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Reskilling and Upskilling: Benefits for Your Employees and Your Organization

What kind of employees will your company need in five years? In ten? And what’s your plan for attracting these employees with the skills your company needs to thrive in the future? 

As you consider your future talent needs, you might be overlooking how your current employees can fit into those future plans. They simply might require some reskilling or upskilling. 

Reskilling vs. Upskilling 

While they’re often used interchangeably, reskilling and upskilling are not quite the same thing—and the difference is important. 

Upskilling involves taking an employee and giving them additional skills within their current role. For example, if you have an employee who is currently a graphic designer and train her in motion design, that’s upskilling. 

Reskilling, on the other hand, means retraining an employee for a different (typically lateral) role within the company. This could look like taking an employee who is an executive assistant and training them to be a project manager. 

Depending on what talent needs your company has right now and in a few years, you can focus on both upskilling and reskilling equally, or put more emphasis on one or the other as needed. 

But if you’re like most companies, you have (or soon will have) significant talent gaps in your employees. 87% of companies say they have skill gaps now, or expect to within a few years, according to McKinsey research. So developing a plan to fit your existing employees, with their institutional knowledge and experience, into your future organization is more vital now than ever. 

Here are five of the biggest benefits that a strategic plan for reskilling the workforce will bring them and your business too. 

  1. Increased Retention 

Employees who are offered opportunities for learning and adding skills are 3.5 times as likely to say their company helps them meet their career goals, according to LinkedIn research. And those career goals are very important to employees—so knowing that your business is actively working to help them grow and adjust to change is a boost to retention and helps reduce turnover.

  1. Boost Employer Brand 

Keeping your existing employees is critical—but having an outstanding upskilling and reskilling program can also help you attract top talent by boosting your employer brand. Job seekers in your area and industry will learn about your commitment to your employees’ development and consider your company as a top contender for their next role. Since 48% of US workers would switch to a new job if it offered them skills training opportunities, this is a huge boost to your future hiring needs. 

  1. More Resilient Teams 

Employees who are upskilled or reskilled are also more resilient and flexible than employees who stay in the same role or department forever. They learn new skills to help them adjust to changing workforce conditions, with your company’s support. And that combination of experience across teams or roles, plus their flexible mindset, means you’ll have teams that know how to handle change. 

  1. Higher Productivity

Training your employees on new skills and enhancing their existing ones is sure to boost their productivity in their new roles. Plus, employees who are interested and engaged in their work and find it pleasantly challenging are more productive—and teaching them new skills they can use right away definitely makes work more interesting. 

  1. Savings on Rehiring Costs 

Recruiting and hiring new employees with the skills you will need is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. Replacing an employee is typically estimated to cost twice their annual salary. Plus, the skills that will be in demand for your organization will also likely be highly sought by other companies, meaning the recruitment game will be even more competitive. 

Upskilling and reskilling employees comes at a cost, of course, but it’s likely less than organizing and executing layoffs and then a rehiring spree. And with the use of upskilling technology, like online learning and Cangrade’s employee mobility and workforce development solutions, your costs can be reduced even further.