Kasey LynchMarch 27, 2023
Topics: Employee Experience

Why is Upskilling and Reskilling Important for Employee Development?

Employee development is a vital part of any retention strategy. It’s a way to help connect the dots between where a worker is right now and where they want to be in the future. 


One of the most well-rounded ways to support employee evolution, improve engagement, and better meet pivoting business needs is to upskill, reskill, and redeploy your workforce. 


This may sound like a heavy lift, but upskilling and reskilling are two different ways to empower employee evolution — inspiring individuals to acquire new skills while fostering a more mobile workforce. 


In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of upskilling and reskilling, and answer a variety of questions, including:  


  • What is upskilling?

  • What is reskilling?

  • What do upskilling and reskilling have in common?

  • Why is reskilling and upskilling important?

  • How do upskilling and reskilling support employee development?

What is Upskilling? 


You may be thinking, upskilling and reskilling sound the same — but they refer to different aspects of employee evolution surrounding skills. 


These two terms complement each other and offer two different approaches to helping employees acquire new skills and achieve their career goals. 


So what is upskilling? Simply put, upskilling is the process of teaching an employee new skills within their current role, interests, or expertise. Upskilling focuses on expanding upon existing knowledge that an individual already possesses. 


For example, recommending a course on HR management and leadership to an HR Assistant is a way to upskill and build upon the education they have already received while working in that particular role. 



Related: CHROs Can Nurture Employee Growth By Focusing On Skills. Here’s How.



Overall, upskilling is beneficial for an employee that’s looking for support while advancing in their role or current career path


Now that you have a better understanding of upskilling, let’s talk about reskilling. 

What is Reskilling? 

Reskilling is the process of teaching employees new skills that are currently outside of the individuals’ existing skill set that prepares them to take on different roles that can be adjacent to their current work or set them up for a completely new career path. 


Here’s an example of reskilling: a Marketing Specialist wants to become more involved in HR efforts by taking a lateral step toward a Recruitment Marketing Manager. With their existing skills in marketing, this employee could take a course on recruiting best practices, recruitment marketing, and leadership — helping them acquire the skills needed to transition to a new career path.


Although reskilling helps broaden an employee’s skill set more so than upskilling, they both focus on helping employees develop and acquire new tools that can be applied to existing or future roles. 



Related: Skill Disruption: What Is It and What Does It Mean for HR?


Why is Upskilling and Reskilling Important?

Now that you have a better understanding of how upskilling and reskilling support skills development, let’s dive into why upskilling and reskilling is important. 


Upskilling and reskilling are the key to unlocking untapped potential in your business. They offer two different avenues for existing talent to travel down when they’re ready to take on new challenges. 


Depending on which path they choose, upskilling and reskilling effectively point a spotlight on which employees are interested in staying within their current department and expertise pool while also illuminating individuals that are looking to make a change. 


Related: Skills: The Metadata of People


This insight is invaluable for HR leaders when workforce planning and looking to see who is available to fill critical roles in various departments across the enterprise. In addition to offering workforce insights, upskilling and reskilling individuals is more cost effective than hiring external talent to fill a specific role and skill gap. 


Shifting toward a skills-based approach encourages organizations to view employees as more than just a role — and it allows employees to evolve to better align with business needs instead of solely being replaced when business goals change.  


Upskilling and reskilling programs also highlight the company’s interest in their employee’s personal and professional growth, which goes a long way when it comes to creating a positive employee culture. 


Take employee upskilling and reskilling to the next level. Check out our Definitive Guide to Internal Mobility and Talent Agility.

Accelerate Upskilling and Reskilling with Phenom

Shifting to a skills-based approach takes time but the results are impactful and empower more data-driven decision making. Within Phenom Talent Marketplace, we offer career pathing, internal mobility, mentoring, gigs or short-term projects, and other features designed to improve employee engagement. 


Through AI, machine learning, and automation, employees engage in a personalized experience that helps them identify their skills, highlights skills gaps, and recommends the right course or project to help them acquire new skills that align with their desired career path. 


Upskilling and reskilling opportunities are woven together throughout the Phenom Talent Marketplace platform to create a seamless experience focused on employee development — while offering critical insights into the workforce for HR leaders and other key stakeholders. 


Discover how Phenom Talent Marketplace can accelerate how you upskill and reskill talent by booking a demo here

Kasey Lynch

Kasey is a content marketing writer, focused on highlighting the importance of positive experiences. She's passionate about SEO strategy, collaboration, and data analytics. In her free time, she enjoys camping, cooking, exercising, and spending time with her loved ones — including her dog, Rocky. 

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