Why You Should Upskill Your Employees

February 18, 2020

Upskilling — training workers so that they can fill more advanced roles in an organization — is gaining increased interest from companies, driven in part by today’s tight talent market. Upskilling is a crucial tool that more of today’s organizations must consider as a way to bridge gaps related to employee retention.

The Benefits of Upskilling

Major Cost Savings

We know that employee turnover can be costly. In fact, according to a study from Gallup, the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. Upskilling is a much smaller investment. Organizations that train existing employees for new tasks or roles are able to retain those employees which save the cost of hiring a replacement. As you upskill your employees, you create a more well-rounded, cross-trained workforce, and increase your team’s effectiveness. But, there has to be a cost for upskilling programs.

Amazon is rolling out a plan to upskill one-third of its’ employees estimated to cost around $700 million dollars or roughly $1,000 per employee, per year. While your upskilling program doesn’t have to cost your organization $700 million dollars, it will be an added expense. In the scheme of things, it will still cost less than hiring an entirely new employee.

Retain Your Top Talent

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn. As the competition for top talent becomes more intense, your organization will need to offer more than ping-pong tables and other quirky benefits. By offering learning and development programs aimed at upskilling, your top performers won’t feel the need to go outside of your organization to gain more knowledge and will be less likely to leave for another job.

Engaged Employees and Increased Productivity

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. Employees who have training and development opportunities are happier in their roles and have a brighter outlook on their future with the company. Reskilling your workforce helps them see the path to career advancement in front of them, and gets them excited about what could be next. It’s also important to mention that employees will have a newfound understanding and expertise on the technology that can help them get their job done more efficiently.

How to Begin the Upskilling Process

Your goal is to be proactive and stay ahead of your industry’s future demands to get an edge on your competitors. How you proceed with upskilling depends on a number of factors, including the skills needed and your training budget. There are third-party companies that specialize in providing digital skills training. If the skills needed are geared more to internal processes and knowledge transfer, consider lunch and learn opportunities, mentoring/coaching programs or job shadowing.