Forward thinking is a hugely valuable skill in business, helping companies successfully pre-empt problems that may be lurking around the corner. One of the most effective preemptive strategies is upskilling employees, but while some are put off by the costs associated with it, the investment generally proves worthwhile.
The recruitment landscape has changed dramatically thanks to the growing reliance companies have on technology. Being technologically up-to-date is almost a fleeting status, causing roles within a company to become dated more quickly than ever before. And because knowing how to make the most of developments is key to keeping up with competitors, there is little choice but to ensure personnel are adequately ‘in the know’.
But simply casting off the old and recruiting the new is not a realistic (or fair) option, so finding a way to keep up is essential – and upskilling employees is the best of them. There are several methods to do so:
- Offer online courses paid for by the company
- Develop a mentoring initiative, where the most experienced take the least experienced under the wings
- Promote government-sponsored programmes
- Actively encourage education and training
The drawback is the cost of investing in upskilling programmes which can cost in the thousands per employee, depending on the method and course opted for. But as with any investment, the initial outlay for upskilling can prove to be a fraction of the payback.
4 Outcomes That Make Upskilling Employees Worthwhile
- Lower Employee Turnover
- Highlights Career Advancement Opportunities
- Raises Enthusiasm, Sharpens Performance
- Retains Work’s Social Capital Value
Employee turnover is one of the great banes of business. If it’s not just a matter of having to find a replacement, it’s the damage it does with teams weakened and pressure increased. Then there is the cost of recruiting new people, something which some research estimates to be as much as 9-months’ of the position’s salary. So, if upskilling employees helps to lower turnover, it also means a lot in savings.
Statistics already show that employees want to know they have opportunities for career advancement at work. In fact, according to Gallup’s 2016 report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, a hugely significant number of Millennials (87%) rate ‘professional or career growth and development opportunities’ as important in a job. Fewer non-Millennials feel the same way, though it is still an impressive 69%. Not having an upskilling or career development programme, therefore, can be a hindrance when recruiting new talent in the first place.
The modern employee wants more than just a paycheck; they also want to be appreciated and supported. It’s not simply a matter of advancement, but that knowing they are trusted to take on new challenges and responsibilities. Globoforce’s 2017 survey revealed the chief reason US workers stayed with their company was that they found their work meaningful. Some 32% gave it as their primary reason, with the next largest reason (the compensation) number one for 24%.
Offering development programmes show a confidence in existing staff to develop the new skills and competencies necessary to progress the company. In turn, employee engagement is maximized, enthusiasm grows and performance levels sharpen.
Social Capital refers to the strength of relationships between colleagues, and it has a pretty significant influence on the workplace. For a start, it builds stronger teams, which means better results, but it also develops such wholesome benefits as trust, positivity and support, and maximizes networking effectiveness. What is more, it fosters reciprocity, meaning the benefits effectively multiply as employees look out for each other.
But Social Capital is a finely balanced thing, and frequent loss of personnel damages it greatly. Since upskilling is a clear investment in their futures, employees are happier and stay, ensuring this delicate balance is retained.