never be on short-term improvements. Resilience helps save time and money and benefits employees’ and organizations’ overall growth.

Personalize Employee and Business Goals

Every employee, entrepreneur, and business is different. Everyone has different needs that need to be responded to differently. Finding upskilling ways which suit different employees in a personalized manner should be the goal of the organization. When employees’ schedules and plans match with that of the company and its upcoming venture, healthy growth is further pushed forward.

Tailor Upskilling Strategies

As mentioned earlier, every person chooses to learn differently. Letting them choose their way of improving their skill-set is the best way. Tailoring every employee upskilling route to match organizational goals as well as individual ambitions is key.

Offer Incentives to Upskilling Employees

Incentives can work very well as positive reinforcers. Giving your employee a boost in pay or extra vacation days may help speed up the process of upskilling. Everyone enjoys perks, and people like to work towards something, so goal-setting incentives and personal growth usually go hand in hand.

Entrepreneurs are directly in touch with the highs and lows that spark from their initiatives. This applies to both potential self-improvements as well as an organizational downfall. There are no two ways about it when it comes to extraordinarily competitive environments.

Employees must realize how important it is that their interests align with their organization. Honest and direct communication can do wonders. As Henry Ford once eloquently said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

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