What is Upskilling?

Definition

Upskilling is the process of improving and extending the capabilities of your employees, oftentimes associated with higher agility of the company as a result.

Upskilling is the process of improving and extending the capabilities of your employees. This will future proof your workforce and make your company agile enough to compete with the best. Upskilling can be achieved via formal training, self-directed study or practical learning and is a lifelong learning approach rather than a time limited exercise.  By definition, it refers to extra or new skills that a person will get in addition to the core skills and competencies they already possess when they start working in their current role. 

The drivers of upskilling

There are a number of benefits of upskilling to a company, and it is increasingly viewed as the core element of an overall training and development strategy. Upskilling is an ongoing requirement for most roles, which will naturally diversify and develop in response to changes in how we work and the products and services that your company offers. The drivers for upskilling can be internal or external - the specific areas identified as needing to be upskilled could be a response to general workplace changes or a company specific need. 

Upskilling can also refer to gaining hard skills that help you to perform your specific role more effectively, or the soft skills that make you a good employee and colleague, such as good communication skills, people management or listening and giving feedback to others.

Digital transformation is one of the top drivers for upskilling and keeping your staff up to date on the technology front is always a recipe for success. At this time, many companies are exploring the benefits of upskilling employees and providing opportunities that support a move to a more customer-centric organization. Many companies are experiencing a gap in the available skills needed to meet the challenges of digitization and for employees, gaining the skills to contribute in the new economy provides reassurance and stability at a time when many fear that their job could become obsolete in the future.

Another benefit of upskilling is saving money. Increasing the capabilities of current staff can remove the need for expensive recruitment campaigns looking for new staff with the skills and knowledge a company requires to move forward. Most employees now view regular training and development as an essential component of their overall reward package. At a time of great uncertainty, focusing investment in training is a positive change that can make an employee feel valued and communicate that they have a solid future within the organization.

Upskilling approaches

In  the past, many upskilling interventions have used a one size fits all approach, and have failed as a result. Today, we can use AI, or Artificial Intelligence, to ensure that every employee receives a training and development plan that is designed just for them. It evaluates an individual’s skills and knowledge, and highlights any skills gaps that can be filled via upskilling. With this highly personalized review tool, upskilling becomes relevant and accessible to every member of staff, at every level within your organization.

Explore further with these stories

All posts

edyoucated is funded by leading research institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).