How (and why) to upskill your workforce

6 min read
Tushar Johari

The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of the children entering primary schools now will land in jobs that do not exist today. Such is the pace of change in technology. Automation made possible by technologies like AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning are already replacing thousands of jobs. Which means that India, which handles 65% of the global IT offshore work and 40% of business processing, will have more than two-thirds of its formal jobs automated by 2030. Therefore, any business that relies on technology must upskill its employees to remain in business for years to come.

Upskilling is the process of learning new skills while staying in the same job profile.

The purpose of upskilling is acquiring new skills or learning an updated technology to perform the current job more effectively.

4 Ways to upskill your employees

There are many ways of upskilling employees while they are on-the-job. Here are four:

  1. Micro training.
  2. Internships.
  3. Upskill courses.
  4. Job rotation.

After you read through the upskilling methods we list here, keep reading to learn what your business will gain from investing in your workers.

1. Micro training

With the decreasing attention span of people, micro training is becoming a popular method of upskilling employees.

This method of training is effective for technology-based businesses with remote employees.

Micro training delivers bite-sized modules of training (three to six minutes long) for a longer period of time and at regular intervals of time.

Such a form of training is easy to absorb and doesn’t overwhelm employees or distract them from their duties.

2. Internships

Upskill Man Pointing at Computer Screen
Internships are an excellent way to prepare freshers for full-time employment.
Photo: Mimi Thian on Unsplash

This is one of the most popular methods of on-the-job training.

Skills that require practical knowledge like running ad campaigns, designing websites or coding can be best learned on the job.

Website development companies and digital marketing agencies often bring on fresh talent and train them according to their requirement by hiring them as interns. It is a win-win for both the freshers who need experience, and the employers who need talent at economical rates.

3. Upskill courses

Today many businesses have employees scattered in different locations across the globe. In such a case, it is impossible to bring everyone together in one room for training.

Online courses enable the upskilling of employees irrespective of their location.

At the same time, it is an excellent way of learning from the best teachers from around the world, which would not be possible in a classroom structure. It also allows the employees to learn at their own pace.

4. Job rotation

Another effective method to upskill your employees while they are on the job is rotation.

In this method, the employees are asked to work on different roles periodically. This way they are not just learning new skills, they also more fully understand the context of their roles and duties.

4 reasons why you should upskill your employees

Helping your employees achieve new heights in their careers is a noble deed. But upskilling your employees is more than just a good cause.

Upskilling of employees is equally required by the employer and the organization to grow and succeed. Here are four ways in which upskilling your employees benefits you as the business owner:

Employee retention

Upskill Man Sitting at Laptop with Smartphone
More and more freshers and millennials are leaving jobs every two years.

Why is employee retention is important?

Loss of employees means loss of money, period.

In a study conducted by Mercer Inc, 45% of businesses reported a turnover cost of $10,000 per employee — 20% reported the costs at approximately $30,000.

Employee retention is starting to be a problem for companies that rely on technically skilled workers. Wipro, Cognizant and Infosys all reported an increased attrition rate for the second quarter of 2019 as compared to the first quarter.

The two major reasons for high attrition rates are low salaries and a lack of learning opportunities.

Major IT giants in India are waking up to this issue and are taking corrective measures to curb the growing attrition rates. You should, too — no matter how small your firm or agency.

Related: How to retain your workers with employee benefits

Customer satisfaction

When business offerings blend together, customer satisfaction is key to keeping customers loyal to your business.

Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining a current customer.

People don’t buy products or services, they buy experiences. The overall satisfaction is a result of the following three factors:

  • Quality of product or service
  • Sales and customer service
  • Perceived value against the cost

In a service-based business like IT or web development, where employees are the product, it is important that every employee is adequately skilled.

A single instance of sub-standard service can impact the customer’s satisfaction and prompt them to walk away.


We already discussed how important it is to retain good employees as well as customers. Losing any of them means losing money and reducing the bottom line.

Upskilling and training employees will not only retain the employees by providing them with better career growth opportunities, but increase customer satisfaction by ensuring higher quality service.

According to a study conducted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that spend on training programs enjoy 24% higher profit margins than those who spend less.

Technology up-gradation

Another reason why you should invest in upskilling your employees is fast-evolving technology.

With the emerging trends like IoT, blockchain, and AI in the technology space, NASSCOM predicts that 40% of India’s workforce will need to be reskilled or upskilled over the next five years.

It is imperative for any business that depends on technology to deliver its products or services to keep its employees updated with the latest skills and tools.

Upskilling employees has become a necessity

Upskill Young Woman Standing Outdoors
Yes, upskilling costs but it also benefits everyone — most notably business owners.
Photo: Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash

It is no more a choice for employers to upskill their staff. In fact, it is the need of the hour. Not only is it required just to remain in the game, upskilling is required by the employees whose jobs are soon going to be replaced by machines and technology.

From the upskilling methods discussed above, choose the one or two that suits you best and buckle up for future challenges. And good luck!

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