by J. Karluk | July 31, 2023 | 5 Min Read

Upskilling and reskilling the workforce for the future


In our special report, Unboxing Skill Agility®, we asked the Corporate Learning Network (CLN) this question, “What is your highest skill-building priority over the next 2-3 years?” Two of the top responses included:

  • Upskilling current employees to fill skill gaps (49%)
  • Identifying new skills that will be needed as the business evolves (43%)

But how can L&D leaders build a future-ready workforce and bring measurable value to the business? By implementing a skill-building program.

Upskilling and reskilling the workforce promotes continuous learning and offers new opportunities for employees looking for upward mobility. These kind of learning initiatives empower your employees to excel and position your organization for sustained success.

But knowing how to upskill and reskill employees effectively requires more than just a passing knowledge of the topic. Let’s look closer at upskilling and reskilling workers and how businesses that prioritize upskilling and reskilling have a competitive advantage.

What is upskilling and reskilling?

At the heart of a thriving, agile organization lies an active commitment to employee development, primarily through upskilling and reskilling. But what is upskilling and reskilling exactly, and how do these two concepts differ?


Upskilling refers to equipping employees with advanced skills or new knowledge to perform at a higher level in their current roles.

It’s an ongoing learning journey that adds to an employee’s existing skillset to meet the increasing complexities of their current jobs or prepare for future responsibilities within the same role.

When employees upskill, a company enables its workforce to keep pace with the rapidly changing industry trends and technological advances. Upskilling can range from training on the use of new technology to developing soft skills.


Reskilling workers involves providing employees with new knowledge and skills, equipping them to move into different roles within an organization.

With the advancement of technology, reskilling helps retain employees whose jobs have been replaced by training them to take on entirely new roles, such as those that require human skills. Reskilling is also helpful for filling necessary gaps with existing employees rather than hiring someone new, which incurs onboarding costs.

Understanding the difference between upskill and reskill helps businesses build and implement the right workforce development strategies. Recap: Upskilling enhances an employee’s skillset within an existing role while reskilling equips employees with brand-new skills that allow them to pivot from one role to another.

How companies are gaining an edge by upskilling and reskilling the workforce

The value of a highly skilled and adaptable workforce is no longer a luxury – upskilling and reskilling the workforce is essential for a business to survive and thrive in the modern world. Companies actively investing in their employees’ careers gain a competitive edge, demonstrating their commitment to meeting the needs of the current and future state of work.

Stay relevant in the digital age

With technological advancements and digital transformation impacting various industries, companies need employees with the latest skills to stay relevant. Upskilling and reskilling enable the workforce to adapt to new technologies, tools, and processes, helping companies remain competitive.

Accelerate productivity

When employees have access to training and development opportunities, they can enhance their knowledge and expertise. This improvement leads to better job performance as they become more skilled and capable of handling their tasks and responsibilities with greater competence.

Attract and retain top talent

A dynamic environment of continuous learning isn’t just a magnetic force that attracts new, high-caliber talent. It's also a powerful adhesive. By offering upskilling and reskilling programs, companies can retain their top talent, reducing turnover rates and associated hiring costs.

Cost savings on hiring

Reskilling and upskilling workers presents a cost-effective alternative to recruiting, onboarding, and acclimatizing new hires. Investing in your existing talent pool saves resources and minimizes disruptions by capitalizing on their existing knowledge and familiarity with your business.

Agile response to industry changes

The business landscape is constantly changing, requiring what we call Skill Agility®: your company’s ability to nimbly respond to business challenges and develop skills at the pace of change. With an upskilling and reskilling program in place, organizations can build a workforce that can quickly respond to market shifts and industry disruptions.

By prioritizing upskilling and reskilling, you're future-proofing your workforce. The key to unlocking all these benefits and more lies in reskilling and upskilling techniques, including online training programs, mentorships, and workshops.

Mapping out an upskilling and reskilling strategy

Identify skill gaps

The first step to an effective upskilling or reskilling strategy is to identify the skills gaps within your organization. You can identify these by conducting regular performance reviews and skills assessments.

Align with business objectives

Ensure your upskilling and reskilling initiatives align with your broader business objectives. Training should be strategic, aiming to build the skills necessary to drive your business forward.

Leverage a blended learning approach

Taking a blended learning approach to training can make upskilling and reskilling more effective. This can include classroom training, eLearning, micro-learning videos, etc. Let the subject matter inform your modality.

Promote a continuous learning culture

Promote a culture where learning is ongoing and embedded in everyday work. This can be achieved by encouraging knowledge sharing, providing regular training opportunities, and recognizing learning achievements.

Leverage a learning management system (LMS)

Leveraging a customizable LMS is a powerful way to upskill and reskill employees. An LMS allows you to create, deliver, and track training content tailored to your organization's needs. It offers a centralized platform for learning anytime, anywhere, facilitating accessible learning and development.

Learn how to upskill and reskill employees with Unboxed Training & Technology

By learning how to upskill and reskill employees, your company can adapt to industry changes, adopt technological advancements, and foster an environment of continuous learning.

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we specialize in creating custom training content to meet your unique business needs. We craft learning experiences that inform and inspire, driving real behavioral change and delivering measurable results.

Request a demo of our custom training content to see how we can support your efforts in fostering an environment of continuous learning while empowering your business to thrive in the face of change.

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