It’s vital that your L&D platform and learning strategy can support your strategy for upskilling and reskilling - but what are the key benefits you should expect to see? Rhys Giles talks about the latest skills ebook from Fuse.
In this Q&A, I speak to Rhys about the events and requirements that led to his team creating the new ebook, and the benefits Fuse customers are seeing as they use our platform to manage their upskilling and reskilling strategy. Most notedly, Rhys talks to us about the importance of knowledge in the flow of work, and how powerful it is in accelerating both reskilling and upskilling.
Q: Thanks for joining us today Rhys. What compelled Fuse to write the new ebook - are upskilling and reskilling the new post-pandemic buzzwords?
A: At Fuse, we talk a lot about learning in the flow of work, and we pride ourselves in our platform leading with knowledge - because it’s knowledge, after all, that employees really need on a day-to-day or even hour-to-hour basis to do their jobs and propel company performance. Our purpose is to keep people focused on the thing that matters most - solving a problem by finding the right answer, at the right time.
However, more and more, customers and prospective customers ask us about our stance on skills, and this isn’t really that surprising given the amount we hear today about the importance of reskilling and upskilling.
Our view is this: to be really successful in their roles, people need a balance of knowledge, skills and experience - we talk about this early on in the new ebook. In order to create skills, people need to continually put knowledge into practice, at the same time receiving expert feedback, coaching and mentoring.
Far from buzzwords, reskilling and upskilling are two different L&D pathways that employees must take at different times in their careers, and our platform is designed to handle both.
Q: Hit us with your definitions: what’s reskilling, and what’s upskilling as they relate to L&D?
A: These definitions get a lot of context in the new ebook, but I’ll give you my simplified versions here:
Reskilling gets people to competence. It’s about creating foundational knowledge.
Upskilling gets people to expertise. It’s about gaining experience and improving over time.
Q: So what comes first - reskilling or upskilling? What should L&D managers be pushing in terms of one versus the other?
A: It’s important to note that as key business practices, reskilling and upskilling are mutually supportive. There’s no chicken and egg when it comes to reskilling and upskilling in L&D. If your team needs an entirely new skill to take on a new line of business or to transition to new roles that better support your future roadmap, reskilling is the way forward. Fuse, as well as other forms of formal training can help in this respect.
Upskilling on the other hand is a solution to a common business problem that is focused on closing the gap between where you are, and where you need to be to improve business performance today. Upskilling never ends: it’s a continual process required of any employee who wants to contribute to company performance. If you aren’t upskilling, your skills will quickly become out of date.
The reality is that companies need to be able to do both, and your learning platform needs to act as a foundation and help drive all upskilling and reskilling efforts.
Q: In the new ebook, there’s a lot of material surrounding the importance of ‘knowledge on the job’ to support both reskilling or upskilling. What does this mean?
A: Fuse is mainly focused on providing knowledge in the flow of work versus long courses where people may forget a fair bit of what they learn. People can use Fuse to upskill and reskill on the job and apply what they learn, which is the best way to practice and retain knowledge.
It’s what we call a performance-first approach, and the purpose is to keep people focused on the thing that matters most - solving a problem by finding the right answer, at the right time.
Q: According to LinkedIn’s 5th Annual Workplace Learning Report, 59% of learning leaders place upskilling and reskilling at the top of their priorities, up from only 15% who said the same the year before. What’s happening when it comes to skills?
A: For some time now, there’s been trepidation about whether we have the skills to own and shape the future of work. Before the pandemic, the big worry may have been as to whether our skills would be made redundant by robots, or whether the digital skills divide was too vast for businesses to capitalise on data or the efficiencies of the cloud fast enough to compete.
But now that that rug has been pulled out from under everyone with the pandemic, I think that businesses are realising just how agile and proactive they need to be. With the Great Resignation upon us, hiring has become incredibly competitive, and businesses see the logic in ensuring their people can be reskilled to meet new business roadmap goals, and upskilled to stay on top of company performance.
With employee retention so critical during a time where up to 50% of workers want to make a career change, upskilling in particular is now more important than ever. In upskilling, you have people performing at their best, and you also have them feeling engaged and getting the training they need to stay relevant in the market. It’s a win-win.
A platform that does upskilling well, like Fuse, will do two things. It should help the majority of people to reach a high-performance level, and it should be able to prove it with business results.