4 successful upskilling and reskilling programs that actually worked

Upskilling and reskilling is an important process for any organization, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, there are a number of successful programs that you can use as inspiration. In this blog post, we'll discuss four such programs and explore what made them successful. We’ll also discuss the benefits of upskilling and reskilling, and how to address the challenges in these programs. So, if you're looking to improve your workforce's skillset, read on!

Table of Contents

What is upskilling and reskilling?

According to a Gartner survey, HR Leaders’ number one priority in 2022 will be building critical skills and competencies and we saw that, it was indeed the case. So it’s not a surprise that McKinsey found that nearly 70% of businesses are involved in more skill-building now than they did before the pandemic.

Focussing on skills is an important step when future-proofing your workforce. Yet many skilling strategies are still missing the mark due to confusion over what upskilling, re-skilling, and cross-skilling are. So although these terms seem alike, each has its own function.

Up-skilling: Up-skilling starts with identifying skill gaps of the workforce. You can use assessments and one-on-one discussions to identify them. Next, you set up learning paths to close the skill gaps while aligning it to the employees’ career goals. Leverage Learning Management Systems or Learning Experience Platforms to making the training personalised, while having hands-on projects and assessments to track progress.

Re-skilling: Identify and prioritize the skills, new technologies, or platforms necessary for the organisation’s current and future projects. Plan for reskilling mainly across these skills. Reworking on a skillset can be vexing. So incentivise re-skilling by tying their milestones to performance objectives and their career path in the organization. Also offer mentor support and create a learning structure with achievable milestones. 

Cross-skilling: When employees are given the opportunity to specialize in other areas, they can become more versatile and valuable members of your team. You can start by identifying people who can apply their skills from one technology or responsibility area across other different platforms. Plan individual road maps for cross-skilling. For example, you might find a back-end developer who can now apply his skills in the cloud, so you will hyper-personalize their learning/skilling plan accordingly.

Benefits of upskilling and reskilling

Upskilling and reskilling helps cover the skills gaps and adapt to the current work paradigm. Read on to know why you should upskill and reskill your workforce.

  • Increased productivity: When you upskill employees, you equip them with tools to do their work more efficiently.
  • Boosts employee morale: Upskilling employees gives them an opportunity to grow and learn and this in turn boosts their morale to continue the work.
  • Improves retention: Employees tend to stick around at companies which give them opportunity to upskill.
  • Fosters a culture of continuous learning: When employees are constantly improving themselves, it fosters a culture of innovation and continuous learning.

Why do some organisations not invest in upskilling and reskilling?

While upskilling ranks among top ten focus areas of 2022 L&D programs, some organisations find it challenging to invest in learning and development programs. Reasons include:

  • Resource limitations – Resource limitations can make it difficult to develop and implement new programs, especially when those programs require expensive materials or expert training. In addition, resource limitations can also make it difficult to keep existing programs running smoothly, leading to a decline in quality. As a result, many organizations find themselves forced to choose between investing in their future and investing in their present.

However, there are some ways to overcome these resource limitations. One way is to partner with other organizations that can provide the necessary resources. Another way is to use technology to create more efficient and effective learning experiences. By using these strategies, organizations can overcome the resource limitations that often prevent them from developing and sustaining successful L&D programs.

  • Lack of know-how: The lack of know-how around reskilling is a key challenge for companies trying to meet the demands of the future. McKinsey found that most executives have little understanding of what it will take meet this challenge at the scale required in coming years. As a result, their main issue is how to check current employees against shifting responsibilities and processes without over-simplifying or under-estimating them. This lack of knowledge creates a huge challenge for businesses who want to be prepared for the future but don’t know where to start.

In order to overcome this lack of know-how, businesses need to invest in research and development around reskilling. They also need to create internal programs and partnerships with external providers that can help employees acquire the skills they need. Finally, businesses need to commit to a culture of lifelong learning so that they can continuously adapt to the ever-changing landscape. Only by taking these steps will businesses be able to meet the reskilling challenge head-on.

How to address challenges in upskilling and reskilling?

 When it comes to upskilling and reskilling employees, there are a few challenges that companies often face. First, there is the challenge of finding the time and resources to train employees on new skills. With already-tight schedules, it can be tough to find the bandwidth to invest in upskilling. Second, there is the cost associated with upskilling programs. Training employees on new skills can be expensive, especially if outside experts need to be brought in. Finally, there is the risk that upskilled employees will leave for other opportunities. After all the time and money that has been invested in their training, it can be frustrating to see employees move on to other companies. While these challenges are not insurmountable, they do need to be taken into account when planning upskilling and reskilling programs. Let’s understand how to address certain challenges in upskilling and reskilling.

  • Prioritising the most in-demand skills: Prioritising the development of in-demand skills is a crucial part of any organization’s long-term success. By taking stock of the resources you have available and focusing your efforts on skills that will bring the most value to your staff and organization, you can ensure that your business is well-positioned to meet the challenges of the future. Connecting with leaders in your company as well as your employees will help you understand the challenges they experience at work and discover skillsets they feel they need to develop. Cataloguing talents that will help your business achieve its long-term vision will also guide the prioritization process
  • Identify meaningful KPIs: The pressure to do more with less is a reality for many organizations. One way to demonstrate the value of your L&D programs is by showing a return on investment (ROI). By doing this, you are more likely to get additional budget or personnel to support your work. When selecting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), be realistic and choose metrics that impact your bottom line. This will help you show the value of your initiatives. ROI is just one way to measure success. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as employee engagement. Ultimately, the goal is to make a case for why your programs are essential and worth investing in.
  • Plan learning and development touchpoints: It can be tricky for employees to walk away from a training and immediately feel confident enough to apply the lessons they learned. That’s why it’s important to proactively reinforce essential points from the program through email follow-ups, push notifications and messages in your Learning Management System. You can also join team meetings and offer shortened refresher courses. By doing this, you’ll help employees feel supported as they transition from learning to applying their new skills. And that will ultimately lead to better results for your company.

What makes upskilling and reskilling programs successful?

What metrics do you think should be used to determine whether an upskilling and reskilling program has been successful? Following could be considered in this case:

But one of the most important thing to consider when evaluating L&D programs is the return on investment i.e., return on learning.

ROI, or return on investment, is a popular way of measuring whether a training course or program has offer value for money. ROI takes into account the cost of the course or program, as well as the benefits that it provides, such as increased knowledge or skills. ROI can be a useful measure when deciding whether to invest in a particular training course or program. However, it is important to keep in mind that ROI is just one way of measuring value and that other factors, such as the quality of the training, should also be considered. Additionally, ROI is often calculated using estimates and assumptions, which can make it less accurate than other measures. Overall, ROI is a helpful tool for measuring value but should not be used in isolation.

Upskilling and reskilling strategies

4 examples of upskilling and reskilling programs that actually worked

Let’s dive right in to the case studies of upskilling and reskilling programs that have worked. We’ll be categorising them based on the problems that were solved with the help of these programs.

A French multinational company has been hiring a wide range of talent every quarter. They were in need of state-of-the-art training sessions for both new and old employees. So basically, the client needed a way to train and equip the newest hires with minimal hand-holding. After carefully evaluating their needs, and deep discussions, Techademy came up with a customized resolution in three phases.

Each of these phases had specific tasks. Labs were set up for new joiners and they were introduced to the company’s policies. Mentoring sessions were co-ordinated with industry experts. The new hires were also given a hands-on project to work on with our virtual labs. This resulted in 60% reduction in training costs.

An Indian IT corporation was looking for an efficient way to train 800 freshers on Java, dot net, and oracle technologies and successfully onboard them. The training expenditure was to be kept highly cost-effective and within the client’s budget constraints. The objective was to train to get them to be on-par to deployment-ready. The time taken from training to deployment needed to be minimized.

We developed a customized blended learning program for Java, dot net, and oracle for the freshers by dividing the learners into batches of four. 800+ new hires were successfully skilled technically (programming languages) & soft skills-based training for their debut deployment. Within a span of eight weeks each batch was successfully trained and a reduction of 36% was seen in training to deployment turnaround time.

A 20 year old IT company headquartered in San Francisco, USA hires actively every year to keep up with their growing needs for multiple projects. A percentage of employees are kept on the bench in anticipation of new, urgent projects. These benched employees are not always skilled in the required technologies and can’t be immediately deployed to projects. The main challenge to be solved was: to reduce the bench strength.

Our in-house program CURE was deployed to reduce bench strength for the organisation.

C – Cross-skilling

U – Up-skilling

R – Re-skilling

E – Expert-skilling

We helped the organisation cross-skill by de-specialising. This allowed the employees to branch out of their core competencies. We also used skill assessments to identify the skill gaps and training needs of the employees. This let us set up learning paths for their employees. Some of those on the bench were Java Full stack specialists. We exposed them to technologies on cloud computing in order to cross-skill them. Individual road maps were created based on their proficiency levels. A learning ecosystem was set up with tools and platforms to support the cross-skilling to cloud computing.

This resulted in 34% reduced bench strength overall, with the employees were exposed to technologies outside of their core competencies. Also, compared to last year there was 3x growth in terms of upskilling and reskilling.

A mid-size IT firm delivering technology solutions for data led business insights were facing certain L&D challenges. There was a lack of structure in terms of learning journeys for individuals. There was difficulty in measuring and monitoring the impact of learning initiatives.

During the discussions with the client, it was discovered that there needs to be a connect between learning and assessments to measure learning comprehension and thereby map the impact of initiatives with outcomes. We set an integrated learning management system for 1000+ learners to facilitate continuous learning. Among other things, we also gave access to 40,000+ pooled cloud lab hours across the organisation for hands-on learning.

The client was able to structure learning journeys for all tech learners with an increased learner engagement of 47% through hands-on learning and assessments integrated with courses.

Upskilling and reskilling is important for any professional, but it can be especially beneficial for those in the tech industry. We hope that our four examples were helpful in understanding what makes an upskilling and reskilling program successful. At Techademy, we’ve helped many businesses launch successful training initiatives. If you’re looking for a way to invest in your team and give them the tools they need to succeed, book a demo with Techademy today.