5 Best Practices for Upskilling, Reskilling Employees

A closer look at the benefits of further investing in your workforce’s skills and how to make it happen

April 11, 2024
4-minute read

Employees are the backbone of any successful organization, using their skills and expertise to impact business outcomes and growth. A rapidly changing business climate and developing technology, however, make it critical for HR teams to not only attract great new talent, but also prioritize upskilling and reskilling employees along the way.

As digital transformations, global uncertainties, and changing labor market dynamics continue to challenge organizations and their goals, helping employees build more valuable and adaptable skills could ensure greater business agility and innovation in the long run. Gone are the days when organizational success relied solely on static skill sets and entrenched practices. It’s safe to say that, in the not-too-distant future, some jobs might no longer exist while many others will look significantly different. Roles business leaders haven’t even dreamed up yet will eventually become essential. To remain competitive, organizations must consider proactively integrating continuous learning and skill development as part of their overall strategy.

So how can investing and building training programs and career-growth opportunities help organizations? Here’s a look at the major benefits of upskilling and reskilling employees, as well as five strategies for getting started.

Upskilling and Reskilling Advantages

From enhancing employee engagement and retention to driving organizational agility and innovation, upskilling and reskilling initiatives have many multifaceted and far-reaching benefits. Here are a few reasons why nurturing and growing talent are essential:

  • Accelerates tech adoption: Advancing technology continues to reshape industries at an unprecedented pace. Automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are transforming traditional job roles and creating a demand for new digital skills. By upskilling and reskilling employees, HR teams can help businesses quickly adapt to these changes and stay competitive.
  • Creates a continuously learning culture: Upskilling and reskilling initiatives not only enhance employees' skill sets but also foster a growth mindset within the organization. Employees who constantly learn and acquire new skills are more engaged, motivated, and likely to contribute to the company's success.
  • Makes employees happier: Investing in upskilling and reskilling initiatives shows employees that the organization values them and is committed to their professional growth. This, in turn, leads to increased employee retention and satisfaction. When employees feel supported in their career development, they are more likely to stay with the company and contribute their best efforts.
  • Prepares organizations for the future: In a rapidly changing business environment, organizations need to be agile and adaptable. By upskilling and reskilling employees, HR teams can ensure their workforces possess the necessary skills to meet evolving business demands. This enables companies to quickly respond to market changes, seize new opportunities, and stay ahead of the competition.
  • Attracts top talent: Job seekers are increasingly looking for companies that offer opportunities for growth and development. By showcasing your commitment to employee development, you can attract and retain high-performing individuals who are eager to learn and grow within your organization.
CTA/link to an e-book, "Building a Future Ready Workforce n 2024."

5 Best Practices for Upskilling, Reskilling Employees

In many ways, upskilling and reskilling have emerged as linchpins for sustained organizational growth and adaptability. But getting the most out of these approaches requires some strategic thinking.

Here are five best practices to guide HR teams in recognizing training opportunities, building sustainable programs, and efficiently upskill/reskill employees.

1. Identify skill gaps

Conduct regular assessments — whether it’s through performance evaluations, employee surveys, or interviews — to identify and close skill gaps within the organization. Identifying skills gaps also helps organizations allocate resources effectively by focusing on the most critical skill deficiencies and maximizing the impact of training initiatives.

2. Develop training programs

Design targeted training and development programs to address identified skill gaps using in-house education, external courses, workshops, or online learning platforms. These learning opportunities also help employees keep up with evolving job requirements, technology, and industry trends, as well as keep organizations agile and resilient.

3. Promote internal mobility

Encourage employees to explore new roles and opportunities within the organization. This allows them to acquire new skills and experiences while retaining institutional knowledge.

4. Provide mentorship and coaching

Offer mentoring programs that connect experienced employees with those who are upskilling or reskilling. This fosters knowledge transfer and accelerates learning.

5. Recognize and reward development

Recognize and reward employees who actively participate in upskilling and reskilling programs. This reinforces a culture of continuous learning and motivates others to follow suit.

CTA/link to a blog post, "How to Support Developing Careers in an Organization."

The Domino Effect of Upskilling and Reskilling Your Workforce

Upskilling and reskilling aren’t just about staying ahead of the curve — they’re strategies that encourage innovation, improve employee engagement, and build a company culture that values continuous learning and individual growth.

By investing in workforce development, HR teams empower employees and the overall organization with the skills needed to survive and thrive in rapidly changing work climates. It also leads to better business outcomes by improving employee satisfaction, reducing turnover, increasing organizational agility, and providing a competitive edge in attracting top talent.