How to Upskill and Why it Matters

Updated: Oct 21

​​Has your workplace recently taught you a new skill? The need for new skills are constantly changing, and a skill that was necessary in the workplace a few years ago may not be the case in 2021. We are in the 21st century, and technology is getting more advanced, and as technology evolves, new workplace skills will change.

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2022, 54% of employees will need serious upskilling (SHRM, 2020). By 2025, half of all the employees across the world will need some form of upskilling or reskilling (McDonald, 2021).

Upskilling is a term that many of us may have heard, but what is upskilling? According to Randstad, “upskilling is the process of teaching employees new skills that will aid them in their work” (Randstad, 2019). Upskilling helps employees learn new skills, which will make them more adaptable to the constant changes in their industries (Davis, 2021).


The need for upskilling in home healthcare


The home healthcare industry has evolved in the last years, where complex care and services are being provided. In the beginning, home care services being offered were for wellness or lifestyle diseases, but now with the pandemic, intensive and critical care are in high demand at home. Home healthcare workers need to be consistently enhancing and learning new/current skills to meet the needs of their patients, which are constantly changing. Home healthcare workers need to upskill in providing specialized care, such as geriatric care (Rao, 2021).

The pandemic has contributed to the growing demand for telehealth services in home healthcare. This transition requires staff to learn how to offer safe, accurate, and effective diagnoses (Agrawal et al., 2020). As technology advances, it creates a skills gap, and to address this gap, upskilling is a solution.


Why is upskilling important?


For many employees, upskilling is very important. Research indicates that “53% of the youth are saddened by the lack of internal upskilling in their workplaces” (Lorman Team, 2020). Additionally, employees expect to see and have growth opportunities within their companies.


Upskilling is very important in every industry, like the home care industry. Upskilling shows your employees that they are a valuable part of your company, which helps to reduce turnover and increase retention (Indeed). Not only does upskilling shows employees that their company values them, but it shows that there is a future for them in the organization. It is essential that “companies should know that training their employees is essential to retaining them” (Manalo, 2019). When employees are happy with their job and organization, they work harder and stay with their company, which helps to reduce turnover.


In 2018, the turnover rate in the home care industry reached new and high heights of 82% (Holly, 2020). The demand for home care services is increasing, and by 2026 “as many as 7.8 million caregiving positions projected to sit unfilled” (Bryant, 2019). Many home care agencies are struggling with a staffing crisis, and one solution to this problem is through upskilling.


There are also very few incentives for home healthcare workers to continue to work in this industry. Home healthcare workers, like home health aides, are paid low salaries, their hours are inconsistent, and they face dangerous work. Upskilling can help draw in future employees because your current employees will advocate for your company (Azorín, 2020).


When home care workers enhance their skills or learn new skills, it helps them improve their observations that they were unable to detect before, such as urinary tract infections or shingles rashes (Drake, 2019). When home care workers upskill, it can help to avoid avoidable hospital admissions.

Upskilling training “of more than 6,000 home care workers in California’s In-Home Supportive Services program contributed to a 41 percent decline in the rate of repeat emergency department (ED) visits and a 43 percent decline in the rate of rehospitalization” (Drake, 2019).

Upskilling home care workers can allow them to identify any signs or warnings of worsening conditions of their patients (Drake, 2019).


What are the benefits of upskilling?


There are a plethora of benefits when organizations upskill their employees. Upskilling is cost-effective for a company. It is costly to hire candidates, considering costs like onboarding and recruiting. Hiring new workers can cost around $4,425 (Swanner, 2019). It costs roughly $1,300 to upskill current employees (Swanner, 2019).


Upskilling helps to increase the productivity of your employees. Statistically, “91% of companies say they have seen an increase in employee productivity due to their upskilling efforts” (Lorman Team, 2020). Upskilling also helps build up confidence, which means that employees will speak up if they have an idea.


Furthermore, upskilling will make employees more proactive and will help them “be able to identify solutions before problems become a crisis” (Davis, 2021). Other benefits of upskilling include: increase in motivation, satisfaction, morale, loyalty to the company, efficiency, and a decrease in turnover. When you upskill, it helps to create a positive work culture.

An IBM study illustrates “that new employees are 42% more likely to stay if they are receiving training that helps them do their job better” (Chopra-McGowan, 2021).

How to upskill


To upskill your employees, you must understand where the strengths and weaknesses lie in your employees. Effective upskilling means understanding the skill deficiencies of your employees. Businesses will not “be able to upskill anyone if you don’t know where the starting point is” (Azorín, 2020). Companies can use feedback, like employee engagement surveys or a 360 development tool to identify their employee's strengths and weaknesses.


Once you know the skills that are lacking, then you can provide the necessary training, which can be through seminars, mentoring by managers, webinars, conferences, classroom and online training. We have seen during this pandemic, how remote learning and working remotely has allowed us all to continue to learn. Thanks to the digital world, learning can be accessed anytime and anywhere, making it much more accessible than ever before.


How we can help


Retainify offers a 360 development tool that can help businesses understand the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. With the help of our 360 development tool, companies can identify what upskilling training needs to take place and what to do to improve these gaps.


Retainify is an employee engagement software that offers a unified solution that allows you to track employee sentiment and measure engagement in real-time. Collect employee feedback throughout their employment lifecycle. Proactively identify issues that are preventing them from being their best at work. Improve business outcomes by improving the employee experience, and enhance company culture one feedback at a time. Turn Feedback into Action.


Questions or Feedback?

Contact Us: hello@retainify.com