2023 Talent Trends: The ROI of upskilling your people

the roi of upskilling your people

Training and upskilling programs have become a significant differentiator for companies seeking to attract and retain top talent. While more companies are open to investing in educational programming for their staff, the most common question is how to gauge a return on investment

To determine an adequate ROI for employee upskilling programs, a company must first create a thoughtful assortment of programming that suits the unique needs of its employees. Investing thousands of dollars in upskilling courses that are out of touch with existing skills gaps and employee interests is a waste of resources.

Once companies understand what works and what doesn’t, they can direct investments in a way that maximizes impact for both employees and the organization at large.

upskilling roi for employees


Do employees want to participate in training and upskilling programs?


Employee training and upskilling programs have moved from “nice to have” to business critical.

Last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), the world’s second-largest professional services provider, published Upskilling Hopes and Fears 2021, a survey of 32,517 individuals. Respondents included salaried and hourly workers, business owners, contractors, students, unemployed people looking for work, and furloughed employees.

Data from the respondents illustrated that employees willingly partake in upskilling programs when offered the opportunity – whether as an independent investment or an employer provision. The survey was conducted at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when large populations of employees began to work from home and quickly transitioned to a full-time or hybrid work-from-home schedule. This required workers at all levels to learn new digital technologies and reskill themselves amid a period of great disruption.


upskilling stats


Pathstream’s scalable upskilling and training programs can help combat the residual effects of “The Great Resignation” and attract top talent. Click here to learn more.


How can a company measure employee upskilling ROI?

Companies will also need to decide how to gauge the ROI of the upskilling programs. Beyond simple numbers, this unique mix of metrics will vary depending on the industry, size, annual revenue, and mission statement. Still, it will typically follow the organization’s long-term objectives and core values.


Training and upskilling typically yield improvements in four critical areas:


Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a critical driver of company success and is just one of the positive side effects of a thoughtful upskilling program. Employees typically view the provision of these programs as a company’s tangible investment in their careers and will think more highly of their employer. Increased engagement also leads to higher productivity, which can yield greater profits.


Employee Retention

Employee retention is one of the greatest challenges after the COVID-19 pandemic and the proliferation of the work-from-home culture. According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, an employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, monthly staff resignations has consistently remained above 4 million since September 2021. By February 2022, there were approximately 11.3 million job openings, 4.4 million resignations, and 6.7 million hires.

Compared to previous years, these numbers are staggering, pushing many employers to explore upskilling as a new strategy to retain and enrich their existing workforce.

similar study published by LinkedIn in 2020 reports that 94% of employees surveyed said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Considering the sizable cost of recruitment and training for new employees, investments in upskilling programs are an attractive solution to combat and reduce resignations.


Productivity & Profitability

Understanding the correlation between productivity and profitability is the key to your company’s success. The overall productivity of a company’s workforce is directly tied to profits. When employees, the foundation of every business, are distracted, unengaged, underskilled, or lack motivation, profits tend to suffer.


Innovation & Onboarding

The pace of innovation accelerates as online and AI-driven technologies become more sophisticated. Upskilling programs can improve agility, a valuable trait that helps employees adapt to new processes more quickly and incorporate new technologies into their workflows.

Onboarding a new program can devour precious hours and disrupt productivity. Still, employees with a greater foundational knowledge of modern technologies related to their organizational role will spend less time learning new, innovative systems. Employees may also exhibit greater confidence in their role as learning new programs and systems becomes increasingly intuitive.

To track broader returns on investment from upskilling employees, companies may consider regularly surveying participants to see how they’ve applied what they learned and convene with their manager or team leader to assess if there were any noticeable improvements in productivity, morale, and overall performance. Once a company understands what works and what doesn’t, it can further customize upskill programming to best suit users and organizational goals.


Pathstream can help you invest in meaningful upskilling programs for your organization.

Pathstream has built digital skills programs that are scalable, interactive, and flexible for all levels of experience. This is why our completion rates are typically 75%, roughly 33 percentage points higher than the industry average. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to complete an upskilling program, leading to a more qualified and skilled workforce with the confidence needed to achieve an organization’s goals.

Contact us today to learn more about how Pathstream can make a difference at your company.


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