Do you remember transitioning from school to work? Were you prepared with the skills to write a resume and discuss your strengths and weaknesses in an interview? Did you know how to prioritize your commitments and deliver as expected of you? Work and school environments do not parallel each other and a phase of adapting is often necessary. Still, once you have a job, you can relax. Or can you?

Industries have changed, jobs have changed, workplace collaboration and innovation has changed.

Have you given any thought to the skills you need to upskill and re-skill on? Now is the time to take an accurate assessment of what worked well in the past, and what will help you be more effective as a leader in the future.

Regardless of whether you are an entry-level employee or seasoned professional, you might want to familiarize yourself with reskilling and upskilling.

Upskilling is the process of upgrading the skills of an employee working at a particular job. The initiation for upskilling may originate with the employee or the employee. An employer might require additional on-the-job training and provide it (or reimburse employees for training elsewhere), or an employee might anticipate the increasing need for a particular skill within the workplace and take it upon herself to advance such skills.

Reskilling is recognizing or consciously obtaining new skills in preparation for a new type of work or a changing workforce. Reskilling is advancing skills to maintain relevance. Plain and simple.

HR technologist states, “It is a common misconception that training is limited only to the early years of one’s career and that other skills can be picked up on the job…By 2020 approximately 80% of all job roles will require digital competencies–yet only a fraction of the current workforce is currently digitally native.” It’s not only technology in demand. The author continues to insist that “soft skills”–namely creativity–are also in high demand.

This means that employees are and will continue to be expected to demonstrate knowledgeability in technology and creative thinking. What a combination! In my work, I can tell you for sure that logical thinking and creative thinking don’t normally go hand in hand. Is this an impossible goal to reach? I don’t think so. The key is diversifying your teams so that you have the total sum of skills needed to remain competitive and productive. Cross-cultural communication, varied experience, and innovation are valued along with advanced digital literacy.

With upskilling and reskilling in mind, it is advantageous for employees to think experientially–about travel for example. I recently traveled to the Middle East and West Africa. Simply the act of travel if you do it with an open mind requires you to expand your thinking about the way things are typically and normally done. You naturally get exposed to new ideas and ways of being if your mind is primed for this type of experience.

If you can, travel with a purpose and step outside of the comfort box.

Monique Russell


So let’s hear it. Have you implemented upskilling or reskilling in your profession?

Need someone to help you think this through? Contact me for training workshops or keynote speaking.