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The importance of upskilling and reskilling your employees

• 7 min read

Upskilling and reskilling your employees


Staying competitive in today’s business world requires keeping your employees’ skills current. But why are upskilling and reskilling so critical and how can they benefit your business? 

In this article, you’ll explore the importance and benefits of investing in employee development and learn practical strategies for approaching upskilling and reskilling. Whether you’re an HR manager, learning and development professional, or team lead, you’ll gain valuable insights related to unlocking your workforce’s full potential, achieving business objectives, and setting yourself up for future success.

What are the key benefits of upskilling and reskilling?

Investing in upskilling and reskilling can bring significant benefits to your business. Upskilling is the development of new skills related to a person’s current role while reskilling is the development of new skills that allow a person to take on a new role. Providing employees with opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills enhances their performance, increases job satisfaction, and ultimately drives your organization’s success.

Let’s explore the top four benefits of upskilling and reskilling:

Benefit #1: Improved talent retention

Upskilling and reskilling initiatives help employees see a clear career path within the organization and their current role, increasing motivation to stay long-term. Investing in employee development provides your team with the skills and knowledge they need to advance in their careers, which also helps improve employee retention. 

According to the Execu|Search Group report, 84% of all employees say they’d change their job if another company offered more professional development opportunities. Employees who feel valued and invested are more likely to stay with their organization. Upskilling and reskilling are ways to let employees know you care about their future career development and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement, which can help you remain competitive in the long run. 

Benefit #2: Reduced recruitment and training costs

Recruiting and training new employees can be a significant expense for organizations. Upskilling and reskilling initiatives help fill skill gaps within the existing workforce, reducing the need to recruit externally. By developing existing employees’ skills, you can avoid the need to recruit new talent, which can be costly and time-consuming. 

Additionally, investing in employee development improves employee performance and engagement, creating a more efficient and effective workforce that requires less training overall, which can be particularly valuable for small and medium-sized businesses. Not to mention all the time and money you will save by having more knowledgeable employees who don’t waste time or make as many workplace mistakes. 

Benefit #3: Improved brand reputation

Demonstrating a commitment to employee development shows that you value your employees and are invested in their success, which can be an attractive proposition for potential hires. 

Remember the previous statistic…most employees would leave their current job for more development opportunities. Investing in employee development can improve productivity and ultimately lead to better customer experiences. This, in turn, can enhance brand reputation and attract and retain top talent, creating a virtuous cycle of success.  

Benefit #4: Reduced skill gaps

As industries and technologies evolve, skill gaps will emerge within your workforce, potentially leading to reduced productivity and project delays. Pursuing upskilling and reskilling initiatives helps bridge these gaps, ensuring your employees have the necessary skills to meet business demands.

When employees have opportunities for learning and development, you can perform skills gap analysis within the workforce, improving overall productivity and efficiency. Additionally, upskilling and reskilling can create a more agile and adaptable workforce capable of responding quickly to changes in the business landscape.

These are the key benefits of upskilling and reskilling, but there’s more you should know. The next section delves deeper into the importance of these advantages.

The importance of upskilling and reskilling your employees

How do you continue striving toward success in the post-pandemic world of hiring freezes and layoffs?

One of the most effective ways for an employee to obtain seniority or job security at a company is to seek out new skills, bridge any skills gaps, and look for opportunities to add value to the business. By upskilling and reskilling your workforce, your teams can maximize their potential in their current position or take on new tasks where the business needs support.

So, investing in these initiatives has a dual benefit—you can navigate an unstable business environment while giving your employees the tools and opportunities they need to grow. Not to mention, you’re also boosting employee retention

The skill sets needed for jobs that are yet to be filled may already live in your current workforce or just need some adaptability skills development to get there. Ideally, you want your team to be able to wear multiple hats if necessary. For example, suppose you’re on a hiring freeze but still need business development reps. What’s to stop you from transitioning your junior recruiters to business development for now? It requires some retraining and peer-to-peer coaching, but you can reassign talent to new positions to suit the business’s needs.

Companies survive difficult times like the recent tech layoffs with a flexible, agile workforce that’s ready to learn. Thought leader Beth Steinberg is the VP of People and Talent over at Chime. She shared her insights on upskilling and reskilling based on her years of recruiting experience in a recent article

“By extracting the skill sets you need from the person you think might have them, all of a sudden there are many other ways of obtaining the capabilities you need to grow…from a management point of view, these types of options keep your workforce flexible and lean. Also, employee development not only gives you more depth with your existing workforce, but it’s a retention mechanism”.

Suppose you can identify roles that require similar skill sets. In that case, you can determine how to upskill your existing workforce and boost their career development.

How to approach upskilling and reskilling for your employees

When it comes to upskilling and reskilling, it’s essential to have a solid foundation of learning in place. Docebo Skills, an AI (artificial intelligence) based learning feature, can help support personalized skill development. It allows learners to update their skills and knowledge gaps at any time, and HRIS (Human Resources Information System) integrations make it easy to keep track of personalized learning and career paths. 

In addition to tech solutions, you’ll need to approach upskilling and reskilling from a learning and development standpoint by making the necessary adjustments and changes in your organization. 

Here’s how to do just that. 

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these activities.

Give admins more time

In fast-moving and dynamic times like ours, where you need your workforce to quickly onboard and enroll into new roles internally, you can’t afford to spend too much time on administrative tasks. If you automate your enrollment process for your learners, they can hop into courses that will quickly get them suited up for their new job without a hassle. Enable the automation and personalization of content delivery for your admins and learners, for content delivery without the headache.

Share ideas

Collaborative learning opportunities are more important than ever. Sharing best practices is essential now that technology and business move quickly and times are often uncertain. Collaborative learning environments enable upskilling and reskilling that is seamless and intuitive for learners by allowing peers to educate each other. 

Subject-matter experts should contribute their content so that learners who need soft skills training can quickly learn from the best. They can also learn in the flow of work by sharing questions and answers with subject-matter experts for a holistic social learning experience that quickly ramps them to where they need to be. Finally, you should enable learners to contribute and access learning assets using thematic channels specific to their new roles.

Embrace mobile learning

Remote learning isn’t just for kids. Professional adult learners are also glued to their devices. Smartphones and tablets play a crucial role in e-learning on the job, especially for those in remote work setups. These devices are another way to reach your learners and capture your audience. 

They’re especially suited for microlearning, a powerful and engaging way to share information in a digestible format. People often use Google and YouTube at work and on the go. E-learning shouldn’t be any different. Mobile learning is a way to guarantee that your workforce remains engaged and equipped with the tools they need, whether on the go or from home. 

Utilize team leads

Human resources managers know that involving team leads in upskilling and reskilling initiatives can be a valuable strategy in talent development. They thoroughly understand their team members’ current skills and career goals and can provide insight into the specific training needed for each employee. Collaboration with team leads ensures that training aligns with employees’ career development plans and the organization’s needs. 

Define the needed resources

When implementing upskilling and reskilling initiatives, defining the necessary resources for success is crucial. This involves identifying required training materials, trainers, and time commitments. Defining resources up front helps organizations plan and execute their training programs effectively and efficiently. Additionally, this practice helps to maximize ROI (return on investment) by avoiding unnecessary expenditure and effectively allocating resources.

Adjust after launching the program

Regularly evaluating and adjusting upskilling and reskilling programs is crucial for their effectiveness. This involves:

  • Monitoring current employees’ progress
  • Soliciting feedback
  • Adapting the training to address emerging skill gaps or changing business needs

Doing so helps ensure employees have the necessary skills to achieve their career goals and contribute to the company’s success. Regular evaluation and adjustment can also help organizations stay agile and responsive to changes in the business environment, ultimately driving long-term success.

Now over to you

The benefits of upskilling and reskilling are many and that’s why these activities are a part of all effective training programs. By investing in employee professional development, organizations can improve talent retention, reduce recruitment and training costs, enhance their brand reputation, and bridge skill gaps in their workforce.

For a comprehensive learning management system to support your upskilling and reskilling initiatives, look no further than Docebo. The platform offers robust capabilities for designing, delivering, and tracking employee training programs. Take the first step toward a more skilled and productive workforce today by scheduling a demo now.