Upskilling is the process of continually upgrading the skills of your staff to replace those that are no longer relevant to the working environment. Deloitte has argued essential skills in the workplace only last for five years. With the lifespan of skills in rapid decline, there are now higher demands on businesses to equip their teams with the necessary tools for success.
A company’s ability to upskill, or its capacity for training and developing its employees to expand their skillsets, creates a significant competitive advantage in our increasingly technology-driven world. In fact, according to McKinsey, “to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now.” Here’s why.
1. The nature of jobs is evolving
Digital innovations are affecting every company and nearly every employee. Automation has made many jobs obsolete, but has also replaced them with new roles requiring new skills. Those who could do their jobs without strong technical abilities just a couple of years ago must now use an array of technology tools in their everyday tasks. Finding and developing people with digital business skills is not just a priority in IT, but across most organisations.
2. Employee retention
Another reason upskilling is becoming urgent for employers is because newer professionals aren’t going to be satisfied in their jobs if they’re not given serious opportunities to learn. In a Robert Half and Enactus survey of Generation Z workers (born 1990-1999), 91% cited professional training as an important factor when choosing an employer. It’s not just Gen Z employees, either – smart professionals of all ages know they need to be continually developing their skills if they want to stay professionally relevant and employable.
3. Employee motivation and morale
This goes hand in hand with employee retention, as teams with various learning and development opportunities will have higher workplace morale. Not only will it provide more comfort in their working environment, but it also empowers employees in their roles and promotes a more positive outlook on their future within the company. Upskilling your workforce paves the way for career advancement and provides a more profound sense of purpose within your organisation.
4. Attracting new talent
According to recent skills gap research, 83% of HR professionals reported having difficulty recruiting and, of those, 75% said there was a shortage of the required skills in candidates for job openings. Learning and development opportunities will provide you with access to a broader talent pool when searching for new hires. That's because these opportunities are attractive for job seekers who want to advance their careers and expand existing skill sets. Additionally, providing opportunities to upskill also helps establish a sharper brand image within the market. By supporting your team’s learning and development, they will serve as strong brand ambassadors for your company.
5. Customer satisfaction
Upskilling helps keep your team up to date on relevant industry trends, insights and technologies, which in turn adds huge value to the customer experience. With a more knowledgeable, engaged and skilled team, you will find they have a better understanding of who your customers are, where you can find them and how you can tailor your business to better provide a service to them.
6. Company culture
Instilling a culture of active learning will help your company be more responsive and prepared for the ever-changing nature of today’s employment landscape. Forward-thinking companies that consider what they want their staff to learn and what training and development methods are best for their goals reap the benefits with employees who are better at their jobs, more motivated and more likely to remain with the company. Upskilling facilitates an improved company culture and brand reputation - and that can only ever be a good thing.
7. Boosting your bottom line
Though upskilling programmes can cost money, they also provide strong ROI. For one thing, it’s often easier and cheaper to address the skills gaps in your company by training your current employees than to go out and hire new ones. For another, employees who feel like they don’t have the opportunity to grow and progress at their current company tend to leave. That means you have to replace them, and incur not only the costs involved in the recruitment and hiring process, but also the time it takes to train the new person once they’re on the job, and the loss of knowledge and experience the former employee took with them when they left. It makes financial and practical sense to nurture and upskill the talent you already have.
How can we help?
If you're looking for exceptional new talent in Surrey, we can help. Here's how we can work with your business to support your recruitment as an extension of your HR team. You can call us on 01932 355000 or email email@example.com.