Upskilling: A Simple Guide In 5 Points


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of upskilling is to provide a person with advanced skills through additional pieces of training. For a person to upskill is to acquire advanced skills, why are rigorous training and programs. It helps in improving job skills, which is highly recommended for a person working incorporates.

  1. What is upskilling?
  2. Why upskilling is key for the future of work
  3. 7 Ways to upskill your workforce
  4. Digital upskilling
  5. Upskill courses

1. What is upskilling?

The term upskilling is generally associated with the workplace trend, which facilitates the concept of continuous learning with the help of designed programs and training sessions like virtual or online courses, mentoring and shadowing or microlearning for expanding the employee’s capabilities and reducing the gaps in skills. Digital up-skilling, organizational transformation upskilling, selling upskilling is analytical upskill are few upskilling examples.

2. Why upskilling is key for the future of work

The skillset in an employee is the most valuable asset across the modern workplace. They help in making the organization more profitable and also productive. They constantly help the organization to lead the industry by grabbing advanced opportunities. 

Every organization has deployed and integrated technology with its business operations. Due to rapid changes in these technologies, a company and its employees must respond to these changes by constantly adding and levelling up the technical knowledge. Consequently, to fill this gap, upskilling is used as the best choice by the companies. 

Up-skilling is a cheap way of making the workplace up to date instead of hiring new talents at a high cost. On the other hand, the employees also get the guarantee of their jobs, feel more valued, and are comfortable in their workplace. 

In a nutshell, upskilling is essential to fill the job roles and requirements that are changing rapidly, retain the employee, decrease recruitment, fill skill gaps, and give employees more satisfaction and motivation.

3. 7 Ways to upskill your workforce

To identify how the skill gaps can be filled, an organization must develop an upskilling strategy. In this strategy, the company must first identify the skill gaps currently manifested in the organization. On identifying the skill gaps, the organization needs to create or select the training programs that are fit for their upskilling programs. Also, they must consider the short and long-term impacts of their upskilling efforts. The following are different ways by which upskilling employees can be achieved.

  1. Learning and development program by the Creation of personalized upskilling programs based on analysis of upskilling strategy. Designing specific training sessions for one or one to many, mentoring and coaching, post-secondary courses, self-starters, etc.
  2. Moving employees from one job to another is called job rotation,n which is a great way to transfer skills and knowledge. 
  3. Considering job enlargement where additional activities are to be performed by the same person can enhance the competencies and skills and build additional experience.
  4. Integrating peer networks helps in refining, expanding, and building skill sets along with solving each other’s problems within the workplace.
  5. Another valuable alternative is a peer mentoring and peer coaching where personal experiences and interactions with colleagues exchanged which helps and the transfer of skin effects and knowledge. It can be done through a formal training program or an informal discussion under a standard operating procedure.
  6. Offering supplemental free resources for individuals who want to upskill themselves.
  7. Outsourcing or hiring specialists and experts to train the employees.

4. Digital upskilling

According to the World Economic Forum report, it is probable that almost half of the global workforce will either expand or replace the current skills by 2020. This has made digital upskilling an important topic for discussion. Digital skills depend on the role and include knowing computer skills, using software, basic programming, information technology, etc. Recently Amazon announced a $700 million initiative to improve the digital skills of its workforce. Companies like PWC and IBM are also deliberately making efforts to increase the digital skills of their workforce.

5. Upskill courses

Upskill courses can be virtual live online classes or can be delivered through lectures physically by an expert. A wide variety of upskill courses can be found on the internet, providing free resources for virtual training.

  • Ups-kill project examples (case study)

Let us have a look at a few real-life upskilling projects.

  • An integrated project drive of Brightwork with Amazon. It has made Amazon grow in more than 30 countries with 285 groups. Brightwork enables the groups to manage their project successfully by giving them additional features like task tracking and visibility.
  • Arka foods in Denmark is also one such example that has invested in the development of the skill of its workforce so that it can create a competitive advantage.
  • Skilled Up is a company that provides training and development programs to skill up sales consultants. 
  • PWC has developed digital fitness by including data analytics, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and design thinking in their domain. PWC has made upskilling strategies to create the company’s core business.


Up-skilling ensures that the skillsets of the current employees are constantly improved and they advanced in their jobs, can readily accept and exploit the opportunities within the organization. This is not only helpful for professionals but also for a learner to improve his personal life.

Are you interested in learning more about Analytics in Workforce Management? Take a look at our People Analytics and Digital HR program, in collaboration with IIM Indore. This is a 3-month long program with instructor-led sessions by IIM-I faculty.



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