Upskilling vs. Reskilling:

Upskilling typically describes an employee pursuing a training opportunity to improve their skill set within their current job. The term "reskilling" has a slightly different meaning and involves an employee developing an entirely new set of skills to fulfill a new role.

Reskilling is usually implemented when businesses want employees to gain skills that will match new systems and capabilities, rather than expand their knowledge on their current career path. Both ideas fall under the umbrella term "new skilling," which refers to all types of continuous learning in the workplace.

Benefits of Upskilling Your Workforce:

1. Bridging the skills gap.

A gap in workforce skills typically occurs when new technological advancements are implemented and employees no longer have the know-how to fulfill their jobs satisfactorily. It may also become more prevalent in the workplace when companies adjust their operational objectives and role specifications have to change to suit new organizational goals.

Introducing upskilling into various departments will ensure skills gaps are quickly and efficiently bridged, ensuring no additional time or money is lost. Speaking with your employees about their role requirements and identifying potential areas of improvement is essential for creating a more efficient and knowledgeable workforce.

2. Adapting to new technologies.

To run a successful business, a solid growth strategy is crucial to prevent stagnation and maximize profits. However, the rapidly changing technological landscape has caused a shift in operational priorities, with companies having to reconsider the importance of their digital capabilities.

Allowing your employees to complete various tech-related courses or training programs will ensure they can easily understand and keep up with AI, digitization, and automation trends. Adapting your business operations to constantly anticipate technological developments is also an important part of staying competitive.

3. Building a resilient and high-performing team.

One of the best ways to ensure your workforce stays engaged and productive is by offering a good selection of upskilling opportunities. It allows team members to create a sense of agency in their role and choose which skills they would like to improve.

Upskilling is also a great incentive for ambitious employees who prioritize career development and advancement. Including upskilling opportunities in your workforce's total compensation package will entice career-driven individuals to join your company and add significant value to your team.

4. Optimizing the talent acquisition process.

Offering upskilling opportunities as part of an employee's onboarding process may shift the focus from finding talent for open jobs to individuals who will thrive in a continuous learning work culture.

Employee retention rates will also see an improvement as individuals can see upskilling as an incentive to stay active and engaged in their current role, rather than search for a new job with more growth opportunities.

It can also be an effective part of succession planning and allow employees to pursue more senior roles that they may not have typically considered without access to upskilling.

How to Create an Upskilling Strategy:

$1,000.00 USD
1 Month
How to Create an Upskilling Strategy:

Four easy steps for creating a comprehensive upskilling strategy that will achieve both individual and organizational goals.


Assess your company's current and future needs.


Define your objectives.

Define your objectives.

Think about the reason for creating and implementing an upskilling strategy. Are you aiming to fill specific skill gaps, prepare for upcoming technological advancements, or enhance overall workforce capabilities?

The best way to keep track of your objectives is to establish measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).


Conduct a skills assessment.

Conduct a skills assessment.

Before creating your strategy, sit down with your team members and identify the skills that are essential for their current roles, as well as those that will be crucial for future growth.

Take your employees' preferences into consideration, as well as the individual development opportunities they would like to pursue.

Be sure to read our article on conducting a skills gap analysis.


Present your findings to management.

Present your findings to management.

Based on your skills assessment, meet with your company's leadership team and discuss which upskilling opportunities would be most beneficial to pursue. Your focus could be on technical skills, soft skills, leadership skills, or industry-specific knowledge.

Once approved by management, you'll be able to create a more comprehensive outline of your upskilling strategy.


Create a learning-focused work culture.


Lean into continuous learning.

Lean into continuous learning.

Make continuous learning a priority within your workforce and encourage employees to embrace upskilling as a part of their professional development.


Make it accessible.

Make it accessible.

Creating a continuous learning culture can be achieved through accessible training programs, mentorship, learning resources, and support from leadership. Provide easy access to relevant learning systems with support for those who need it.


Choose and implement appropriate learning methods.


Research upskilling resources.

Research upskilling resources.

Research which upskilling methods are available for the skills and sectors you're focusing on. This could include in-person training, online courses, workshops, webinars, or mentorship programs.

Tailor the methods to accommodate your employees' diverse learning styles and preferences.


Provide access to resources.

Provide access to resources.

Ensure that employees have easy access to relevant learning resources, which may include subscriptions to online learning platforms, access to industry publications, attendance at conferences, and participation in workshops.

For best results, you should support the use of both formal and informal learning channels.


Monitor your strategy.


Assess your strategy's effectiveness.

Assess your strategy's effectiveness.

To ensure your strategy is working, consider using KPIs to measure employees' progress toward their skill development goals. This could include soliciting feedback from team members to understand their experiences and identify areas for improvement.

Be sure to keep the leadership team updated on the effectiveness of your strategy and consider any advice when planning additional strategy goals.


Adjust your strategy accordingly.

Adjust your strategy accordingly.

Be prepared to adjust your strategy based on feedback and the evolving needs of the organization. The strategy needs to be flexible enough to adapt to the changing circumstances of the employees and the company.

Where to Find Upskilling Opportunities:

Whether your upskilling strategy focuses on in-person training programs, conferences, or online courses, there is a wide range of platforms that provide access to various upskilling opportunities. These programs typically incur fees, but we've provided a list of both free and paid options.

1. Online courses.

Online courses are immensely popular tools for quick and easy upskilling opportunities. Employees are able to easily complete hour- or day-long courses during their work time, and by completing an online course, they will typically receive a certificate of completion.

Our top pick is LinkedIn Learning, a user-friendly platform that offers a robust library of online courses covering topics like programming, business management, project development, and leadership.

Ideal for employees looking to improve their technical, business, or creative skills, the platform offers a free month-long trial period and employers can contact the company for team-based pricing.

Other popular online course platforms include Udemy, Coursera, edX, Skillshare, and Google Digital Garage.

2. Professional associations.

For employees wanting to attend in-person training programs, a good option might be industry-specific professional associations that organize conferences, seminars, and training events. Simply visit the association's website to search through their current offerings and sign up your employees for their preferred event.

3. Government-sponsored programs.

Several government agencies or workforce development organizations may offer subsidized or free training programs to support local businesses and employees in acquiring new skills. State-specific websites should provide you with information on current in-person or online training programs.

4. Mentorships.

Employees looking to attend a mentorship program for an extended time period should consider speaking to local training providers or consulting firms. They may offer in-person, on-the-job training sessions for specialized skill development that aren't typically available via an online course.

How Much Will It Cost to Upskill an Employee?

It is challenging to calculate a specific average cost for upskilling an employee, as it varies widely according to the type of skills being developed, the chosen training methods, the duration of the upskilling program, and the employee time commitment. As such, the cost can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per employee.

Regardless of the cost, upskilling should be seen as an investment in your workforce and your company's overall competitiveness. The benefits of improved skills and employee retention can greatly outweigh any upfront fees.


What is upskilling in the workplace?

Upskilling in the workplace refers to employees completing a training program or development opportunity to expand on their current skill set or learn an entirely new skill that will be crucial for future career growth.

What is an example of upskilling?

There are several ways to pursue an upskilling opportunity — employees can complete an online course, attend an in-person workshop, complete a mentorship program, or take part in an industry-specific conference to upskill in their current role.

Where can I find upskilling training resources?

Employees can access upskilling training resources via online course providers, professional association websites, state-specific websites, and consulting firms.

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