Upskilling and reskilling internal talent: Where to start?

Is your current workforce skilled enough to handle your organization's needs today and in the future? 64% of companies cite an IT talent shortage as a barrier to growth (compared to 4% in 2020). This is why providing your current employees with upskilling and reskilling initiatives can help your business grow.

Today’s job market is rapidly changing, especially regarding the use of new technologies. If your employees cannot handle today's demands, how can you expect them to meet or exceed the growing technological curve in the future?

You could hire new employees, but recruiting is costly, and you lose productivity while you onboard new hires.

To truly futureproof your business, you must offer upskill and reskill opportunities to current employees. Keep reading to learn how to transform your workforce and futureproof your business by providing internal talent development opportunities for your staff.

Understanding upskilling and reskilling

Creating opportunities for internal talent development (upskilling and reskilling) in your organization is a win-win. It helps individual employees bolster their skills and boost their resumes, and it allows your organization to have more productive and capable employees who help your business keep up with digital transformation. There is a difference between upskilling and reskilling:



What it is

Upskilling is learning new skills to improve one's job performance. 

Reskilling in learning new skills to transition into a new role. 


A software developer takes a course to learn a new coding language or new accessibility guidelines for web development. 

A customer service employee goes back to school to learn about cyber security.

Employee benefit

Upskilled employees may earn higher wages in their current job or earn a promotion.

Upon completing their reskilling, the employee can make a career change.

The business case for upskilling and reskilling

Did you know your employees want reskilling and upskilling opportunities? According to recent data:

  • 74% of your team is willing to upskill to remain employable.
  • 41% say it contributes to their job satisfaction.
  • 76% say a company is more attractive if it provides development opportunities.
  • Employee retention rates rise 30-50% in companies with solid learning and development programs.

Stefan Chekanov, CEO and co-founder of Brosix says there is also a positive relationship between employee engagement and retention in continuous learning cultures.

“If an employee feels they are stagnating in their role, they are less likely to give their best, he says. “However, if they are challenged and feel heard, they can contribute unique ideas and grow personally, which translates into stronger professional performance and thus better engagement and retention.”

Additional data shows the outcomes when an employer invests in upskilling and reskilling for their team:

The alternative to providing internal talent development is to hire someone new with the skills you need. The drawback is that finding and onboarding the right candidate can be time-consuming and costly (costing upwards of 100-200% of the salary of the role).

Example of a successful upskilling and reskilling program

A purposeful upskilling Program had many positive outcomes for a large Canadian automotive company. They knew the benefits of making business decisions based on data-driven insights, but their team didn’t have this skill set.

They approached Lighthouse Labs to create a data analytics course for their staff. They made it open to any employee who wanted to upskill in their current position or reskill to join a different data-focused team within the company.

The staff loved the Program and quickly began applying what they learned across the company. They found it particularly helpful to build real-time dashboards for their team while in the course; many still use them in their job today.

Identifying skills gaps in your organization

We suggest designing a strategic rather than ad hoc learning and development program for your organization.

Many organizations allow each employee to spend a training allowance on any personal or professional development program they want. While this is great for supporting an individual’s personal and career development needs and aspirations, it may not support the organization's goals.

As an employer, if you provide courses for your employees, you need to ensure they learn the skills needed to fill knowledge gaps in the company.

Conducting a skills gap analysis

Conduct a skills gap analysis to better understand your organization’s skills gap. This detailed process gives you a current-state analysis of your operations and helps you plan for the organization's and employees' future needs.

Here are the four steps to conduct a skills gap analysis:

Step 1: Scope planning
Start by identifying the audience scope for your skills gap analysis and learning programs. You can also choose to look at gaps:

  • Within the organization or team as a whole by looking at what would contribute to higher functioning teams with increased performance outcomes.
  • For individuals on your team, identify the skills that would best support their individual performance and career development.

To help identify your staff's individual skills gaps, encourage them to take the Lighthouse Labs Tech Skills Quiz:

Step 2: Identifying missing skills (the gap)
Within the group you’re focusing on, identify the skills that are missing or could be improved. To do this, consider the following:

  • Where are errors or mistakes commonly occurring?
  • What do employees need to do their jobs more efficiently?
  • What new skills, digital tools, or technologies are becoming more important in our industry?
  • What could be done to improve employee satisfaction with their job?
  • Are there any roles we don’t have but anticipate needing in the future?

Step 3: Measure for baselines and goals
After identifying the skills your organization or team needs, develop a benchmark for their existing skills. Look for ways to measure each of the skills. You could determine this through:

  • Employee or customer surveys
  • Counting deliverable outputs (i.e.: number of customers served, cyber threats avoided, leads earned in a digital campaign)
  • Other performance datasets your organization has

This information can help you develop goals for your training and development programs. For example:

  • If you want your HR teams to be more data-driven, provide a data analytics program.
  • If you want your tech team to stay up to date with the latest cyber security threats and countermeasures, provide them with a current cyber security course.

Step 4: Implement your programs
Now that you’ve determined what programs you need, it’s time to develop these courses internally or find an external school, Bootcamp Program, or customized training course to create the internal talent development workshops and classes you need.

When you work with Lighthouse Labs on your talent development, you can:

  • Grow job-ready talent from your current staff (to fill roles internally, faster).
  • Save money compared to external recruitment (increasing your hiring efficiency).
  • Elevate your team’s performance by supporting them to be better at their jobs.
  • Improve the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, making you more attractive to potential candidates.

Book a free consultation with our Internal Talent Development team to learn more about tech talent development options for your team:

Tips for developing an effective upskill and reskill strategy

With thoughtful planning and strategy, your upskilling and reskilling strategy can support individuals’ career development and move your organization forward. Here are four tips for developing a tailored internal talent development strategy:

Create personalized learning paths

Create individualized learning paths for your employees as much as possible. Everyone comes with different skills and experience, and not everyone needs skills upgrading in the same area. Be as inclusive as possible and allow every employee to earn promotions and new roles by learning new skills through your internal talent development programs.

Choose the right employees to reskill and upskill

Not everyone will be as open to learning as others. Some may be doing a good job and happy where they are.

Identify the employees with the drive for personal development and with the potential for more than their current role or skills allow. If you can’t upskill or reskill everyone, these may be the ones to focus on.

Include hard and soft skills development

50% of employers with internal talent development programs include hard (technical) skills and soft skills. Soft skills (like communication, teamwork, leadership, and time management) are transferable and can support employees on any career path they choose. Chekanov believes one of the most important soft skills needed today is emotional intelligence.

“Having emotional intelligence [is] about being able to grow from constructive feedback and grow as a person on a continuous basis to become the best possible version of oneself,” he says. “As a leading indicator of performance, emotional intelligence is essential when managing complex relationships with managers, clients, and teammates.”

At Lighthouse Labs, we teach hard skills and soft skills as we know the importance of both for a well-rounded candidate.

Ask employees for feedback

Even the best-planned learning and development program will fail if your employees are not excited about it. While data shows that only 19% of employees resist training at work, ask your team members what they want to improve about their individual and team performance. Also, ask them about their employment satisfaction and career plans so your learning programs can consider those details.

Their feedback may also say that their managers are the ones who need the upskilling or reskilling. One survey reported that 74% of employees feel this way. Be sure to include all members of your organization in your learning programs, regardless of rank, if the need is identified.

Lighthouse Labs’ solutions for upskilling and reskilling employees

According to recent data, 55% of companies recognize the need for upskilling and reskilling their staff but don’t have the time or internal resources to develop the courses. That’s why Lighthouse Labs offers a variety of technical skills training, off-the-shelf or customized programs to your organization's needs. Our Corporate Training programs help enterprise partners fill critical tech functions faster and cost-effectively.

Or, if you decide it's in your best interest to hire a new employee for one of these roles, you can hire a graduate from one of our programs.

Future-proofing your business with internal talent development

The pandemic taught businesses a valuable lesson about future-proofing their workforce. However, when it comes to tech roles, many don’t have the skills their employer needs to do their job well, given the fast pace of technological advancements.

When your organization provides training and support through upskilling and reskilling, you’re investing in the success of your team and the success and future readiness of your organization.

Invest in your workforce’s development with Lighthouse Labs. We can help you prepare your new, adaptable workforce for today's demands and your future goals.