flower bloom representing employee upskilling
Training & Learning

Invest in Your Employees With an Upskilling Program

In the wake of the Great Resignation, employee retention is a massive concern for L&D professionals. 

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as 46.8 million resignations happened in the U.S. alone in 2022.

This level of turnover can lead to significant financial losses when you consider that the cost of replacing just one employee ranges from half to two times that employee’s annual salary. 

That’s why, in 2023, L&D teams are prioritizing retention by building upskilling opportunities into their L&D programs. A rock-solid upskilling program is the key to keeping top talent at your organization without negatively impacting your bottom line. Best of all, you probably have everything you need to launch an effective program right now.

We’re breaking down why your L&D team needs an upskilling program to future-proof your workforce, along with three best practices to help you get started. 

Great resignation US cover

We surveyed over 1,000 Americans about the Great Resignation. Here's what they said.

Why invest in an upskilling program? 

There’s a definite correlation between proper training and employee engagement: if you offer employees skill-advancing opportunities, they are more likely to feel valued and stay at your organization. 

We saw this reflected in our 2022 Great Resignation Study, where we surveyed 1,058 American workers to gain an understanding of the deeper reasons behind why so many people are leaving to pursue new roles.  

So, why are so many people quitting? Turns out, a majority of resignations come down to a lack of (or a perceived lack of) internal mobility

For example, we found that 45.9% of respondents asked their manager for an internal opportunity but weren’t presented with any options. An additional 26.5% of respondents didn’t bother asking for internal opportunities because they didn’t believe they would be given options. 

Even more, half of all respondents felt a promotion was their only option to upskill. 

Clearly, learning and development teams are in a prime position to invest in their employees’ skill-building needs—yet only 15% of L&D teams currently have an upskilling program in place

Launching an upskilling program now will help your organization gain a competitive edge over other workplaces and give current employees a stronger incentive to stay. 

For example, aerospace manufacturer Safran recently faced challenges all too familiar to many B2B companies. The company understood it would have to face the economic crisis threatening to shake up the industry–and new technologies signaled rapidly changing skill sets for jobs. On top of these challenges, they also faced generational turnover, with a large slice of its workforce planning to retire in the near future. 

To get ahead of looming staff changes, Safran made a choice to become a learning organization. The company adopted 360Learning as a tool to upskill employees, publishing 5,000 courses authored collaboratively by 300 subject-matter experts. Plus, Safran’s upskilling program gained over 40,000 active users who completed 136,000 hours of training. And they used many of our best practices to achieve these results. 

3 best practices to launch your upskilling training program

At its core, upskilling is a type of training that empowers employees to learn new skills and competencies in order to do their jobs more effectively.

It differs from reskilling, in which an employee needs to develop new skills to adapt to the changing landscape of their job or career field. 

Upskilling is more nuanced (but don’t let that scare you). With upskilling, the goal is to encourage a continuous learning culture, so employees are always leveling up their skill sets. It's all about making your employees feel valued, while also helping your organization meet its business goals. 

Best of all, an upskilling program can easily be low maintenance and budget-friendly. 

1. Give employees a voice in your upskilling program development 

Your employees know what skills they need regarding their career development—they just need a roadmap to get there. 

From our survey, we found that most respondents want access to online courses, mentorship opportunities, and career shadowing with colleagues whose jobs interest them. 

Before you launch your upskilling program, take time to talk with your employees about their goals and potential skills gaps to better understand their learning preferences.  

To make room for these conversations, create a workplace survey or ask managers to schedule 1:1s with their teams. During this time, ask what opportunities are the most meaningful and use the responses to build your program framework.  

2. Develop collaborative content that fits into the flow of work

Most learners want to gain new skills on their own time, at their own pace. 

Consider building a program that flows in line with your employees’ day-to-day responsibilities. This way, no worker has to choose between doing their job or advancing their skill set. Instead, they can learn in the flow of work.

Prioritize learning platforms which have automation tools to suggest relevant coursework, integrations, and app-embedded tabs to encourage employee development. This helps learners gain valuable learning experiences and expand their current skill set—all without disrupting their workday.  

One way you can approach this is to build your program with a collaborative mindset, like working with SMEs at your company to author content around technical and soft skills that matter the most to your workers. 

Or, build interactive features into your program—like discussion forums and reaction buttons—in order to keep learner collaboration high and content relevant.

3. Encourage knowledge sharing among learners  

Turns out, a lot of workplaces lack a proper tool or program for storing internal knowledge. It’s shared only through person-to-person interactions, despite the fact that 42% of internal knowledge is unique to individual employees

That can leave your team scrambling to rebuild valuable company information if a highly experienced team member leaves. 

The best way to break down information silos is to build processes that encourage knowledge sharing—and then capture that knowledge in a centralized space. We suggest you create:

  • An internal wiki (on your website or in your LMS) that all levels of staff can access and contribute to 
  • A dedicated Slack channel to connect employees with SMEs across the team 
  • Discussion forums designed to encourage peer-to-peer (P2P) learning online  

Each of these options will create an archive of internal knowledge that employees can access at the exact moment they need it, from wherever.

A learning platform is key to a successful upskilling program 

Between authoring course content, managing learner expectations, and ensuring training completion rates stay high, an upskilling program can be a hefty initiative to take on manually.  

That’s where a collaborative learning platform like 360Learning comes in. Our tool is designed to help organizations focus on managing personalized learning pathways, monitoring employee goals, and measuring progress effortlessly–all with powerful automation. 

Plus, features like course templates, engagement-boosting gamification, and content integrations are designed to keep learners highly motivated throughout every step of their learning path.   

See why 360Learning is the ideal tool for upskilling your workforce with a personalized demo.