Organizational Wellness

Reskilling: Transform Your Workforce for Success

Dec 8, 2023
Last Updated May 13, 2024

How we work is ever-changing. Consier, for example, how the work of a marketing agency has changed in just a few decades—print media and radio advertisements are increasingly obsolete thanks to the digital world. Now, marketing professionals are required to navigate social media and analyze online metrics. And, now, they need to know how to create images and slogans using AI. These skills may be completely foreign to marketing professionals who were trained only a few years ago.

This fast pace has led organizations to the practice of reskilling. The workforce often needs employee training and development opportunities to stay updated on relevant tools and processes in their industry. Plus, employees want to develop alongside their companies—89% of people say that professional development in their field is important to keep them more engaged at work. 

At its core, reskilling represents your organization’s commitment to employee development and job security. With reskilling, HR is invested in the individuals, not the job positions those individuals fill. By better understanding reskilling and its benefits, HR managers can help employees more effectively perform their jobs and boost employee engagement.


What is Reskilling?

Reskilling is a strategic process that equips employees with new skills to meet evolving job requirements and industry demands. It goes beyond traditional training and development initiatives, preparing employees for entirely new roles and building a fresh area of expertise. Reskilling enables employees to adapt to changing technologies and market dynamics, ensuring they remain valuable assets in an ever-evolving workplace.

Upskilling vs. Reskilling

Reskilling involves a nearly comprehensive transformation of an employee's skill set. It often entails learning entirely new abilities in order to transition into a different role or industry. It is primarily driven by the need to adapt to major shifts in job demands or market conditions. For example, a retail employee may learn data analytics and customer behavior analysis to transition into an e-commerce data analyst role within the same company.

On the other hand, upskilling focuses on improving and expanding an employee's existing skill set. It typically aims to make employees more proficient in their current roles or to equip them with additional skills related to their current job functions. Upskilling is more incremental and aligns with the employee's current career path without overhauling their current skills.

For upskilling, an employee is focused on their effectiveness in their current role and wants to improve their job performance. This could look like a software developer learning a new programming language or a manager attending leadership training to become more competitive for advancements down the road.

Why Reskilling Matters

With technological advancements like AI and automation, it’s no wonder employees need reskilling opportunities. There are completely new demands on the workforce in nearly every industry. From robotics in healthcare to 3D printing in construction, these advancements call for fundamental changes in most companies. By reskilling employees, HR is not only supporting the workforce but also making their organization more competitive and relevant.

Reducing Costs and Saving Time

First, reskilling is a cost-effective strategy that minimizes the need for external hiring, reducing recruitment expenses and lengthy onboarding processes. Replacing an employee can cost up to two times the employee’s annual salary, according to Gallup. If you can reskill instead of replace, you can likely save  money.

It also saves time by keeping employees consistently updated so that it’s easier to adopt new technology. Employers benefit from a more skilled and efficient workforce, while employees gain job security and the ability to contribute effectively, leading to increased job satisfaction and potential career development.

Retaining Top Talent

Reskilling also demonstrates an organization's commitment to its employees' growth by providing opportunities for skill development and career advancement. This helps companies retain valuable team members who might otherwise seek new challenges elsewhere.

Attracting New Talent

In addition to employee retention, you can add reskilling to your list of talent acquisition strategies, too. A strong reskilling culture makes an organization appealing to prospective hires. Potential employees are drawn to companies that invest in their development, recognizing that they will receive valuable training and opportunities for career progression. This commitment to ongoing learning and growth positions the organization as a desirable destination for talent, ultimately helping attract new and innovative individuals to join the team.

Employee-Centric Benefits of Reskilling

There are plenty of reasons for employers to provide reskilling options and employees reap the benefits, too. Here are some of the most notable reasons employees will profit from reskilling.

Keeping Employees Engaged and Motivated

Employee engagement is the side effect of satisfied and fulfilled employees, which reskilling supports. When employees have the opportunity to acquire new skills and take on fresh challenges, it invigorates their work experience. The sense of personal growth and development creates a positive work environment that encourages enthusiasm and commitment. Employees are more likely to remain engaged when they see that their employer is invested in their professional journey and provides opportunities for continuous learning.

Making Employees Feel Valued

By investing in skill development, employers communicate that they see the long-term potential in their workforce. This employee recognition makes people feel appreciated and respected, fostering a sense of loyalty and commitment. When employees perceive that their growth and well-being matter to the company, it strengthens their connection to the organization.

Supporting Challenging Goals

When employees acquire new skills or expand their expertise, they often become better equipped to problem-solve and lead out in their field. Reskilling provides the tools and knowledge needed to tackle these ambitions with more certainty. This often means employees can navigate worker evaluations and performance reviews with confidence, too. As a result, employees are more likely to aspire to and attain positions of greater responsibility, contributing to both their personal growth and the company's success. 

Implementing Reskilling Initiatives

Offering reskilling opportunities for a diverse and vast workforce can feel overwhelming. Instead of tackling this task all at once, you can break it down into these five steps.

  1. Identifying Needed Skills

First, identifying the skills your company requires begins with a comprehensive analysis of current and future job roles and industry trends. Consider consulting with department heads, conducting surveys, and assessing market demands to pinpoint the skills that will be most valuable. It's wise to involve key stakeholders to ensure alignment between organizational goals and the skills needed to achieve them.

  1. Core Skills Training

Providing all employees with essential core skills is a fundamental part of reskilling. These skills form the foundation upon which more specialized abilities can be built. Core skills may include communication, problem-solving, digital literacy and adaptability. By offering this foundational training and career development, HR can help every employee develop a solid skill set that contributes to overall organizational efficiency.

  1. Personalized Reskilling Plans

Designing customized reskilling programs involves assessing individual employee strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations. You can start by conducting skills assessments and career development discussions with each employee. Then, create tailored reskilling plans that align with their goals and the organization's needs. Personalization boosts employee engagement and ensures that the reskilling efforts are relevant and effective.

  1. Promoting a Growth Mindset

The more you saturate your organizational culture with continuous learning, the more likely it is that you can empower and retain employees. Forty-eight percent of employees said that training opportunities were one of the perks that attracted them to their current company, according to SHRM’s 2022 Workplace Learning & Development Trends report. Plus, 76% of the same group agreed that they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. 

You can recognize and celebrate achievements resulting from reskilling efforts and provide resources like mentorship, workshops and online courses to support ongoing learning. A growth mindset not only enhances individual capabilities but also bolsters the organization's adaptability.

  1. Testing and Adaptation

Organizations and industries will continue to evolve and change, meaning that agility and adaptability will also be continuously relevant. With that, reskilling strategies often need to be dynamic and subject to ongoing assessment. Consider regularly evaluating the effectiveness of training programs and monitoring employees' progress in acquiring new skills. Solicit feedback from participants and use data analytics to track the impact on job performance, which can be accomplished using employee engagement surveys. Be prepared to adjust reskilling plans in response to changing business needs or emerging industry trends.

Timeframe for Reskilling

The timeframe for reskilling efforts can vary widely depending on several factors. Shorter programs focusing on specific skill updates might take weeks to months, while comprehensive career transitions could span several years. The duration depends on the complexity of the skills being acquired, the individual's prior knowledge and the organization's goals. Focus on striking a balance between providing enough time for effective learning and not overburdening employees—change takes time! The key is often having an intentional plan in place and being flexible as new challenges and needs arise.

Reskilling Your Organization for the Better

Technological advancements and evolving industry demands make it all the more important for organizations to invest in their employees' development. Reskilling ensures that your workforce remains adaptable, competitive and motivated. It fosters employee loyalty and positions your organization for long-term success.

Reskilling is one way to take care of your employees, but it doesn’t have to stop there. There are many opportunities for HR to prioritize employee wellbeing. You can offer more benefits that focus on work-life wellness, especially through an employee wellness program. Wellness programs can help reduce healthcare costs and improve employee health across the board.

More than 15,000 companies already trust Wellhub with their employee wellbeing. Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to start taking advantage of holistic workforce wellness!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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