BlogLearning & Development

Upskilling vs Reskilling Employees: What's the Difference?

Jamie Olson
VP of People & Culture
Learning & Development
October 16, 2023

Upskilling or reskilling? Delve into the distinctions, understand their significance, and learn how to effectively implement both in your organization.

Cultivate a Culture of Learning

Welcome back to the Continu blog! Today, we're tackling another hot topic in the HR world: the differences between upskilling and reskilling employees.

Upskilling is about adding new skills to an employee's existing skill set, while reskilling focuses on teaching new skills for a different role or task.

Knowing when to apply each can be a game-changer for your organization.

Let's dive in!

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is about growing. It helps employees get better at what they already do. It's like adding more tools to an already full toolbox.

Key Takeaways:

  • Enhances current skills
  • Boosts job performance
  • Employee-led

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What is Reskilling?

Reskilling is about change. It helps employees switch roles or tasks. It's like getting a new toolbox for a different job.

Key Takeaways:

  • New skill sets
  • Role change
  • Employer-led

According to a 2021 study by BCG, almost 70% of employees are aware of upcoming industry changes that would make them willing to reskill and stay competitively employed.

Upskilling vs Reskilling: Key Differences

  1. Focus: Upskilling enhances; reskilling changes.
  2. Initiative: Upskilling is often employee-led; reskilling is employer-led.
  3. Outcome: Upskilling boosts job performance; reskilling prepares for a new role.

Why Both Are Important for Talent Development

Both upskilling and reskilling are vital for talent development. They help keep employees engaged and prepare them for future challenges.


Understanding the nuances between upskilling and reskilling can significantly impact your talent development strategy. Both are essential tools in the modern workplace.

At Continu, we're committed to helping you make the most of your talent development strategy.

Our modern Learning Management System is designed to support both upskilling and reskilling initiatives. With easy-to-use features and customizable content, we make it simple for you to equip your employees with the skills they need for today and tomorrow.

Choose Continu to elevate your talent development game.

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About the Author
Jamie Olson, VP of People & Culture at Continu
Jamie Olson
VP of People & Culture

Jamie Olson is the VP of People and Culture at Continu, a leading Learning Management System (LMS) company. With almost 20 years of experience in Human Resources, Jamie brings a wealth of knowledge in areas such as Learning and Development, Employee Training, Talent Management, and Performance Management. She's passionate about creating environments that foster learning and growth, and she's an expert in leveraging technology to enhance HR processes. Jamie's insights are grounded in her extensive experience and her commitment to helping organizations cultivate a culture of continuous improvement.

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