Why upskilling is important for a more productive future of work?

19-03-2024 | 8 min read | Careers, TJC Group Corporate

Learning and upgrading oneself with new skills remains one of the most effective ways to future-proof against workforce disruptions and technologies like automation. If we state reports, nearly 40% of the workforce fear that certain jobs will become obsolete in the next five years. Although that may not be the case, upskilling for the future and more productivity is necessary.

As a matter of fact, the World Economic Forum suggested that upgrading skills, especially post-COVID economic recovery is extremely crucial. Why? Well for starters, it could boost the global GDP by over USD 6 trillion while creating approximately 5.3 million new jobs by 2030

All the fuss around artificial intelligence and automation taking over our jobs indicates a clear-cut message – the workplace is ever-evolving, and with this, our skills must evolve too. 

Upskilling is important for career growth

At its core, we can say that upskilling refers to learning new skills and knowledge that help you perform better at your current roles while being equipped with the expertise needed to advance in your career. 

As per experts, the main objective of upgrading your skills isn’t only to be an effective employee but also to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. Upgrading skills also contributes to more recognition, raises, and more. According to Linda Cai, Vice President of Talent Development at LinkedIn, she says that “the skills required to complete a work today are changing fast. Even if you are not switching jobs, they are rather changing you”. According to the latest data shown by LinkedIn, ever since 2015, skillsets for jobs have changed by approximately 25%; by 2027, the number is expected to double. 

The same data states that “skills like digital communication have become quintessential across several sectors; however, even then, skillsets within the same vertical will continue to evolve”. Upskilling can include both hard and soft skills; hard skills comprise learning how to learn certain software, basic graphic designs, etc., while soft skills can be honing your listening skills, improving your communication skills, learning to give constructive feedback, and so on. 

Many people often consider upskilling and reskilling to be the same thing; however, there is a stark difference between them. While both involve learning new skills, the end goals here are different. 

Reskilling is where you learn an entirely new set of skills for a whole different career. It is a tad bit more complex than upgrading your skills as pre-existing skills to build your foundation for that career path may not be present. Additionally, you may also require formal education in case of reskilling for a career change. 

Upskilling, on the other hand, helps you progress in your current career/role. It unlocks opportunities within your role and organisation, thereby allowing you to excel. 

Keep in mind that whether you want to reskill or upskill depends entirely on whether you want to change your career path or continue within your current one. 

If today’s digital age has taught us anything, it’s the rapidly changing working landscape. Gone are the days when marketers or salespeople had to go door to door to market or sell their products. Today, a simple call or an email suffices. Consequently, with automation and artificial intelligence tools assisting us, upskilling is now more important than ever. 

Having said that, one core reason why you must upskill is – YOU, YOURSELF. It enables you to be more efficient, effective, and motivated in your job. Additionally, opting to have skills upgraded also makes you a valuable asset to your organisation, possibly paving the way for better opportunities. Simply put, upskilling can be considered an investment in your career offering tangible benefits for a productive future. 

One of the most sought-after ways to upgrade your skills is to begin with learning and development opportunities. LinkedIn, HubSpot, Google, Coursera, Udemy – the list is endless, and so are the courses they offer. Often people have the misconception that they have to spend a lot of money to upgrade their skills. As a matter of fact, few courses may be paid, but the fees are minimum; so, you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to upskill yourself. Having said that, you can also find many free courses or even webinars on the aforementioned platforms as well as on several other learning portals. Learning and development opportunities also include in-person courses, workshops, and conferences. 

A few of our team members Pranav Lahade, Group Marketing Manager, upskills himself through several online courses; a concrete example being his course on Product Marketing. Similarly, several other employees from the B2G team regularly upskill themselves through these learning and development opportunities.

Renowned author and entrepreneur Bo Sanchez says, “Getting a mentor is a shortcut to success”, and he is right! We often avoid or hesitate to ask our seniors or peers at the workplace to help with our doubts or learn new skills. It is not that we cannot, but at times, we might feel superior to ask our peers or inferior to ask our seniors. But if you want to upskill, you must shake these feelings off and be open to learning – no matter who the person is! Coaching and mentoring from your peers at the workplace also help you network, build connections and confidence, and more. 

As a matter of fact, at TJC Group, we have a mentoring program in place. The mentor, or buddy, helps their assignees with not just with learning and development, but also with settling down within the company. It goes on for about 3-5 months or as long as their assignees are comfortable with the training sessions, company culture, and so on.

Peer mentoring and coaching is an effective method

As mentioned before, in-person meetings, workshops, and conferences are yet another great way to explore learning and development opportunities. Not just learning, but such workshops and conferences are an excellent way to expand your network. The more you network, the more you learn. 

Additionally, if you are looking for virtual or online workshops or conferences, you have a sea of options available to you. Many organisations, as a matter of fact, offer educational materials and resources like e-books, audio and video guides, etc., that you can avail free of charge by just subscribing to their Newsletter or so. 

One of our team members, Laura Parri Royo, Marketing Director, was a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing from London and attended various webinars and face-to-face events that helped her upskill in the area of her expertise from time to time.

Possibly one of the best tactics to challenge yourself for upskilling is by taking on a project or task that requires knowledge and skills beyond your current level. All you have to do is ask your team lead or manager to involve you in projects with other teams. And while you may not be actually contributing anything to them, you will be learning and gaining knowledge from their expertise. You can consider yourself as an intern in the team! It also shows that you are keen and passionate about learning and enhancing your skills. 

I, as a Senior Content Writer for TJC Group, upskill my expertise on content through several videos from LinkedIn Learning, HubSpot Academy, etc., wherein I have to undertake assignments or tests that challenge me as a writer and marketer, further strengthening my knowledge.

Upskilling is a part of the TJC Group’s training program. Here’s what our HR manager, Renuka Sharma, has to say –

Being an IT product-based company, there is always a high demand for multi-skilled resources within various product development teams from time to time. For instance, the DVA team majorly requires a combination of SAP UI5, MTA BTP, and NodeJS skill sets. Ideally, the experience requires a full-stack developer who worked on the development of a product from scratch using UI5 at the front end and NodeJS at the backend along with some ABAP debugging. As such resources are unlikely to be easily available in the market, we train our current junior SAP UI5 developers on NodeJS skills to prepare them to work on our ongoing projects. Thereby, helping them upskill in their area of work, adding more expertise to their career. 

Upskilling is a great tool at TJC Group for utilising the available resources to make them more efficient and productive. Quite often, after the completion of the projects, the resources with more bandwidths are engaged in learning other software technologies – an example of which would be our ILM team. We provided the archiving consultants with ABAP training so that they could extend their contribution to decommissioning projects too. 

team collaboration

From an HR or rather management point of view, I would say that upskilling is also a modem to reduce the cost of new hiring when the current resources are upskilled with the expected skills that are in demand within the team. Stating another instance of upskilling in TJC Group – we had a cloud engineer who was also trained in DevOps later since we needed a senior DevOps Engineer to maintain the CI/CD pipeline in the ELSA team. He was offered a raise in his package to perform the dual job role of a DevOps & Cloud Engineer. This helped in creating learning opportunities for our Cloud Engineer to achieve his career growth to become a Cloud Architect one day.

There was a time when B2G was new to TJC Group. Our team member Patchanok worked on the requirements of the Sales team, before beginning to start working on a B2G project. Upskilling boosted her knowledge and confidence to accept the new areas of TJC Group’s solutions toward tax & audit readiness

Implementing a successful strategy for upskilling is not just the responsibility of the employee; employers must equally ensure that they are contributing to their employees’ skill enhancements. After all, it is a two-way street. While TJC Group takes pride in assisting its employees to upskill for a more productive future, here are some common strategies that you can follow for upskilling your workforce –

  • Identify key skill gaps and tend to those
  • Create a personalised learning plan for your employees based on their current skill sets. 
  • Give your employees the freedom and time to upskill themselves. Book their calendars for learning and development.
  • Encourage team learning, where each of them can gain knowledge from one another. 
  • Leverage online courses and content and invest in them for your employees willing to upskill.
  • Reward and recognise the employees who have upskilled themselves in their area of work. It boosts their confidence and morale while motivating others to upskill themselves. 

Stay tuned with us for more such interesting reads about upskilling, work-life balance, and more!