Why Upskilling Your Workforce Is Critical Right NowAs employees began leaving their jobs in droves in 2021, business leaders looked inward to reevaluate the employee experience in their own organizations. While each company’s culture and circumstances may be unique, what became clear across businesses was that employees want a rewarding work experience where they can grow, prosper and achieve their career goals. If their current employers are not providing that type of experience, then many of them are willing to leave.
A February 2022 survey of U.S. adults by Pew Research Center confirms this notion, as the top two reasons respondents gave for leaving their jobs in 2021 were “no opportunities for advancement” (63%) and “pay was too low” (63%). A close third was “felt disrespected at work” (57%). Providing employee development opportunities addresses each of these concerns: A meaningful investment of time and resources into upskilling your people demonstrates your respect for their contributions to the business and equips them for advancement to higher-paying positions.
The benefits of upskilling your team
Providing your employees with upskilling opportunities can support your business objectives in several ways:
Recruiting and retaining top talent
Employers who offer ongoing education and training demonstrate their confidence in employees’ potential for growth. Knowing that they have a path forward and that you are preparing them for advancement opportunities can help them envision a positive future with the company. Research backs the idea that people who feel valued at work are less inclined to leave. In a recent LinkedIn study, 94% of respondents said they would stay at a company longer if that employer invested in their career.
Giving you a competitive advantage
Companies committed to ongoing employee development understand that the skills required to excel today can be far different from those needed just a few years ago, and that well-trained teams are key to building a competitive and resilient business. For example, businesses that had prioritized digital skills prior to the pandemic were well-positioned to adapt when the nation quickly moved from in-person to virtual communication in 2020, while companies that had fallen behind in digital training were left scrambling to get people up to speed. Up-to-date knowledge, capabilities and expertise will continue to differentiate one business from another, with those that focus on regularly upskilling their teams rising to the top.
Fostering a culture of exploration and learning
The more people know, the more curious they become. Arming them with knowledge and skills prepares them to ask “what if” questions and to generate new ideas for making the company more efficient, profitable, customer-centric, community-focused, etc. Education has the potential to energize and engage employees, leading to a culture where learning takes its rightful place right beside core values such as integrity, respect and teamwork.
Increasing customer satisfaction, employee collaboration and productivity
The morale boost that often comes from employees’ awareness that their company supports them in their career growth can benefit their company in a variety of ways. Their interactions with customers tend to be more positive and meaningful. Collaboration and camaraderie among coworkers may become stronger. And research continues to confirm that happiness on the job leads to higher productivity — 12% higher productivity, according to one recent study. These advantages can lead to better working conditions, greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, and even growing profitability.
What to consider as you create an employee development program
If you are just starting out with an employee development program, you may want to do a skills gap analysis to get a better sense of where your team members might benefit from training. The steps in this process include the following:
- Review your business plan, and list all of your current and future objectives and initiatives.
- Determine which roles or individuals are or will be involved in bringing these to fruition.
- Identify the skills each person or group will need.
- Compare these required skills to those the employees already possess to find where training is needed.
Keeping up with emerging industry trends and workplace digital technologies can also help you identify needed skills your employees may need, so that you can always keep them a step ahead of the game.
How you approach the logistics of training depends on your working model (in-office, remote, hybrid), available resources (financial and human) and employee preferences. Here are some options to consider:
- Online, self-directed education
- Interactive webinars
- Team-based workshops (in-person or virtual)
- Mentoring/Coaching – traditional and peer-to-peer
- Stretch assignments (on-the-job learning)
The more opportunities you offer employees for development and advancement, the stronger your workforce will be. Focus on building a culture where people are inspired to grow and excel.
This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. Any reliance on the information herein is solely and exclusively at your own risk and you are urged to do your own independent research. To the extent information herein references an outside resource or Internet site, Dollar Bank is not responsible for information, products or services obtained from outside sources and Dollar Bank will not be liable for any damages that may result from your access to outside resources. As always, please consult your own counsel, accountant, or other advisor regarding your specific situation.
Posted: June 30, 2022