Skip to content
upskilling for employee retention

How upskilling training improves employee retention

We all know how vital it is for companies to retain talented employees. However, did you know how upskilling training and other growth opportunities contribute to that?

According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report, one of the top 5 factors that employees consider when they’re looking for a new job is the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. Gallup’s American Upskilling Study also revealed that 48% of Americans would switch to a new job if they were given skills training opportunities.

Upskilling and reskilling can offer more than enhancing your employees’ skills and teaching them new things so they can thrive in their current or new roles. Employees love to feel that their contributions are valued and that their organizations care about their personal and professional growth. Providing them with opportunities to learn not only keeps them engaged but also boosts their confidence and job satisfaction which can lead to better employee retention. Let’s discover all the ways you can create a happy work environment and retain your top talent, all through upskilling training.

Four ways upskilling contributes to job satisfaction

1. Employee empowerment

It can be draining for employees to work in a role that doesn’t challenge them anymore, and this affects their enthusiasm. By offering employees the chance to acquire new skills, you breathe fresh life into their roles, reigniting their passion for their jobs. They’ll be more eager to put their newly acquired skills into practice and be more productive.

Plus, mastering a new skill will boost their confidence, and they’ll feel more valued in the workplace. After all, by giving your staff upskilling opportunities, you show that you believe in them and want to see them thrive. This kind of support goes a long way toward empowering employees and motivating them to work harder and be their best selves.

2. Learning culture

Investing in employee development fosters an environment of continuous learning, and that can only bring benefits to your organization. A learning culture enables employees to develop both personally and professionally so they can take on new opportunities and explore ways of acquiring knowledge. This increases employee loyalty and creates a dedicated workforce.

As a leader, you have the responsibility to set an example for your entire staff and actively participate in learning opportunities while encouraging others to do the same. Your support will also provide resources, a budget, and decisions concerning your company’s L&D strategy, so it’s important to prioritize upskilling and growth initiatives.

3. Career progression

Upskilling training offers chances for career development since it can act as a pathway for employees to follow regarding their professional lives. It shows them what skills to acquire, what goals to set, and how to achieve them. Your company shows its people its support and commitment to their growth, which prompts them to take on more skills and internal career opportunities, like promotions, new responsibilities, or entirely new roles.

Additionally, it creates a safe space for employees to express their desire for the training of their choice. For instance, someone in marketing wants to train on new digital technologies that will facilitate their work and, consequently, the whole team’s performance.

4. Resilient teams

There are constantly new technologies emerging that are necessary for the smooth operation of multiple departments. An updated upskilling training program can equip your workforce with the latest technology trends and skills required to never be unprepared.

With a large portion of employees working remotely, they must be familiar with any new technologies so they can work without issues and collaborate with their colleagues effectively. This applies to people working on-site, too. An updated training program will boost their productivity and make them more capable of adapting to changing future circumstances.

Upskilling training for talent acquisition

1. Employer branding

Upskilling programs have become a major attraction for potential employees, and not without reason. Nowadays, there’s an abundance of new technologies, approaches, and methods to learn, and skills become quickly outdated. Employees are aware that they need to continuously seek learning opportunities, so that’s what they want from their jobs.

When a company prioritizes upskilling initiatives, it shows a forward-thinking approach to talent management. If your company starts engaging in innovative activities that promote growth, it creates positive employer branding. This, in turn, results in a cycle of attracting and retaining talented people since, as the word spreads, more and more top candidates will want to join you.

2. Recruitment

If you want your company to be known as committed to upskilling and employee growth, you should step up your job ad game. Since you’re serious about attracting top talent, why not incorporate upskilling opportunities into your job posting?

By mentioning upskilling in their ads, companies send a clear message to candidates that they value continuous learning and want to invest in their employees’ growth. However, don’t leverage it just to attract job seekers; use it in the recruitment process, too. This way, you can both get more qualified candidates and improve the quality of your workforce since the people who will join you are well-equipped to take on new challenges.

3. Diversity and inclusion

Upskilling also plays a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion in recruitment. When you invest in growth initiatives for your existing employees, you provide equal opportunities to everyone, regardless of their background or experience.

Additionally, it helps you battle unconscious biases in the recruitment process. You’ll be more likely to hire from within, as you’ll be focused on upskilling your current employees. Plus, you’ll start creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, opening the door for people from underrepresented groups to learn new skills and have better chances at promotion and leadership roles.

Understanding the ROI of upskilling

1. Cost benefit analysis

Upskilling requires some level of investment, like time, money, and resources. You’ll need to design and deliver training programs, possibly hire instructors, and set a timetable for training so that employees know how to divide their time within the workday. However, the process isn’t really expensive when considering the benefits.

Apart from the fact that your organization will increase its retention rate, your employees will be more skilled, thus bringing new ideas and perspectives to the table. This results in innovative solutions to problem-solving, more projects, higher productivity, and increased profits.

To measure the ROI of your upskilling training program, set goals and track their progress. For example, if your goal is to reduce errors in produced work, measure this rate before and after the program to see its effectiveness.

2. Upskilling vs. recruiting

According to new benchmarking data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average hard cost per hire was nearly $4,700. However, when combined with the soft costs, many employers estimate the total cost impact of hiring a new employee to be upwards of three to four times the position’s salary.

When you have a position that requires specific expertise, it’s normal to start looking for candidates with those skills. However, this process is quite hefty. There are recruitment expenses, competitive salary costs, benefits packages, the onboarding process, and training in the new role. This is time-consuming and comes with extra costs. But if you upskill a seasoned employee, the procedure is more budget-friendly. They are familiar with the company, and the training process would be much easier.

3. Effects on productivity

When employees are given growth opportunities, they have the chance to learn new techniques, tools, and technologies that will help them with their jobs. Doing that will allow them to do their tasks more efficiently and effectively. They’ll also be aware of the latest industry trends and start getting familiar with them to incorporate them into their work.

This results in more productive teams and better employee performance rates. When everyone is working at their best, the projects will be finished earlier and within their deadlines, benefiting your clients, too. You can measure this by tracking productivity or employees’ performance before and after implementing an upskilling training program and seeing how they’ve improved.

Strategies for implementing upskilling programs

1. Skill gaps and training needs

Skill gaps can hinder productivity and job satisfaction, so it’s important to bridge them through upskilling initiatives. First, you need to identify them. To do this, you can conduct assessments to get a clear picture of your staff’s current skillset. These assessments can be surveys or even feedback meetings, where employees can express what skills they want to improve.

You can ask managers and team leaders for their help since they know firsthand about skill gaps in their teams. After you’ve identified the gaps, it’s time to assess your employees’ training needs. Every person requires different training methods based on their roles, experience, and professional goals. So, work with your people to decide on their training program together.

2. Goal-orientated training opportunities

After you know the skill gaps and training needs of your workforce, it’s time to create tailored training programs for each employee that are purpose-driven. By doing so, your people get knowledge and skills that align with their career goals and, at the same time, your company gains an engaged and loyal workforce. Customized training gives employees the chance to pursue L&D goals at their own pace and choose resources that resonate with them. This can be a big confidence booster, as they’re able to focus on training paths that bring immediate results in the workplace.

Try meeting with them and finding out more about their interests and what they’d like to improve job-wise. What are their aspirations, and how do they plan on getting there? Then, try to connect their dreams with the company’s goals to see which skills would help them achieve both. Give them training options, like on-the-job training, online courses, and workshops, and allow them to choose. Throughout their training, monitor their progress, and don’t forget to celebrate their successes.

3. Internal resources and external partnerships

What makes a significant difference in your upskilling training program is how you leverage your resources and partnerships. Every organization has knowledge and expertise within its ranks, whether it’s from experienced employees or experts on specific matters. So, consider pairing seasoned employees with less experienced ones and starting a mentoring program.

You can also organize in-house training workshops or invest in an online learning platform with a variety of elearning courses. As far as external partnerships are concerned, you can collaborate with educational facilities that will provide your employees with learning resources and certifications. In addition, consult with industry experts or training professionals who will contribute their knowledge to help you forge the perfect upskilling program.

4. KPIs for success measurement

To know whether your efforts and investments have paid off, you need to measure some specific KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. Depending on your objectives, you can track a variety of them to make sure that everything’s running smoothly in your upskilling training program. For example, you can measure skill mastery to see how well your employees are mastering their newly acquired skills.

Similarly, tracking employee engagement and performance improvement will help you keep an eye out for the positive impact of the program. Career progression, on the other hand, will show you the number of people who have been promoted or taken on new responsibilities after participating in training initiatives. Those are just some of the many aspects you can keep track of. Overall, don’t hesitate to adjust your upskilling strategy if you’re not satisfied with the results.

5. A success-driven mindset

Upskilling isn’t just about enrolling employees in training programs. It’s a mindset that will drive your organization toward success. A company culture that embraces continuous learning and professional development nurtures talent and improves employee retention.

When your workforce is given the tools and opportunities to grow, they become advocates for the company’s success and work towards achieving it. So, encourage your employees to take on new learning challenges and see what talent can do for your organization.

Learn how to best utilize the talent within your existing workforce and how to prepare them for leadership roles with our ultimate guide to upskilling and reskilling.

Got a learning problem to solve?

Get in touch to discover how we can help

CTA background