There is a lot of news concerning hiring and how hard it is to fill jobs. The Great Resignation has affected businesses of all sizes and types in many fields. As there aren’t enough workers, corporate leaders should reconsider how they develop talent and put more money into upskilling employees they already have.

Companies can move employees up the corporate ladder and into different roles by giving them new skills, which can be exciting for the workforce and help them feel like they have a stake in the company. 

The 3 Key Benefits of Upskilling Employees

upskilling employees

Adding new skills helps your team get ready for new difficulties

Since technology is changing quickly in most fields, workers need to learn new skills. In only a few years, one expects tech to change 33 percent of all jobs worldwide. You can help your organization prepare for the future by first getting your people ready.

Leaders who think ahead train their current staff so they can move into new positions instead of hiring new people. Your current staff understands the company better and can learn new skills more rapidly than a new employee because they already know how things work.

By upskilling employees and improving their skills, your team can be more flexible in the face of industry and technological change. Giving your employees new abilities helps make them extra efficient and makes your organization more productive. It also helps create an organizational culture that encourages new ideas.

Employee upskilling can help keep people on the job

Employee turnover can cost a lot of money. Depending on your business’s size, the costs of losing workers could add up fast.

Measures of employment have changed a lot because of the pandemic. At first, unemployment went up, but many people also changed jobs. The workers have shown that they are willing to learn new things. All they need is the chance. And they’re ready to give up everything to get them.

In September 2021, 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs, and 65% of US workers said they were looking for something new.

What’s good? And over a third of people looking for work say they would be willing to work for less if it meant they could learn new skills. In fact, three primary elements in working cultures have become desirable among employees: opportunities for training and development, inclusion, and personal flexibility.

“Job seekers are willing to trade an average of 11.7% of their salary for training and flexibility—and that figure rises to 12.4% among those who work in in-demand fields like technology.”

Upskilling Employees
Source: The Future of Recruiting PwC

Be the employer who stands out by asking, “How can I improve the skills of my employees?” And then provide those chances to learn. Think of learning new skills as the new 401k (k). In a competitive labor market, you could use upskilling employees as a perk and a talent strategy that can increase engagement and make people want to stay with your company.

Find your skill gaps and then fill them

Whether you have a well-established business or are just starting and want to improve your workers’ skills, it can be challenging. And upskilling employees plus learning new skills while working from home brings several challenges.

Upskilling employees for the globalized era has become as important as finding and developing talent. The first step is to figure out where you lack skills. In an ideal world, you should look for an intense training and skill development remedy that can use technical skill data to show where your company is lacking.

To get the most out of your upskilling dollars, it’s essential to ensure that each person’s skill development fits the business’s goals.

Are You Investing Enough in Upskilling Employees?

insight learning

We all are naturally inclined to provide further attention to what’s shiny and new. This tendency is called novelty bias.

That’s why we put so much emphasis on technology and new ideas and not as much on maintenance and fixing things that break. We want to cut down on fuel use and traffic and get enthusiastic about electric and self-driving cars. Still, we don’t care much about fixing our roadways, overpasses, and public transportation systems.

Stephen Stills’ song was about how chasing the newness of different partners can cause you to stray in a relationship. How understanding to be grateful for whatever you have (“love the one you’re with”) can help you have the best relationships.

But in the employment landscape, novelty bias is why so many companies are trying to hire new people instead of training or retraining their current staff.

Think about:

  • 94 percent of workers would stay at their jobs longer if they had been given a chance to learn.
  • 70% of workers say they don’t have the skill sets required to perform their tasks well.
  • It can cost up to 6 times more to hire from the outside than to build from the inside.


Let’s look at each one in turn.

94% of workers might prefer staying if they had opportunities to learn

The best leaders aren’t bought. They’re made. This is why “leadership development” is used instead of “leadership acquisition.” What good does it do to get talented candidates if you can’t keep them?

Employees care a lot about learning and getting better. And they would go to the places that give it to them. A good culture of growth and learning and employee upskilling is an often-overlooked part of a winning strategic plan.

70% of workers don’t have the abilities they require to do their jobs well

This number might surprise you, but it makes complete sense. No business hires people who are missing skills. These gaps appear when there aren’t programs to help people improve their skills. And they will show up just as rapidly in your “new and shiny” recruits as in your long-term workers.

Your company will always need to improve its skills, even if hiring someone new. This is why employees need access to opportunities to learn new skills and get training.

It could cost up to 6 times more to hire from outside than to make something yourself

Hiring someone costs money. There are fees and technology for recruiting, advertising the job, conducting interviews, and the chance that new hires will leave more often. All of this is before getting started and getting up to speed, which could take months.

Upskilling employees is not only better for developing and keeping talent, but it also saves money

The way people work in the future will require them to have digital skills. It needs new ways of mentorship, a fresh set of blended soft skills, and knowledge of a world where application, certifications, machine intelligence, and other things are constantly changing.

People want to know and grow in their jobs. They would like a clear career path and learn new skills. And that excellent “new hire”? They’ll also need to learn new skills, which may be earlier than you believe.

Upskilling does require investments, though. You need a learning management system (LMS) that can adapt to your people’s needs and give them the correct instruction at the right moment. And then there’s the content itself.

It sounds hard. But that’s not necessary.

With PlayAblo, it’s easy to get to the best e-learning content in the world. This content comes from hundreds of providers and covers thousands of the most important and in-demand skill sets. That’s all it takes.

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How Can You Measure Your Investments in Upskilling Employees?

Graphic designers in a meeting Free Photo

Companies have increased these investments because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, this has sped up the forces behind automation, AI, and digitalization.

But companies still don’t know how to measure how well these investments pay off. Insight learning, aka gathering actionable insights after training sessions, is crucial. In a worldwide survey of L&D practitioners, LinkedIn discovered that the number of methods for measuring the impact of training programs is soft indicators, such as completion rates, satisfaction levels, and employee feedback.

Fewer than half of the people who answered used more complex metrics, like increased staff retention, efficiency, or sales.

Corporate leaders should ask for better measures for insight learning, especially since more and more money is at stake. A recent report by the World Economic Forum and PwC found that closing the skills gap via upskilling employees could add $6.5 trillion to GDP by 2030 if you spent the money well.

In the last years, we’ve worked with several organizations to create and roll out programs that help people improve their skills. There are several ways to figure out how important they are.

Here are four measures that, when put together, can be used to create a detailed scorecard to enhance insight learning and quantify the ROI, aka return on investment, on programs that help people learn new skills.

Metrics for costs

These measures compare the price of getting new skills to the cost of not getting new skills. To figure out how much it will cost, first add up the direct cost of training, the employee’s time out of work, and any administrative expenses. Research shows that this costs each worker an average of $24,800.

Now, add up all the expenses of not getting new skills. To fill roles, will you have to recruit new staff? Think about how much it costs to hire people and get them started. Will you have to fire workers if you didn’t plan to teach them new skills? Think about the costs of firing someone and the costs of running this complicated process.

Even if you can’t make a clear link between retraining costs and the money saved by not laying people off, directional cost-saving metrics can still be helpful. 

If your employee upskilling project involves digital transformation, you may only need a cost-savings calculation as a metric. 

Of course, it’s even better if you can show how building skills helped your business make money. A global professional services company found that the “billing rates” they could charge for consultants who had gone through a program to improve their data analysis skills went up by 3%, more than covering the program’s cost.

Measures of productivity

These metrics measure the effect of the programs on upskilling employees by looking at how the speed or effectiveness of using that skill changes. For example, you can ask your analysts to take an advanced data analysis class where they are taught how to use technological skills like Python. Soon after, team members will say that the training has made them more productive.

To add productivity metrics to your ROI score board, first decide what you want to happen. Too many upskilling employees programs list the topic on which attendees will be educated but not the metrics the organization uses to measure success.

For instance, an insurance company’s “Data Analytics Workshop” might be better called “Improving our Claims Turnaround Time Via Data Analytics.” If the goal is clear, attendees would have a better idea of using their new abilities, and it’ll be easier to decide if the goal has been reached.

Metrics for people

Recruitment consulting venn diagram Free Photo

These are numbers that show how stable and happy your employees are. A excellent illustration of a people measure is the rate of employee retention. There is a clear link between how much a business invests in its employees’ development and how likely they are to remain with the business. 

You can use this as a base. Try to measure this connection for your programme to improve your skills. One easy way to do this is to tag people participating in any employee engagement poll your company does on a regular basis.

Depending on the application you are using and your guidelines about collection of data, you can do it by allowing staff self-report on the upskilling employees training courses in which they’ve taken part lately or by integrating your LMS with your employee feedback platform.

If you see a big difference in how happy people are with their jobs between those who took part in your upskilling employees program and those who didn’t, include that in your score board. Some companies guarantee that their investments will increase retention. 

Your scorecard can also include metrics about other people. One example is attracting good people. A global management consulting company found that the number of applications for their machine learning upskilling employees program went up by 9 percent when they advertised it on job listings.

Another metric is — how many positions are held by internal applicants instead of people from outside the company. As an industry becomes more and more dependent on technology, the only way of filling new jobs with people already working for you is to train and retrain your current staff. 

Metrics for sponsor satisfaction

Most training programs on upskilling employees ask the people who took the course if they were happy with it. This is a useful piece of information, but it doesn’t always show the real impact or return.

A better idea is to ask supervisors and team leaders if they believe the training helped the people on their teams. To have a much more honest result, pose the question after a fair period of time following the session, when executives have had an opportunity to see a variation in their teams’ work.

A recent survey by McKinsey & Co. is a good example. The company asked more than 1,200 business leaders about the nature and results of the upskilling employees investments they had made. Executives were asked to rate the impact of their reskilling investments on eight different key performance indicators, such as employee satisfaction and retention, customer experience, and brand perception. 

Putting Together Your Scorecard

Too often, corporate leaders ask the L&D teams to show the ROI after a training program is done, but they don’t know what kind of return they want. Before starting any upskilling employees program, L&D teams should ask for a clear definition of success and help their stakeholders figure out how to say it in a manner everybody can understand.

Is the primary objective to fill extra positions with people who already have skills? How many? To be more productive with a certain task? How much, if so? Or maybe to boost motivation?

This is very important. It should notify every facet of the initiative design — the syllabus, the labelling, how attendees are chosen, what exercises they are intended to perform as an outcome of this project, and when and how those tasks are measured.

The scorecard can also be used to keep track of stories about how your training program have helped people. Make sure to talk to a few people who took part: Where did they come from? Why did they sign up for the class? How do they use what they’ve learned? What made it a good time for them?


As reskilling and upskilling employees become more important on the executive agenda, there will be more pressure to explain investments. This justification will be easier for organizations to give if executives, L&D professionals, and participants are all on the same page about what they want to happen.

Ad: PlayAblo’s Enterprise-Grade Micro-Learning platform is built for millennial learners. Micro-Learning, along with assessments and gamification features, ensures learning outcome measurement and sustained engagement.
Find out more and request a custom demo!

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