Why Reskilling and Upskilling Programs Are Essential for Employee Development

Employers now need to focus on delivering the benefits and opportunities that matter more than ever before. Here's how upskilling can help.

Employee development efforts are a critical component of effective recruitment and retention programs. Most employees want to continue to learn and grow – it goes well beyond ambitions for a promotion; it is about feeling ready for the job at hand and keeping an eye on the job possibilities ahead. When employees feel unprepared, they are more stressed than they need to be. And in the midst of a pandemic with constantly changing policies and expectations, that became crystal clear.

Employers now need to focus on delivering the benefits and opportunities that matter more than ever before. Luckily, many have come to realize the comprehensive employee development initiatives improve job satisfaction, reduce stress and can dramatically minimize turnover.

Got Skills? A Corporate Mandate

The recent surge in employee resignations spurred the need for increased investment in employee education, training and upskilling – both to improve retention and support ongoing recruitment efforts. Companies of all industries and sizes expanded their investments in learning management systems (LMS) and training management systems (TMS) to focus on employee learning, well-being and retention. And while record-breaking resignation numbers may be finally calming down, it created significant staffing holes that are not easily filled, especially for skills-based positions.

While internal promotions and headhunters try to fill gaps with cross-functional candidates and increasingly look to remote or part-time/gig-economy workers, certain positions require incredibly specific skillsets. Employers owe it to their employees to provide the training they need to confidently do their jobs. Reskilling and upskilling programs help organizations better meet the changing requirements of today’s workforce while navigating the complexities of post-pandemic era shifts.

According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies offering comprehensive training programs tout 24% higher profits than those that spend less on training and have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. In addition, a Gallup study, commissioned by Amazon, found that upskilling has become a prime benefit sought by top talent, with 71 percent of workers who upskilled saying it drove greater job satisfaction. The LinkedIn 2022 Workplace Learning Report also found that upskilling and reskilling have become primary ways to attract and retain talent, future-proofing an organization. As learning and development teams have also become a fixture in helping their organizations adapt to change, 94 percent of employees believe they would stay at a company longer if they were involved in their learning and development.

Employee Development in the Upskill/Reskill Era

While it is clear that comprehensive training programs are a win/win for both the employer and the employee, many organizations are still struggling to meet the needs of today’s changing workforce. Companies are in a constant battle to try to retain skilled workers while losing professionals to retirement (sometimes much earlier than expected) at a rapid rate. Most also now need to attract younger workers, who often place a higher value on continued learning programs, skill development and accelerated career advancement.

To keep pace with the development needs of employees amidst a constant barrage of new policies, mandates and regulations, as well as mounting retention/hiring challenges, today’s businesses need to move beyond the static, disjointed training tools of the past. Outdated training programs fall woefully short in the fast-paced reskill/upskill era because they do not integrate training from multiple systems for varied skill areas or different formats – from instructor-led sessions and digital, on-demand to mobile courses – into a single platform.

Employers should not need to waste time and effort on disjointed tools that result in fragmented, unscalable training programs that can’t meet compliance mandates. Pulling everything together in one easy-to-manage platform that provides both generalized and industry-specific content and learning programs tailored for their entire workforce, as well as core enterprise security, compliance and workflow capabilities gives employers the visibility and control they need.

Workers now need easy, direct access to comprehensive, integrated training. Leveraging advanced, comprehensive LMS solutions provides employee development programs that are both user- and instructor-friendly to better engage and properly prepare employees to confidently do their jobs. With SaaS-based tools, employers can easily tailor their programs to their employees’ unique needs – whether it be mobile-friendly access to quickly master new policies tied to their current role or in-classroom classroom to prepare for the next step in their career. Advanced LMS solutions can even add self-directed learning paths that provide individual employees with specific training recommendations based on job position, requirements, skills, competencies and performance.

While businesses in most industries are still trying to recover from the pandemic resignation surge and skill/policy reset, the next challenge is just around the corner. Today’s organizations need to be prepared to rapidly adapt their employee development initiatives to meet the challenges of tomorrow. As supporting employees’ continued quest to learn, grow and advance in their careers will continue to be an HR priority, investing in flexible SaaS LMS and TMS platforms will help businesses create the customized, integrated training programs they need to future-proof their operations.