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Why You Should Think About Upskilling vs Training

Upskilling means helping employees learn new skills so they can do their current job better and/or more easily. Learn why you should upskill your employees.

By | eSkill

Organizations worldwide are diligently working to find talent to fill open roles. They are finding that upskilling is a solution that delivers the best return. This has surprised many HR and learning/development leaders and hiring managers. Businesses have always considered internal and external training the best solutions for employee development.

If you think upskilling and training are analogous, you are not alone. However, they have different goals and different outcomes.

Training Definition

Training refers to any activity that helps an individual or group of employees acquire new knowledge or improve existing skills. For example, a manager might recommend training for a good customer service representative (CSR) who needs to improve their multi-tasking skills. The same manager may schedule training for a group of CSRs assigned to work with a new client. Training can also be scheduled by department or company-wide to train employees on new software or a new procedure.

Upskilling Definition

Upskilling means helping employees learn new skills to improve their performance in their current job and does not involve changing career goals. For example, an accounting manager who uses Microsoft Excel might need to learn a new process to integrate the information in financial spreadsheets with new operations management software.

Is Training Better Than Upskilling Your Employees

When it comes to choosing training vs. upskilling employees, there is no “black and white” solution—it depends on what you want to accomplish. These are common complaints organizations have about training.

  • The Expense:One of the biggest disadvantages businesses cite about employee training is the cost. If you manage training internally, you must staff a department and pay employees to facilitate courses and workshops. If you use outside trainers, you have to pay them for their time. You pay for the course and travel expenses if you send employees to an off-site seminar or conference.
  • Takes Employees Away from Work:While many managers think training is essential, they believe completing projects on time and within budget is more important. Having one or more employees away from their jobs for even one day can be disruptive. This is why many managers push training to the bottom of their priority list.
  • Control Over Material: While there are standard best practices in any industry, companies still want things done a specific way. When managers delegate training, they lose control over what employees learn. So, if the trainer gives instructions counter to what the manager has said, employees may be confused about which information is correct and could even pick up some bad habits.
  • Lack of Stickiness: A big complaint many organizations have with training is it is quickly forgotten. Employees are excited and motivated during the course or workshop and return to the office ready to try out what they have learned. However, they revert to their old habits within a few days. So, managers see training as a waste of money because they do not see any return on the investment.

Why Organizations Are Upskilling Employees

Organizations are more receptive to upskilling employees because they can see immediate results. Upskilling helps employees do their current job better and/or more efficiently, which directly impacts business profitability. Employees are happy because they have the opportunity to improve their current skills and learn new ones. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 94% of employees surveyed said they would stay with an organization longer if offered the chance to improve their abilities and learn new skills.

These are some other reasons organizations are opting to upskill their employees.

  • Improve Productivity:Upskilling employees increases productivity and enables your staff to work more efficiently. According to a Capgemini Research study, upskilled employees can shift their focus to activities that contribute to business growth, which improves organizational output.
  • Retain Good Employees: Many entry-level and low- and mid-skill-level positions are becoming obsolete or disrupted by technology. By upskilling employees in these roles, businesses can retain good employees by helping them acquire the skills they need to take on a similar role or even train for a completely different job. Organizations use an industry-leading solution such as the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM to determine what employees know so they know what additional training is needed.
  • Build an Internal Talent Pool: In 2021, 4.3 million Americans left their jobs in a movement that is now called the Great Resignation. As companies struggled to find qualified employees to fill critical positions, they learned the importance of developing their current staff to build an internal talent pool. Having employees who are ready, or almost ready, to assume new responsibilities is much less expensive and less risky than recruiting, hiring, and training new talent. As a case in point, organizations that use the industry-leading eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM have reduced hiring and training costs by as much as 70%.

Verizon, McDonald’s, Google, Wal-Mart, and Marriott International are just a few organizations that have spent billions to launch upskilling programs.They and other global companies agree that upskilling employees pays off.

Interested in Leveraging Skills Tests to Upskill Your Employees?

The training and employee development your organization has depended on for decades are obsolete and cannot keep up with today’s dynamic workforce environment.

Do you want to learn how you can develop a program to upskill your employees using the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM? Contact us to request a demo.


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