Employee Skill Training: Upskilling, Reskilling, and Beyond

Employee skill training has never been more important—and here’s why upskilling, reskilling, and beyond are critical strategies you should be embracing now.

Employee Upskilling, Reskilling blog image

Reskilling and upskilling from within are big trends that are here to stay. By 2024, it’s estimated that 40% of workers will require up to six months of reskilling, while 94% of business leaders expect their workers to pick up new skills. And this is a trend that pays off: 93% of CEOs who roll out upskilling programs see increased productivity, an improvement in talent acquisition and retention, and a more resilient workforce. 

Here are more reasons why employee skill training is critical to future-proof your organization.

Skills Are the Currency of the Future

We’re not producing things as much as we have in the past, but we are imagining things. And this requires different skill sets. Things have also become a lot less predictable. You can no longer send new employees to a training location, immerse them for a week, and then give them three months to get up to speed. They need to be ready right now to hit the ground running. You’ve got teams and departments that are severely understaffed.

Employee skills are now in more demand than reputable, advanced degrees. And students beginning college today may find the skills they learned as freshmen out-of-date by the time they’re seniors. But when they apply for a job at your company, they’re going to demand career paths with training to get them there, at the speed of a Tik-Tok video (or even faster). 

Is your L&D organization ready to meet these challenges, and ones you don’t even know about yet? Because you can bet that what you’re doing today for employee skills training won’t work, or be able to keep up if it’s not agile enough. 

The Upskilling and Reskilling Imperative

Maybe five years ago, your employee training process included a handful of programs focused on reskilling and upskilling existing employees. After all, it’s always less expensive to keep and develop an employee than to hire, onboard, and train a new one. But now it costs even more and it’s harder (maybe impossible) to replace a valuable employee. 

Not only should your L&D team be creating engaging, easy-to-access, and relevant reskilling and upskilling, but you also need to consider employee skill training. Why? A recent statistic pretty much says it all: by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there won’t be enough skilled people to take them.

It’s essential to know the differences between reskilling, upskilling, cross-skilling, and new skilling so you can develop the right content and program for employees:

  • Reskilling – when employees learn new skills that replace existing skills
  • Upskilling – when employees learn new skills to progress in their current role or career

It’s also good to know that many of your peers are tackling these head-on, right now, which means you can too.

One example is Orangetheory Fitness, a boutique fitness company, that completely shifted its business model because of the pandemic. The L&D team had to figure out how to train in-studio teachers to bring the same energy and brand personality to a virtual environment—and they only had 72 hours to do it. They did it, and the program has been so successful that the company is now known for its unique fitness services, anywhere a customer happens to be. Talk about employee reskilling!

Today’s Talent Demands More  

Employees want additional opportunities for career growth and skills development: SHRM shared a recent report citing that 68% of workers say they would stay with their employer throughout their career if the employer made an effort to upskill them. And nowhere is this more apparent than with frontline employees: more than 70% want advancement opportunities according to McKinsey.

If you encourage and support continuous learning through employee skill training, you’re going to prepare your workforce to adapt to change, and future-proof your organization. How? By equipping them with the skills they need to leverage new technology and techniques to drive innovation and growth. 

See how one of your peers, Pam Conway, Chief Learning Officer at Intellezy, is leveraging employee skill training to keep valuable employees happy in our on-demand webinar: Mission-Critical Upskilling and Reskilling: The What, Why, and How. Click here to watch it now