In today’s ever-changing world, companies must invest in the learning and development (L&D) of their employees to remain competitive. Not only does upskilling benefit the company’s bottom line, but it also has a positive impact on employee mental health and well-being. Here we’ll explore the power of learning and development for employee mental health and how upskilling can improve well-being.

For the unfamiliar, “upskilling” is teaching employees new skills or enhancing their existing skill set, which can help them perform their current roles more effectively or prepare them for future roles. This training employs various means, such as workshops, classes, online learning modules or on-the-job training. Upskilling is becoming more important in today’s rapidly changing job market as technology evolves and the demand for certain skills shifts. By investing in upskilling, companies can help ensure their workforce remains competitive, engaged and productive.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, employee development and training and increased benefits and compensation are two of the factors tied to remaining competitive in this job market. In other words, employees want to feel like they are continuously learning and growing in their role and are fairly compensated for their work. Therefore, investing in employee L&D not only benefits the employees but also benefits the company through higher job satisfaction, increased retention and improved productivity.

Employees want to feel safe, heard and connected at work while being challenged to grow within and outside their current skill set. One study shows that 81% of respondents would carefully consider their mental health as a factor when choosing their next workplace.

Mental Health Benefits of Employee Upskilling

Here are six ways upskilling employees can improve employee mental health and workplace wellness:

  1. Expanding comfort zones: One way that upskilling benefits employee mental health is by challenging individuals to step out of their comfort zones and try new things. When employees are stagnant in their roles without opportunities for growth, they can become bored and disengaged. This lack of stimulation can lead to feelings of apathy and demotivation, and ultimately, negatively impact their mental health. When companies invest in upskilling opportunities, like coaching and mentoring, they can provide employees opportunities to learn new skills and expand their knowledge, which can lead to increased engagement and a renewed sense of purpose.
  2. Encouraging adaptability and resilience: Upskilling also gives employees the tools they need to adapt to changing work environments. With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), the job market is constantly evolving, and jobs that were once in demand may become obsolete. By investing in upskilling, employees are better equipped to adapt to these changes and remain relevant in their fields. This realization can provide employees with a sense of security and reduce anxiety and stress caused by the uncertainty of the economy.
  3. Boosting confidence: Another way upskilling can improve employee well-being is by boosting confidence and self-esteem. Employees who gain new skills and knowledge may feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities. This boost in confidence can lead to improved work performance, increased initiative and a positive outlook on life. Confidence and self-esteem also help employees respond better to feedback, as they are more likely to view it as an opportunity for growth rather than a personal attack.
  4. Increasing job satisfaction: Upskilling can provide employees with greater job satisfaction as they are given the opportunity to take on new challenges and responsibilities. Job satisfaction has been linked to improved well-being, as individuals who are satisfied with their jobs are less likely to experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. Therefore, investing in upskilling can help reduce the risk of mental health problems in the workplace.
  5. Continuous learning: When employees are continuously learning and developing new skill sets, they’re better equipped to perform their roles efficiently and effectively, thus making an impact to the business. Employees who lack the skills to perform their duties effectively are more likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed. According to the World Health Organization, work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope. Therefore, upskilling can help employees feel confident in their roles and like they’re contributing to business success.
  6. Fostering a sense of purpose: Upskilling can offer employees a sense of purpose and direction in their careers. When employees feel they are working towards a larger goal, they are more likely to stay motivated and engaged in their roles. This sense of purpose can lead to increased job satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment in work, ultimately improving well-being.

Looking Ahead

Upskilling is a powerful tool that can be used to improve not only productivity and business outcomes, but also employees’ mental health and well-being. By providing employees with opportunities to learn and grow in their roles, companies can help reduce work-related stress, improve job satisfaction and create a sense of purpose and direction in their careers. Employers should, however, stay in tune with workers’ morale because mental health is a serious concern, and upskilling may not always be the solution. Be sure to alert your company health officer or human resources department if an employee needs extra mental health support.

When it comes to employee mental health, upskilling is an investment in not only your employees but also the company’s overall success. In return, you’ll see increased productivity, rising profits and, best of all, satisfied employees who feel recognized and appreciated.