SmartRecruiters Blog

How Upskilling, Reskilling & Continuous Learning Can Help Retain Talent

Education is a lifelong activity. Employers that recognize and embrace this truth by investing in the ongoing development of their employees stand to benefit in numerous ways.

Retaining talent is a surprising struggle today. In fact, 82% of employees said a lack of progression would influence their decision to leave a company, and progression comes in many forms.

People are expecting more from their employers than ever before, and if they don’t get it they’re confident enough to walk away from a role and find an employer that empowers them better. 

What’s more, salary isn’t enough today. The truth is, it’s not always what someone is looking for to keep them with a company. In fact, among engineers, Codility found that work culture, professional growth, and using the newest technologies all outranked salary and benefits for contributing factors of a dream employer. Salary is important, certainly, but employees need more. 


Upskilling, reskilling, and continuous learning opportunities can help you retain the talent you deserve. In this article, we’ll explore all of the above and how you can use these opportunities to help your retention strategy

Short on time? Jump straight to what you’re looking for: 

What Is Upskilling, Reskilling & Continuous Learning?

Upskilling is facilitating employee skills and building on their foundations. It usually requires further training or education opportunities for employees to grow in their field of expertise. 

Upskilling is initiated through mentoring programs, online courses, workshops, or other micro-learning opportunities. 

These don’t necessarily need to come at a great lift and can be something as simple as pair programming within the coding industry, for example. Codility found that developers that code together, develop ideas quicker in the implementation phase, have fewer bugs, and contribute positively to the overall success and wellbeing of an engineering team.  


Reskilling is training current employees on new skill sets; this can come from a few angles. Perhaps the employee has shown interest in another department or career path. Or, perhaps, new roles and technologies are emerging that would fit someone perfectly. 

Reskilling is usually hosted within the company, using on-site training or remote options for distributed companies. 

Continuous learning is a combination of upskilling, reskilling, and newskilling. It’s an opportunity for employees to learn in every aspect of their work. Whether that’s via an external resource or by providing them internal options, an employee’s knowledge will always be expanding.

This area of your business’ learning and development program should encompass soft and hard skills. Be prepared to constantly upgrade your hard skill “catalog,” whereas your soft skills tend to have a longer shelf-life for employees. 

What Are the Perks of Upskilling, Reskilling & Continuous Learning?

Talent retention is just one of the contributing factors to having a continuous learning strategy in your company. This strategy will also help: 

  • Attract talent
  • Disrupt & innovate 
  • Adopt new technologies & trends 
  • Increase cross-team collaborations
  • Boost team morale  
  • Increase customer satisfaction 
  • Foster agility & adaptability 

Lastly, this education option can help a company save money, and time spent looking for new human resources—especially in times of great change. 

The M1 Team

For example: when M1 Limited, a telecommunications company, started to accelerate digital transformation initiatives, they used Codility to identify and map out internal skills and talent. Next, they reskilled that talent, transitioning over 100 engineers to different internal teams and roles.  

How Can Learning Opportunities Help To Retain Talent?

There are a few ways this initiative can help retain talent. If you’re looking to build a business case to introduce upskilling, reskilling, and continuous learning opportunities to your L&D programs then look no further. 

  • It builds employee trust. By placing trust in employees with responsibility, trust eventually begins to run both ways. 
  • It maintains employee engagement. Engaged employees generate 2.5x more revenue in comparison to disengaged employees. 
  • It shows you’re open to employee growth. A huge retention and acquisition strategy is introducing employee growth plans on day one. Upskilling and reskilling opportunities are a tactic within that plan.  
  • Eradicates glass ceilings. Glass ceilings are a thing of the past. Someone shouldn’t walk into your company feeling like they can only climb so high because they did not have the privilege of going to college— for whatever reason. 

By eradicating the glass ceiling, your company becomes more inclusive of all people and their backgrounds. 

  • It promotes employee empowerment. Research of over 30,000 individuals shows that employee empowerment leads to better workplace performance, improved organizational behavior, and greater creativity.
  • It shows you’re invested. There’s no better feeling for an employee than knowing an employer is as invested in them as they are with their employer. 

By introducing upskilling, reskilling, and continuous learning to employees, your business is actively showing you care about its people and their careers. 

In Closing

Education is constant. It is not something that stops in our 20s, wraps things up, and calls it a day. Opportunities to learn come every minute in our personal and professional lives. It’s an employer’s responsibility to introduce structured learning opportunities in the workplace. 

Continuous learning is also not something that’s limited to office space. Employers need to support teams from a distance and identify ways to introduce L&D initiatives globally— no matter whether employees are sitting in a digital or physical workspace.

Use tools like SmartRecruiters, Codility, and human resources templates within Typeform to not only hire and onboard great talent but retain it. Offer people a long-term, professional development plan to keep them engaged, constantly growing, and satisfied with where they’re at in their personal and professional lives.

Ray Slater Berry

Ray Slater Berry is a freelance writer for Codility.