Upskilling: What it is, and why you need to do it.

If you’re even mildly involved in a post-pandemic job search, you’ve heard a new buzzword floating around: upskilling. We’re here to tell you a little more about a) what it is, and b) why you’re missing out if you don’t try it.


What exactly is “upskilling”?


Unlike its buzzword cousin, “reskilling,” which means learning new skills to replace existing skills which are no longer relevant, “upskilling” involves something far more exciting: acquiring new skills that complement your current skillset. An expert becoming a course author by expanding their knowledge of e-learning, or a marketer expanding their knowledge of graphic design to improve their data presentation are both examples of upskilling. 


Upskilling can bring exceptional value to your career in many ways. Let’s talk about why and how you need to consider it.



  Why should you give upskilling a try?


To get a raise

Self-initiated skill advancement indicates to management that you are a motivated and action-based team member, interested in growing personally and professionally. In their eyes, you become even more of a valuable asset, someone who fits their current role but also a person who will continue to push themselves and their colleagues to stay current and innovative at the company. 


This builds a foundation upon which to justify additional monetary compensation. A raise is appropriate for someone who is showing initiative and is an engaged and curious employee investing in their own professional development. 


To keep yourself engaged at work.

We all experience a slight decline in interest as time goes on in a position, and things continue to just feel… same old, same old. What better way to reactivate the part of you that once thrived on curiosity, and quench your thirst for knowledge, than by directing your own path to learning more? 


At this point, employers know the impact disengagement can have on their bottom line - a Gallup poll stated that actively disengaged employees cost U.S. companies between $450 – $550 billion in lost productivity per year. They know it’s appealing to current employees to invest in their development - a 2018 LinkedIn Learning survey showed that 94% of employees would remain at their career longer if that was the case. A good company will see the benefit to themselves as well as to you if you propose some professional development.


To prepare for your next job

Don’t wait for the free time unemployment brings to evaluate your next career move - take advantage of a steady paycheck and add some skills to your resume that apply to your current and future role while still employed. Then when it comes time to move on, you’ve already spent plenty of time thinking forward, expanding your skillset and anticipating industry changes. Have a next job in mind? Even better - see if you can fill in some potential gaps in your talent by upskilling now.


How to upskill 


There are two easy ways to work upselling into your current work hours. 1) take on projects that are slightly out of your skill level or give you a reason to learn something new, and 2) take your existing projects and look for ways to step outside of standard expectations. As an example, if you’re any type of experienced creative, can you learn a bit about a new Data Analytics platform while working on an existing project, in order to better understand and present information? It may seem intuitive to slowly add skills like this, but actively making an effort can clarify your goal and speed up the process. Be sure to time your efforts right. Avoid fitting this during a busy period, and if you’re really pressed for time, consider the benefit of upskilling during the occasional lunch break.


To learn more about a specific skill, you don’t need to take an expensive, long-term class. Take advantage of the abundance of free and low-cost courses, lessons, and tutorials available on websites like YouTube, Skillshare, or even Google. Grow with Google is a really approachable option - it provides training and tools for all kinds of professional growth, from free courses on Google tools like Analytics and Ads, to online certificate programs that are self-paced subscription-based.


Making an effort to incorporate upskilling into your work demonstrates initiative and curiosity and is mutually beneficial to your employer. There are plenty of convenient and easy options at your disposal, and the benefits can be rewarding. What are you waiting for?

Posted: 5/22/2024 11:36:19 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments
Filed under: employee skills, job skills, skills, upskill