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How Upskilling or Reskilling Employees Can Grow Your Business

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Many of those in the workforce today are looking to land in companies they can grow with. By offering upskilling and reskilling training, you not only can provide your current employees with what they're looking for, but invest in the future of your business.

While upskilling and reskilling may sound like the same thing, they are quite different.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling is a type of training that helps an employee do their job better by providing additional education and training that builds upon their current skills. For example, offering a computer programmer the opportunity to attend a seminar on new coding methods, to help them increase their knowledge base.

What is reskilling?

Reskilling is training an employee for an entirely different job. For example, if a retailer decides to shift from having a brick-and-mortar store to an eCommerce store, it would likely have to train its in-store salespeople to become customer service agents who instead interact with customers remotely.

Benefits of upskilling and reskilling employees

Reskilling your employees for a new role, or upskilling your employees to help them better perform, can benefit your business in the following ways:

Employee retention — Employees who feel that the company they work for is interested in their personal growth and development may be less likely to leave. Having a clear vision for their professional development can facilitate a deeper purpose when it comes to working and staying committed to their job. And, reducing employee turnover can have a direct impact on your company's bottom line.

Boosts company brand and culture — When your company is known as an organization that cares about employees' long-term success, this often results in a stronger corporate image. You may find it easier to attract and recruit talented, skilled employees because they may be more eager to work for you.

Creates a sustainable workforce — Upskilling and reskilling can work for everyone. It can create a sustainable workforce by boosting employee morale and job satisfaction while improving employee retention and, therefore, positively impacting the business's bottom line.

If you feel your workforce is lagging behind, a good place to start is to conduct a skills gap analysis to determine whether there are particular opportunities your entire workforce can take advantage of to help you remain competitive.

Once you have a better understanding of what your organization needs, you can then work on developing a professional development strategy that works best for you.

Key considerations for your upskilling or reskilling strategy

If you're looking to provide more upskilling and reskilling opportunities within your organization, consider the following strategies:

Learning and development — Offering learning and development opportunities is the most common solution for upskilling or reskilling employees. Online courses, workshops, seminars, and professional lectures are a great way to keep your employees engaged and up-to-speed on the latest trends and technologies in your industry, which could help them boost their careers while also providing added value to your business.

Job rotation — Letting your employees work in different jobs is a good way to help them learn different skills and gain knowledge about other parts of your organization. While these rotations may be temporary, with employees moving back to their original job once the rotation is complete, the new skills they learn can make them more qualified for other positions within your organization, so they're more likely to move around within your organization, rather than move out.

Job expansion — You may also consider expanding the activities and responsibilities of an employee's existing job. For example, granting an employee the opportunity to manage his or her own projects that were formerly managed by a supervisor. Though this may require additional training and coaching, it offers more variety for the individual employee and more ownership over their work, and it can make work a more rewarding experience, thereby increasing employee engagement within your organization.

Peer coaching — Consider assigning your employee(s) a mentor. In this situation, the purpose of the mentor is to teach the employee new skills, and demonstrate how these skills apply to certain job activities. This approach offers a more informal setting where employees can learn by watching their mentors work, asking questions as they go along.

Ready to start upskilling and reskilling your employees?

More and more, business leaders are realizing the importance employees place on their professional development and ability to grow within an organization. To better meet the needs and expectations of your employees, and to remain competitive, try incorporating upskilling and reskilling strategies into your employee training plans.

What's more, providing robust professional development opportunities for your employees not only can help you retain talent, but can help attract new talent, allowing you to build a more sustainable workforce.

Paychex specializes in helping to set HR strategy, which can include helping you develop programs for upskilling and reskilling employees. Learn how our professionals can help your business develop the right training programs for your organization.

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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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