How Reskilling and Upskilling Employees Benefit an Organization

By: Right Management March 23, 2022

In order for companies to compete in today’s market, they must constantly be acquiring new talent. After all, new talent brings fresh energy, various experiences, and a new perspective that results in innovation. Unfortunately, not all companies can afford to hire new employees, which can cost an average of $4,000 per new hire. In this instance, companies may find it better to reskill and upskill the employees they currently have. 

Reskilling and upskilling employees allows organizations to enhance the skills their employees already possess. It also enables companies to provide staff with opportunities to learn new skills. Understanding how to effectively reskill and upskill your employees delivers numerous benefits to your organization and helps propel you toward continued success.

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What Exactly is Reskilling and Upskilling? 

Maybe your company doesn’t have the time it takes to hire new employees. Or maybe it’s just simply not in the budget. When onboarding new staff members is out of the question, reskilling and upskilling may be the answer. 

Reskilling is the process of teaching employees new skills so they’re able to perform a different job function within the organization. It involves finding staff members with adjacent skills that are close to what’s needed for the company to move forward.  

Upskilling is the process of teaching employees advanced skills so they can adapt to changes that are happening in their current role. This helps you close talent gaps within your company while ensuring staff members are up to date with their knowledge and abilities.  

Both concepts are extremely beneficial in helping a business achieve its goals while strengthening its workforce, generating revenue, and moving toward continued success. 

Why Reskilling and Upskilling is Important in the New Normal 

It’s no secret that the market is constantly changing. Consumer needs and expectations evolve, trends come and go, and new developments in technology and processes affect the way companies do business. However, in the past two years, a global pandemic has changed the market in unprecedented ways. Layoffs, furloughs, and company closures have caused business owners to re-evaluate their corporate objectives, processes and procedures, and staffing practices as everyone navigates a new normal. 

How is a company to succeed amidst unemployment spikes and hiring freezes? Now more than ever, reskilling and upskilling is an important practice for businesses who want to thrive and continue to compete in their industry. In times of a massive talent shortage or when hiring new employees is financially impossible, the only answer may be to rely on internal candidates to fill open positions. 

Through reskilling and upskilling, companies can continue to achieve ambitious goals with fewer people. This process also enables you to identify those loyal employees who are eager to learn and want to help the company reach its goals. These people are true assets to your organization.  

As you focus on advancing the employees you currently have, you can also take this time to develop a plan for improving your talent development process once the pandemic subsides. Then, you’ll be in a better position to scale your organization’s growth seamlessly for continued success. 

5 Benefits of Reskilling and Upskilling Employees 

Reskilling and upskilling have numerous benefits. They can help your workforce more easily adapt to market changes, which can impact your bottom line and build a positive working environment for your staff. They can also help save your company money while enabling you stand apart from the competition. Here are five benefits of reskilling and upskilling your current employees. 

1. Increase Retention Rates 

When you invest in the education and further development of your workers’ careers, you show your staff that you value them as employees and see them as an asset to the company. Employees who receive continued training know their skills won’t become outdated, which gives them job security and more opportunities for career growth.  

All of this makes for satisfied employees who won’t go looking for another job elsewhere, thus improving retention rates and strengthening your workforce. This results in numerous benefits, like saving you the cost of training others, increasing productivity, and providing a better employee experience overall. 

2. Minimize Future Disruptions 

In order to develop plans for reskilling and upskilling, companies must assess the current state of the organization. This provides an opportunity to identify talent gaps and determine what areas need improvement. Evaluating the company in this way allows you to build resilience against possible disruptions and helps your company prepare for the future. This kind of forward thinking can help set you apart from your competition down the road. 

3. Improve Collaboration 

As team members learn new skills, they often shadow other workers to learn more about their job responsibilities. Collaborative learning and cross-functional training gets employees communicating more openly and helps people address challenges with new perspectives and fresh suggestions. Not only does this help to build stronger teams that work more efficiently together to achieve a shared goal. Collaboration reduces time spent in meetings by 18.9% and boosts levels of productivity. 

4. Save the Company Money 

Rather than investing in hiring new employees, a company can spend less money providing more training to the employees who already know your company’s mission, processes, and customer base. Through reskilling and upskilling, a business can save on the various costs associated with new hires. These include: 

  • Recruitment: posting to job boards, hiring recruiters, and screening processes all cost money. 

  • Background checks: most companies perform at least one type of background check so they know who they’re bringing into their business. 

  • Onboarding: this includes IT setup and orientation procedures. 

  • Benefits: from insurance and paid leave to free coffee in the break room, the cost of employee benefits add up. 

  • Training: software, handbooks, and a trainer’s time are all costs incurred by an employer. 

  • Equipment: a new employee needs a desk and office chair, a phone, and a computer, not to mention other basic desk supplies. Adding another staff member also means more electricity and energy use, also paid for by the company. 

By training current employees, companies can save on all of these added expenses while still obtaining the talent needed for continued growth and success. 

5. Achieve Higher Customer Satisfaction 

Employees who feel valued and are satisfied with their work are more invested in the success of the organization. As such, they tend to do a better job in their role which leads to higher customer satisfaction. Not only do these employees provide better customer service and give more attention to detail. Their training gives them the most current information on industry trends and solutions, so they can offer better recommendations to your clients.  

A satisfied customer is not only willing to pay more for superior customer service. They’re more likely to be loyal to your brand. They’ll spread the word about your business to their own contacts and help you expand your audience reach. This results in sales growth, best lead generation, and increased revenue. 

5 Tips for Implementing Reskilling and Upskilling Strategies 

Once an organization has committed to reskilling and upskilling its employees, it must develop a clear plan for implementing these strategies. Here are some helpful tips to incorporate reskilling and upskilling into your workforce training. 

1. Assess the Current State of Your Organization 

Before you can decide which employees to begin training and in what capacity, there are things you should know. For instance, what areas of your organization need knowledgeable staff? How do you effectively and efficiently train people to support those needs? By evaluating the current state of your organization, you can identify various aspects to help determine your reskill and upskill strategies. Such aspects include:  

  • Budget: how much can you afford to spend on training? 

  • Timeline: how long will it take to teach the skills necessary to advance the staff member to their new role or responsibility? 

  • Most valuable skills: consider subjects that will help staff today and in the future, like technology and emotional intelligence. 

  • Existing resources: instead of starting from scratch, knowing what you have at your fingertips can save time and money. 

The insights you gain from this evaluation can help shape a plan for reskilling and upskilling your staff that is intentional, effective, and successful. 

2. Set Clear Objectives 

You want to provide training that is useful and hones the skills most needed within your company. Therefore, you must first set clear objectives. Maybe the goal is as simple as transitioning one employee to another department. Or perhaps the goal is to reduce customer service response time in order to increase customer satisfaction ratings. Whatever the mission, these goals help to provide a clear path for your training material.  

Once goals are established, you should decide how those goals are to be measured and evaluated. Ultimately, you’ll know whether your reskilling and upskilling is successful based on employee performance. Therefore, it’s crucial to set goals that align your training process from start to finish. This will help you develop invaluable content that focuses on the necessary learning and application of new skills. 

3. Prioritize Your Efforts 

When it comes to reskilling and upskilling, trying to decide where to begin can be overwhelming. It’s best to prioritize your efforts by determining which needs are the most pressing and which can have the greatest impact. Consider following these steps: 

  • Identify the most urgent needs: during times of change, some needs are more essential than others. Target the needs that are of the utmost importance and focus on those first. 

  • Determine which are most far-reaching: of the most urgent needs, identify those that would have the greatest impact. Those should be at the top of your list. 

  • Categorize needs by effort: some training will be quicker and easier than other tasks. Determine which urgent, impactful training could have the best results with the littlest effort. Consider tackling those first. 

Once you know what training needs to be accomplished and in what order, you can begin to develop a strategy that will propel your staff and your organization toward success. 

4. Perform a Test Launch 

Before you go all-in with your reskilling and upskilling efforts, you might consider running a small-scale test launch to ensure your plan is effective. Take this opportunity to learn whether your training programs are feasible and meeting their objectives. If they are, you’re ready to move forward with a company-wide training plan. If you’re finding room for improvement, you can make any necessary adjustments quickly and easily without impacting the entire organization. 

Beta test data is invaluable in ensuring your reskilling and upskilling plans are effective, accepted, and embraced by your staff. When everyone is onboard with your training programs, these programs are more likely to succeed. Making adjustments on a small scale also allows you to advance more quickly, as you’re not having to take time to reconstruct everyone’s training plans. A test launch is a great way to ensure your training processes are effective and efficient. 

5. Conduct Constant Evaluations 

Even though your training programs have passed the initial beta test, it’s important to keep a close eye on the programs’ effectiveness. Such data can let you know: 

  • How employees are doing in their skill acquisition. 

  • Whether material is still relevant to your organization’s needs. 

  • If employees are encouraged and motivated by the results they’re seeing. 

It’s essential to know whether your reskill and upskill training is continuing to help your staff and company reach your goals and objectives. By constantly monitoring results, you’ll be able to determine whether your training programs need improvement or adjustment for maximum performance. Only through evaluation can you realize the effectiveness of your reskilling and upskilling efforts. 

Accelerate Performance with Reskilling and Upskilling 

Right Management provides insight- and technology-driven solutions to accelerate the capabilities of your workforce. Within our career development platform, employees can find a variety of development options to aid in reskilling and upskilling. Through the platform dashboard, organizations can monitor progress and offer new learning and development options to their teams. 

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