How to Upskill Your Workforce for Tomorrow’s Challenges

by Srikant Chellappa Apr 18,2024

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Workers with multiple skill sets can be a huge asset as fast-moving trends reshape modern businesses faster and faster.  

And while some employees are happy to remain in their current roles and fine-tune their skills occasionally, others crave constant learning and growth. They need something to aspire to, like the opportunity to advance within the company or move between departments.

Between your need to keep up with changing times and your employees’ desires to build their repertoires, it’s time to consider upskilling as well as reskilling your workforce. 

Never heard of that second one? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know. 

What Does it Mean to Upskill or Reskill My Workforce?  

Upskilling refers to training your workforce on new skills to enhance their current positions. Reskilling is all about teaching new skills that can help workers transition into different roles. It’s nice to know both terms, but as both are critical to the overall goal — which is future-proofing your team — we’ll use them somewhat  interchangeably as we refer to helpful strategies in this article. 

Reskilling and upskilling can involve training programs, workshops, courses, and other opportunities that reinforce existing skills or teach new ones. The idea is to help employees keep up with work changes and prepare them for new challenges. With the rapidly changing reliance on technology, some employees can feel intimidated and worried they’ll fall behind. 

It also helps with career development. Reskilling employees makes them more versatile and valuable in their current role and any other role they may need — or want — to fill within your organization.

Helping employees gain more skills and remain useful is good for both the company and the employees. It helps your company stay ahead in a fast-changing world and gives employees better job opportunities and satisfaction.

What Are the Benefits of Upgrading Workforce Skills?

Part of being a good employer involves investing in learning and development. But, aside from wanting to show your workforce you care about their well-being, reskilling can be part of your talent retention strategy

A mid-level employee can cost up to 150% of their annual salary to replace. And according to Deloitte Digital, employees who receive opportunities to upskill and reskill are 3.3 times more likely to remain with their current employer for at least the next 12 months. 

So, the money savings are clear. 

But there are even more benefits of reskilling your workforce:

  • Fills Gaps Without Hiring New People: Sometimes, you need skills your team doesn’t have. Instead of hiring new people, you can teach your existing employees those skills. This saves time and money on recruitment.
  • Boosts Employee Morale and Loyalty: When you invest in teaching your employees new skills, they feel valued. This makes them happier at work and more likely to stick around, reducing turnover.
  • Keep Your Team Innovative: With reskilling, your employees can take on different roles. This flexibility is great for creatively handling changes or taking advantage of new opportunities without scrambling to find new talent.
  • Improves Productivity: Employees with a well-rounded skill set can do more, and are more confident. This can lead to better performance and problem-solving, which can lead to improved business success.

7 Strategies for Reskilling and Upskilling  

The way we do business is changing fast. Keeping up with the ever-evolving tech boom can feel daunting for you and your employees. 

It’s why reskilling and upskilling should be part of your strategic plan. 

These seven strategies for reskilling and upskilling will help prepare your workforce to fill in skill gaps and enhance their understanding of your company’s operations. 

1. Identify Skills Gaps in Your Organization

Very rarely does a company have one employee to cover every single skill required. There’s often overlap in some capacity. Your copywriter might also fill the role of social media manager, and your operations manager might perform some light IT duties. Your marketing team may have a generalist doing the job of several people.

However, your copywriter might need some reskilling in design to create more engaging social posts. Identifying which skills your business lacks but needs to thrive is a great place to start. 

Identify these gaps using performance data, industry trends, and employee feedback. Then, develop a training plan around these missing skills.

2. Use Modern Tools for Training

While some employees may require more encouragement than others, introducing them to modern tech tools can help them work smarter, not harder. This could be anything from online courses they can take at their own pace to project management software. 

And beyond just online courses, consider using interactive platforms that incorporate gamification elements to make learning more dynamic and enjoyable. For example, virtual and augmented reality tools can simulate real-world scenarios for practice without the real-world stakes. 

The goal is to make learning fun and engaging while making your employees more productive with modern technology.

3. Automate Routine Tasks

Automating simple tasks like accounts payable, data entry, email sends, or even customer service inquiries with chatbots can free up your team’s time to learn new skills and focus on more important work.

This approach can boost efficiency and give your team the time they need for personal growth. It also allows employees to engage in more meaningful work, leading to higher job satisfaction and motivation to upskill and reskill in areas that align with your business’s needs.

4. Offer Online Learning Resources

There are plenty of online learning platforms that you can customize for your business. Building online courses, webinars, and workshops allows employees to learn at their own pace and choose topics they’re interested in or need improvement.

Creating your own online learning platform allows you to offer diverse learning materials and formats that cover essential concepts in easily digestible segments. This diversity ensures that all learning styles are accommodated and promotes continuous professional development throughout your organization.

5. Create a Culture of Learning

While some employees are naturally curious and hungry for knowledge, many will need you to teach them how. The best way to encourage learning is to make it a part of your company’s culture

This can include setting aside time for learning during the workweek, sharing knowledge among team members, or rewarding those who take initiative in their professional development. 

Most importantly, you are responsible for encouraging an organizational culture that emphasizes ongoing education and skill development. 

6. Use Mentors and Coaches

Using mentors and coaches is an excellent way to pair up less experienced employees with more experienced employees who can teach them what they know. This can be an effective way to transfer knowledge and skills within your organization.

But it’s not just about the skills. Mentoring also helps build stronger relationships within your team. It creates a supportive, more relaxed environment where people feel valued and comfortable asking questions and sharing ideas. Plus, it allows mentors to polish their leadership and communication skills, making it a win-win for everyone.

The best part is, this doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start by pairing people based on their skills and career interests. Then, give them some guidance on how to work together, set goals, and offer feedback. Over time, you can adjust the program based on what works and what doesn’t, making it an invaluable part of your team’s growth and development strategy.

7. Evaluate and Adapt

All the best strategies rely on data to reveal what’s working and what’s not and an ability to adapt when needed. For this reason, tracking how well your reskilling and upskilling efforts are going is important. Ask for feedback from your team and be ready to make changes if something isn’t working. This way, you can continuously improve your strategies and reskill and upskill your employees successfully.

Stay One Step Ahead

Reskilling and upskilling your workforce is no longer a luxury. It’s a must if you want a workforce ready to take on new challenges and remain loyal to your company.  

Engagedly offers a comprehensive suite of tools designed to make reskilling and upskilling as seamless and effective as possible. From identifying skill gaps with precision analytics to a platform for online learning and development, Engagedly can help you cultivate a culture of continuous growth and learning. 

You’re not just preparing your workforce for the future. You’re shaping the future of work itself. Equip your team with the skills they need to excel, and watch as they drive your business forward.

Remote Work -Engagedly

Subscribe To The Engagedly Newsletter

Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

Privacy Preference Center