Getting Your Skills on Track - Part Two: Upskilling and Reskilling

"It has been estimated that employers will offer reskilling and upskilling to more than 70% of their employees by 2025."

Hey, guys! Glad to see you back for Part Two of our four-part series: “Getting Your Skills on Track!” In Part One of the series, we introduced what a skills gap is and how to identify them in your organization. Here, we will be discussing the solution to address the skills gap, which is… wait for it… upskilling and reskilling! Bear with us here, we know it is an oversimplification of an extremely complex problem. But all things equal, Occam’s razor states that the simplest explanation is often the correct one.  


Devastating Impact of COVID-19

Accelerated by the COVID-19 Pandemic, many companies emerging from crisis mode are facing major changes. Organizations are being forced to reimagine their operations and learn new skills required to fulfill customer demand. In the United States, demand for technological skills have been expected to rise by more than 50 percent, and complex cognitive skills by one-third (McKinsey).
According to a report in 2020, there were about 31.67 million frontline workers in the United States with approximately 16.1 million in the health care industry. Due to the pandemic, we are seeing disruptions across all the organizations that employ a sizable portion of these workers. Extremely high demands have been placed on frontline workers, expecting them to work extended hours and more days a week. Increased rates of mental illness have been observed within these workers as well as an overall lack of focus on their own health. Due to the overall events of the pandemic, workers in these organizations lack the staff and skills necessary for optimal business operations. Reskilling and Upskilling have never been more important than they are right now.
Regardless of the industry or even the skills required, upskilling and reskilling tools will keep your organization flexible in this ever-evolving world. Advancements in technology have opened many paths for new forms of learning. Providing employees access to skills development is a best practice no matter what industry you are in. Every industry is evolving and challenged with moving into new growth areas. Creating and fostering a culture of growth and knowledge sharing does not just benefit employees – it has tangible benefits across all aspects of your organization. To remain stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, businesses should start reskilling their workforces now.

What is upskilling and reskilling?

Upskilling can be defined as the process of teaching an employee additional skills related to their current position. This concept aids employees in becoming more educated to accurately perform their job. Upskilling is most common within the workplace. Employers may want to train their workforce to acquire new skills, enabling workers to grow in their current positions and bring added value to the business.
Reskilling is the process of learning new skills by employees to perform a different job not related to the current position. Unlike upskilling, this can involve a change in career entirely and may even be a suitable alternative to getting rid of current employees and hiring new ones. Reskilling is attractive to individuals who are looking to change their jobs or careers. This also happens in the workplace. For instance, an employer may wish to retrain a worker if their position has become redundant, or if their skill sets would be better suited to another role.


How to approach and successfully promote reskilling and upskilling

1. Analyze your company’s long-term growth plan and think about how that impacts organizational change.  

  • Think about where you want your company to be in the next few years. What goals would you like your organization to achieve? Organizational change is necessary for companies to succeed and grow. Learning to accept challenges associated with change will provide you and your employees with the skills to uphold the organization. Using tools provided for upskilling and reskilling, you will have the skills and knowledge necessary to sustain the organization.

2. Look inward at your company and audit the talent you have and reflect on that talent you would like to have.

  • Determining where to use upskilling and reskilling can be accomplished by using direct reports to see where the skills gap is located. Looking at the current employees and assessing the work that is being accomplished can help you to understand what is missing. It is also beneficial to provide a roadmap for your employees outlining the overall goals you would like achieved in the organization. Engaging and investing in your employees will help build a future-ready workforce.

3. Look at your employee’s current skill sets, determine where gaps exist, and who would benefit from reskilling or upskilling.

  • It is important to locate the skills gap when looking to address it. There are often employees who wish to grow within the company, yet they do not know how to achieve this. With reskilling, these employees can be provided with the tools necessary to advance their current skills or even learn new ones to take on higher roles within the company.

4. Create a culture of constant learning where people continue to learn.

  • This step is key to the future success of your organization. By creating a learning culture, your employees’ skillsets will continue to improve. Listening to and addressing your employees needs and wants show support of an open mindset within the company. Organizations with continuous learning cultures experience 37% higher productivity and are 92% more likely to innovate.
New skills development concept and changing skill demand idea

Why is Upskilling and Reskilling so Important?

Why is Upskilling and Reskilling so Important?

Retains top talent and attracts new talent

  • Now with proper training, employees can better perform the duties on the job.
  • Current employees receive opportunities to take on new roles in the organization.
  • Reskilling will provide more learning opportunities to skilled workers within your organization while also attracting new employees. This may even give displaced workers a competitive edge encouraging them to perform better.  
  • New employees are encouraged to work for your organization as they will be provided with proper learning tools.

Eliminates skills gaps

  • Upskilling helps employees to meet the challenging requirements of their current positions. Reskilling involves stepping into a new position with a different skill set needed to perform the role. With increasing pressure to close skills gaps it is estimated that 50 % of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. With the use of these tools, workers will be provided with the knowledge necessary to correctly perform the job at hand.

Reduce Turnover and Increase Satisfaction

  • If employees feel they are valued in the organization, they are less likely to leave for another company.
  • With the use of upskilling and reskilling, employees can learn the skills required to excel in their roles, encouraging them to stay with the company.
  • An open line of communication is also promoted for employees to voice their needs and concerns.

Prepares an org for growth and provides flexibility for future challenges

  • As this world is constantly throwing changes at us, it is important that your organization is prepared to grow. There will always be new concepts for employees to learn with rapidly occurring changes and advancements in technology. Upskilling and reskilling are great ways to prepare your organization for what is to come.
  • Companies must determine the skills they need now to be prepared for the future.

Proof this works

We’ve talked about the benefits of reskilling and upskilling conceptually. Let’s sum up what tangible impacts they can have on your organization.

Survey: The State of Employee Reskilling & Upskilling Training (

1. Eliminates skills gaps

Upskilling/reskilling project expand the growing parts of the business and gives the company a huge advantage with deep understanding of millions of skills and capabilities. Through their upskilling/reskilling initiative, 50% of employers target both hard and soft skills. Sixty-six percent of employees ranked developing new skills as the top upskilling motivator in the workplace while 35% agree that this has yielded significant growth within the company.

2. Provides employee opportunity and increases satisfaction

Employees can see what capabilities they need to excel in new roles. Upskilling and reskilling uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide employees with the learning capabilities necessary for the company. In hopes of positively affecting their job level and/or salary, the number of employees who have pursued training on their own after the COVID outbreak is listed at 42%. Out of that, 80% have agreed that this training has boosted their workplace confidence.

3. Reduce turnover

Investments in this type of skill training helps to build a positive company culture. According to 91% of companies and 81% of employees, upskilling/reskilling training had boosted overall productivity at work. This evidence suggests that employees are more likely to continue working for their current company as they now have the skills and knowledge required to do so.

4. Gives your org flexibility

Sixty-eight percent of companies invest in reskilling and upskilling training to manage changes in the org. They are recommended courses geared to their skill sets and even projects to aid in the learning process. Additionally, 65% train employees on modern technologies making them more reputable for future positions and give them the potential to move into new internal roles. Using AI, we can see how the company’s capabilities compare to our top competitors and match existing employees to fitting roles within the company.

Upskilling and reskilling can provide countless benefits for your organization, but there are no half measures if you are going to make meaningful changes to the way you work. When preparing your organizations to learn, there are many considerable factors. Now that you have identified the skills gap and understand that the solution is upskilling and reskilling, it is time to figure out how to implement this strategy into your company. Stay tuned for the next blog where we will walk you through the digital tools and programs that are available to help employees learn new skills. A little teaser – successful upskilling and reskilling efforts require total commitment from organizations if they are going to get buy in from your employees. Talk soon!

“The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of leaning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.” - Peter Drucker