Is Retraining A Good Practice? An Objective View


The business environment across industries is highly dynamic and ever-evolving. Industry regulations, workplace policies, and technologies are rapidly evolving in response to these active changes, making it difficult for organizations to stay competitive and afloat. 

The only way companies can navigate this continuously evolving business landscape is by helping their employees improve their skills and facilitate the acquisition of entirely new competencies in a short span of time. Providing employees with opportunities to improve their skills/learn new skills also helps enhance employee loyalty, increase employee engagement, and improve productivity. 

Most organizations, these days, provide training to new hires immediately after their joining to equip them with the competencies essential for them to perform their tasks in their assigned role. However, little heed is paid to the existing employees which, in turn, decreases the overall performance of the organization. Retraining your employees is important because it equips them with the skills required to cope with changed job conditions. But, is it a recommended approach? Let’s find out! 

Difference between Retraining, Reskilling, and Upskilling

The terms retraining, reskilling, and upskilling are, often, used interchangeably. Although closely related, the terms have different meanings and it is imperative to understand what is retraining and how is it different from reskilling and upskilling to ensure you are making an informed decision. 

Retraining employees refers to the periodic training provided to refresh the knowledge/skills of employees to keep them abreast of the technological and other changes in the workplace.

On the other hand, reskilling is the training provided to employees skilled in one field, to equip them with the skills required to work in a new department or role.

Upskilling is the training provided to the employees in their existing roles to help them improve their performance.

Advantages of Retraining

Now let’s look at some of the benefits that retraining offers to an organization and its employees. 

  • Retraining helps update the employees’ skills to match the changed requirements of the job due to technological advances or changes in workplace practices. Retraining employees for the most in-demand competencies in the industry helps enhance the employees’ professional skills, making them feel valued and engaged. 
  • Usually, retraining programs are targeted at achieving improved product or service quality by enhancing the skill/knowledge levels of the employees. Retraining programs enable the organization to achieve enhanced customer satisfaction by delivering superior product quality and services. 
  • Employee retraining helps address safety concerns by eliminating/reducing workplace mistakes that could be attributed to knowledge/skill gaps of employees. 
  • Retraining employees on new technologies and improved work practices help raise the productivity levels in the organization.  
  • Conducting retraining, helps employees gain a fresh perspective on improved ways of doing the job, and brings consistency in job performance across the organization. 
  • When an organization offers to retrain, it conveys to the employees that their work is valued – raising their engagement and motivation levels, improving retention, and reducing turnover. 
  • Retraining helps build a professionally skilled workforce that gives the organization an edge over the competition. 
  • Time spent assessing skill gaps, training requirements, and designing retraining modules allows the organization to evaluate the levels of competency within. This provides the organization with insights into the areas of improvement they should work on to become more efficient and productive. 

Retraining: The Drawbacks

Retraining is not without its downsides. The disadvantages of retraining include:

  • Employees need to take time off from their regular duties to undergo retraining. This interrupts/disturbs the regular operations in the firm. 
  • Retraining involves expending additional financial resources on the retraining program.
  • Retraining programs are initiated to improve employees’ efficiency and productivity. However, no retraining program can guarantee success and the retraining program could end up as a wasted investment. 
  • The induction of fresh talent is essential to keep the organization competitive. Retraining of existing employees reduces the intake of fresh talent. This could harm the organization in the long term since blocking the entry of fresh talent also blocks out differing perspectives and new ideas. 

Why Is Opting For Retraining Recommended? 

Retraining should not be viewed as a cost, but as an investment in enhancing the performance of the employees that will, in turn, aid in the organization’s growth. Retraining also helps enhance employee engagement, motivation, and productivity. Investing in retraining your workforce, signals the organization’s concern in bettering employees’ professional skills, which leads to reduced turnover and lowered attrition. Retraining older employees helps them become current with the new requirements of the job. It helps reduce the skill gaps between the various employees – enhancing the overall skill levels in the organization. 

When should employees be retrained?

Retraining involves an investment of time, money, and effort. It is, therefore, important that the time when the employees are to be retrained is decided and planned well in advance. The circumstances that necessitate employee retraining include:

  • If, during performance reviews, the organization assesses that the employees lack some essential skills.
  • Whenever the organization inducts new technology. 
  • When new work practices or policies are instituted in the organization.  
  • Launching a new business vertical or business strategy requires existing employees and new hires to be retrained for the required skills. 

Making Retraining More Effective

Retraining is undertaken to improve the skill levels of employees for specific job-related goals. The effectiveness of the retraining process can be improved by:

  • Accurately defining the intention and goal of the retraining. This will help the organization and the employees understand the purpose of the retraining – encouraging them to focus on acquiring the required skills/knowledge.
  • Ascertain the need for retraining and direct the retraining program to the concerned department. This will ensure that the retraining fits the department’s requirements.
  • Ensure that the program delivery is interactive and engaging. Interactions enable enhanced peer-to-peer learning and the exchange of best practices. 
  • Monitor and track the impact of retraining during performance evaluation of employees. Recognize the employees who achieve or exceed the targeted retraining goals. This motivates the others to raise their game – raising overall retraining effectiveness. 

Final Thoughts

Employee retraining serves to refresh and reinforce the employee’s existing skills and to equip them with new skills required to perform efficiently in the changed conditions at work. Periodic retraining helps organizations guard against employee obsolescence. 

An effective retraining program can provide your business with the means to maintain a competitive edge by ensuring improved employee skills, enhanced productivity, better workplace safety, and greater employee loyalty. 
If you are interested in learning more about developing an effective retraining program in your organization, book a FREE demo with Auzmor Learn – an award-winning, intuitive, and robust employee training platform.

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