Upskilling Employees

Proven ways a manager can ensure success in upskilling employees

Adapting and coping with new and different situations has always been crucial to human existence, and we have been doing it since the beginning of time to meet the needs of the present situation. Upskilling is no different from adapting. Every manager on the professional front has, at some point, felt their team is not on top of the game or is not adequate to take on challenges head-on, but every manager can deal with this inhibition by upskilling employees. Developing new skills is more critical than ever because the world is shifting to digital platforms, which has widened the gap between employees’ skills and the ones they need to succeed. 

What does upskilling mean?

Upskilling is a process wherein one acquires additional education or training to build upon and advance skills. Upskilling, in simple terms, is learning new skills or upgrading their skill set to grow as professionals in the ever-changing market. Upskilling is a continuous learning process for all employees to fill skill gaps and advance their careers.

Upskilling can mean different things to different employees; a few motivators of upskilling can be:

  • To enhance or upgrade their knowledge about a specific topic or system.
  • To improve their performance in the company.
  • To prepare for increment or promotion.

Why is it essential for managers to upskill their teams?

Upskilling employees is crucial to team performance and the success of any organization. Upskilling helps employees to learn new skills and increase their capabilities to perform effectively in a competitive environment. By upskilling employees, managers give them tools to function, participate in team meetings fairly and effectively, and motivate employees to learn new skills. In addition, learning new skills creates challenges for team members, increases engagement and satisfaction at the workplace, and encourages development.

Upskilling employees has many advantages for managers. The two-way beneficial aspect makes it more crucial for employees and managers to engage in the development and training process. Some benefits of Upskilling are:

Learn new soft skills

Soft skills are a vital aspect that helps the growth of team members professionally and personally. Only some individuals who are good at their work have adequate soft skills. Completing daily tasks is one of many roles of an employee. Employees must also find ways to connect with their co-workers and should be able to produce the best work with trust, respect, and patience. It can only be done when employees have the required soft skills.

Learn new technologies

It is integral to be at par with the technological knowledge in the given scenario; it can’t be compensated with any other skill. A lack of technical skills can create insecurity among the employees, and to deal with that, managers should regularly give training for new technologies.

Increase Productivity

With the help of training and development programs, new skills are learned by the teams, which helps them in working efficiently, and it increases the productivity of the group as a whole. Upskilling employees allows to take on challenges and cater to their professional and personal growth.

Develop Confidence

During the training and development program, the trainers help the employees upgrade their skills, learn new technologies, and make them familiar with changes in the industry. Successful training helps in instilling confidence amongst the employees to face any challenge.

Engage Team Members

Upskilling employees is a wonderful way of engaging them. The manager’s responsibility is to upskill their employees and give them the training and development they need based on their requirements. Upskilling not only reduces the skill gap but also creates an environment of learning wherein individuals thrive, give their best, and contribute by providing quality work.

Five ways managers can use to upskill their team members

Ask for feedback

The easiest and most effective way to start the upskilling process is by considering the concerns and feedback of team members. That can be done by asking simple questions such as:

  • What skills do you need to work on to become a more efficient employee?
  • Which skills will make you more competent and productive on the job?
  • What are the skills team members want to learn or develop?

Assess the current skills

Managers can help their teams in skill development by assessing and monitoring them, monthly employee reviews will give an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the team members, and this report should be used to upskill the teams based on their personal needs to grow and develop.

Create a learning culture

To implement a learning culture in an organization, managers must understand the importance of learning new skills. The learning culture can be created by: 

  • Managers should organize weekly activities which help in learning new skills.
  • Managers should arrange continuous training and development programs.
  • Encourage taking up professional developmental courses or diplomas.
  • Bring in professional trainers for skill development.
  • Conduct seminars and workshops to develop theoretical and practical knowledge.

Connect employees with mentors

Mentors can guide employees to understand their strengths and weaknesses; they can help employees see their shortcomings and find possible solutions to overcome them. Employees can learn new skills in the process and can refine their working styles. The mentorship of an experienced individual will help the team to learn feasible ways of working efficiently. Guidance by a mentor can help employees channel their careers in the right direction by learning new skills. 

Encourage self-training

Self-training is the most critical step to upskilling. The team members have to hold themselves accountable for their learning. They will have to work on themselves and evaluate their progress. Teams must take responsibility for learning and track their progress to develop new skills. This will not only help in upskilling employees but will also boost confidence when they can track how far they have come. While working on upskilling their skill set, if the team members face difficulty, they should reach out to their managers for guidance and help.

Reward Growth

Managers should reward internal and external achievements made by the team members to show support for learning and development. By appreciating and celebrating the teams accomplishments, the managers positively reinforce a culture of upskilling employees in the company. Rewards are also a reinforcer for unmotivated employees to learn and develop new skills.

Guiding and Coaching

Managers can upskill their employees by continuously tracking their performance and guiding them based on their performance. Managers can provide coaching to their employees by letting them observe and understand how they approach new tasks and deal with difficult situations. Managers should share some effective tips with the employees, which will make the upskilling process easier.

5 Simple steps Managers can use to plan out upskilling process of team members

Assess their present skills

Managers should create team members’ personalized skill profiles to measure their capabilities and skills in the current job market. It will help managers to track the progress in the future and will help the team members to understand the areas they need to work on.

Assess the skills required in the next 5 years for your job

To upskill team members, the manager must identify the expected changes in their industry, consider the future goals of the team, and critically analyze them to start the upskilling process.

Set upskilling goals based on their present and future skill requirements

When managers compare team members’ present skills and required skills, they will be able to see the skill gap, and that gap will help in planning the upskilling process. Therefore, based on the skill gap, goals should be made.

Evaluate what learning format works for your team members

The training program and goals will be based on the requirements of every individual; everybody needs to consider different aspects like time, money, and resources to carry out this step. Based on the feasibility, managers should sign up team members for courses, seminars, or workshops that work best for them based on their requirements.

Track the team’s progress consistently

Once team members start the upskilling process, managers should track every progress; it will help to work on the areas which need more improvement and polishing. Tracking the progress will also boost confidence and motivate the team members to keep pursuing the upskilling process.

If, as a manager, you are facing problems in upskilling yourself and are finding it challenging to plan the process, we are just a click away to help you become the best version of yourself at work. Sign up at Risely today to learn and grow as successful managers with the help of customized solutions for your problems.


It is certain that when managers help employees upskill themselves, it will reflect the overall growth of the individual and the team. Upskilling employees promotes productivity, quality of work, employee engagement, and team development. By following some of the points mentioned above, managers can help their team members become better at carrying out their roles and responsibilities and can motivate the team members to keep upskilling. 

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