Last Updated on November 1, 2021 – 6:33 am

A significant part of HR responsibilities includes filling skill gaps across the workforce. As professionals, we need to plot a path to keep employees at the top of their game even in an inevitably shifting industry. The blueprint to achieving this is through upskilling and reskilling initiatives in your organization.

It’s necessary to point out that there’s no one-size-fits-all guide for successful training for a new role because companies have different needs and their circumstances seldom align. The point is, upskilling and reskilling are no longer conversation fillers; instead, they are urgent efforts that HR must have definite plans to deal with.

In the face of this, 48 percent of hiring managers agree that candidates lack the appropriate skills to fill open positions. While technical skills are usually easy to learn through formal education, more generally valuable soft skills seem to elude most employees.

Therefore, instead of searching continuously, it’s preferable to look inwards and work on improving existing employees by working on them learning additional skills. Professional development enables them to attain their professional goals both within the current position and beyond.

Defining Upskilling and Reskilling

Upskilling Definition

Upskilling is a means to deepen and advance an employee’s competency. Its focus is to train employees for long-term relevance in their present career path or position. With remote work becoming quite the norm today, certain skills have become core competencies and help talent be more successful in their roles.

Many workers typically upskill when transitioning to a new job or position, but companies can take advantage of this.

Reskilling Definition

On the other hand, reskilling means teaching an employee to give them skills they do not have. The idea is to prepare them for an entirely different occupation.

Both upskilling and reskilling contribute to tangible success because it affords companies the right employees. They ensure that employees who are not fully qualified will have the skills that roles require. It’s the reason why Human Resources and learning and development (L&D) continue to adapt to external factors that impact the hiring pool.

As such, HR and L&D need to find ways to bridge the chasm in skills. There are many benefits of skill-focused development, including employee motivation in their chosen career path, and positively impact success to the entire organization.

Why Upskilling and Reskilling are Crucial in Your Organization

New skills help people to advance in their job roles. They also ensure there is as minimal a gap as possible with industry trends. Acquiring them ensures that employees can identify opportunities to add value to the company. 

Here’s an outline of why organizations need upskilling and reskilling.

Why is Upskilling & Reskilling is Important for Your Work to Survive?

#1 – Workers need the skills for modern business

It’s often the case that workers need new skills to fulfill their job roles. This makes it necessary for the employees to perform multiple responsibilities, and only a robust employee upskilling and reskilling program can help companies navigate an evolving business landscape.

#2 – Upskilling and reskilling prepare employees for the future

Upskilling and reskilling allow your people to maximize potential in their current position or assume tasks where the business needs support. It enables employees to prepare adequately for the future, especially in fast-paced industries.

#3 – It improves employee productivity and customer satisfaction

Happy employees are up to 20 percent more productive than their colleagues. They are often more attentive and helpful during customer interactions. As such, giving relevant training to employees also ensures that they are abreast with industry trends, making them more valuable to customers.

#4 – Upskilling and Reskilling Help to Improve Retention

Roughly one-quarter of all employees leave a current role because there’s little opportunity for professional development. That’s one reason you need to give them reasons to do so.

Keeping employees for the long haul and improving overall retention rates are significant upsides of closing the skills gap. For this reason, big companies such as Mastercard and Amazon have invested time and money in developing well-structured programs; the latter had invested more than $700 million in these programs. It’s important to note that hiring managers struggle with defining an effective strategy for improving retention.

It can be tricky concentrating on several skills at once, especially when some are technical and specific and those with more general applications. It enables employees to maximize new skills and feel a sense of belonging within the organization.

Here are a few skill areas to target, including:


Analytical skills directly impact how your organization runs. It includes all activities, from appropriately looking at data to understanding industry trends.


Digital skills may include using applications on a computer to enhance social media engagement.


These include universal skills vital to succeed in any role – abilities such as communication, collaboration, and time management.

It’s here that most employees fall short, and helping them learn these skills improves the value of their current role, and in turn, helps them stick around longer.

Reskilling, Upskilling, and Leadership Buy-in

Developing strategies to help employees upskill or reskill usually requires management buy-in. The entire team needs motivation and not just one individual.

Leadership buy-in is the secret sauce for making upskilling and reskilling initiatives work. It lends necessary support to anyone interested in professional development while making sure to acknowledge their effort.

Employees are keen on any celebration of their efforts to enhance existing abilities. This is important considering that 8 percent of employees who have recently walked away from a job site the absence of appreciation as the main reason they left.


There are many benefits that reskilling and upskilling hold for companies. Your present employees may have more potential than you’re currently tapping, and those two will provide proper foundations for any Learning & Development strategy.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get in gear and implement an upskilling and reskilling program that works for your organization.