Learning & Development

The do’s and dont’s of upskilling a workforce for the future workplace: Visible benefits on the bottom line

While technology creates powerful business opportunities, it also creates skills gaps. Let’s look at how employers can combat this skills gap while retaining their current workforce.

Through technological advancement, a new challenge for companies of all shapes and sizes has arisen. While technology creates powerful business opportunities, it also creates skills gaps, particularly in the manufacturing, healthcare and construction industries, where the demand for skilled workers is especially high.

Let’s look at how employers can combat this skills gap while retaining their current workforce. A company’s ability to upskill, or its capacity for training and developing its employees to expand their skillsets, creates a significant competitive advantage in our increasingly technology-driven world.

Benefits of upskilling employees

We all know employee turnover is expensive. Recent figures released show a cost of over €14450 per employee replacement. Of course, there’s time and money that goes into the training and development of a new hire. Upskilling or reskilling is a smaller investment than hiring and training a new worker. As you reskill your employees, you create a more well-rounded, cross-trained workforce, and increase your team’s effectiveness. But it doesn’t just become a cost-effective exercise. It also improves retention.

No one wants to work at a company that doesn’t invest enough in its employees’ career development. Upskilling ensures employees’ skillsets won’t become obsolete and shows your people you care about their careers and their futures. The easiest method to provide this is by using a Learning and Development platform.

Boosts morale

Employees who have training and development opportunities are happier in their roles and have a brighter outlook on their future with the company. Reskilling your workforce helps them see the path to career advancement in front of them and gets them excited about what could be next. Knowing they’re working toward something that will better their lives creates a deeper sense of purpose.

Upskilling = happy employee

Increases customer satisfaction

Happy employees = happy customers. When workers are happier with their company and believe in what they are working toward, they do better work. Plus, upskilling keeps your workforce up to date on industry trends, allowing them to offer the best recommendations and insights to clients and prospects. HCM Deck introduced recently an upgrade to the knowledge base which has led to an increase in knowledge sharing amongst the 150,000+ users. Clients are willing to pay more to work with a more knowledgeable, proactive team. And when clients are happy with the work you do, they become stronger brand advocates for you.

Attracts new talent

When businesses are successful, chances are they will need new talent to add to their experienced, upskilled workforce.


When employees feel a sense of purpose with their company and clients are happy with their work, they become stronger brand advocates.

That means they’re more likely to recommend your organisation to their network of friends, past colleagues, and family members. Suddenly, you have a wide pool of diverse talent to choose from when it comes time to expand your team.

What to do and what not to do when upskilling employees

Employee upskilling methods range from getting up close and personal, to ensuring ongoing mentorship and growth. Let’s take a closer look at the deal makers and breakers when you’re designing training for upskilling employees.

Things you should do:

  1. Invest in personalised development plans

    Each employee has their own personal and professional background and their own set of existing skills. Individual employees may also need different levels of expertise in new skills to remain effective in their jobs. That’s why you should get personal when designing upskill training – aim to understand every employee and their role rather than viewing them as part of a group.

    A thorough needs analysis will reveal the type and level of training that each employee needs most. The next step is to draw up a personal development plan with clear training goals for employees to achieve. With input from their managers, employees can use these plans to guide their improvement and track their progress. The HCM Deck can automate this process with skill gap analysis and defined development paths for employees.

  2. Offer mentors to support upskilling

    Mentorship and learning by example are major eLearning trends for 2020. Why is mentorship experiencing such popularity? Because learning from another employee not only makes use of the desire for social learning but also helps learners to keep developing their skills long after the initial training.

    To make the most of your efforts in upskilling employees, establish a mentoring program to help each employee in their future tasks. Mentors are also effective in keeping mentees up to date with coming changes in technology that might affect their jobs. You can even strengthen your mentoring program by offering specific mentoring training to mentors.

Upskilling works but only in a modern way.

Things you shouldn’t do

There are some pitfalls that you want to avoid when planning your upskill courses. Try not to do any of the following:

    1. Offer training as a once-off event

      When the average shelf life of any given skill is five years, it just doesn’t make sense to only provide training once, or even once in a while. All employees should experience training as an ongoing effort to improve their skills and stay up to date. Acquiring a skill requires time and practice, but acquiring skills is only half the battle won. Employees also need to continue developing their new skills to truly master the evolving requirements of their jobs. Competencies should be recognised and recorded against the employee’s profile. This can be achieved easily through the HCM Deck platform.

    2. Go old-fashioned in your training delivery

If employees are going to engage in ongoing upskill training throughout their careers, they’ll need the training to be engaging, convenient and relevant. Convenience features, such as mobile learning compatibility, also make engaging with training easier and more accessible for employees. Finally, the ability to survey employees (tests and surveys are a major functionality of HCM Deck) and check completion and performance analytics will help you to keep improving your training for better results.

Nobody is interested in old fashioned training

Prioritize upskilling in an evolving skills landscape

Employees are vulnerable to changing business needs, processes, and job descriptions. Don’t leave them high and dry. Instead, design proactive training to upskill employees so that they can perform at their best. Follow these easy tips to make upskilling employees simple and successful.

Upscale the learning experience in your organization

Learn how

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This article was written by Edward Smith – Head of Global Growth at HCM Deck with over a decade of senior management, change and process optimisation experience having worked with the world’s leading organisations to develop and implement strategic L&D and HR solutions. Edward is responsible for leading the entire HCM Deck global operations.

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