Why upskilling trumps hiring externally

Upskilling and reskilling of existing employees is a highly a valuable strategy for companies to maintain a skilled workforce and remain competitive in today’s fast-changing business environment.

Why upskill and reskill employees versus hiring new employees?

  • Cost-effectiveness: Upskilling or reskilling an existing employee can be more cost-effective than hiring a new employee, as it eliminates the cost of recruitment, onboarding, and training.
  • Retaining talent: Offering opportunities for upskilling or reskilling can increase employee engagement and motivation, leading to higher retention rates. By investing in their employees’ development, companies demonstrate that they value their employees and are committed to their growth and success.
  • Customised training: Upskilling or reskilling can be tailored to the company’s specific needs and goals, ensuring that employees gain the skills necessary to meet the organisation’s evolving demands.
  • Faster results: Upskilling or reskilling an existing employee can yield faster results than hiring a new employee, as they already have knowledge of the company culture, processes, and systems.
  • Improved morale: Employees who receive upskilling or reskilling opportunities tend to have higher job satisfaction, leading to improved morale and a positive work environment.

Upskilling and reskilling is a win-win strategy for both employees and companies, as it helps to create a skilled and motivated workforce that is better equipped to meet the demands of today’s business environment.

Reskilling employees

Reskilling of employees refers to the process of training or educating existing employees with new skills that are relevant to the changing needs of an organisation. It involves providing employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform different tasks or take on new roles within the company.

Reskilling may be necessary for several reasons, such as technological advancements, changes in industry trends, or shifts in organisational priorities. Reskilling can help organisations adapt to changes and maintain a competitive edge by ensuring that their employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to meet current and future demands.

In addition to benefiting the organisation, reskilling can also benefit employees by providing them with new career opportunities, increasing their job security, and enhancing their overall job satisfaction.

How to approach upskilling and reskilling of employees

Upskilling and reskilling employees involves a strategic approach that includes several steps. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Assess the skills gap: The first step is to assess the current skills of your employees and identify the skills that need to be developed to meet organisational needs. This can be done through employee surveys, performance reviews, or skills assessments.
  2. Develop a training plan: Based on the skills gap analysis, develop a training plan that includes the skills to be developed, the training methods to be used, and the timeline for training.
  3. Choose appropriate training methods: There are various training methods that can be used, including on-the-job training, classroom training, online training, mentoring, coaching, and job shadowing. Choose the method that suits the skills being developed and the learning style of the employee.
  4. Provide feedback and support: Provide regular feedback and support to employees during the training process to help them improve their skills and stay motivated.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of training: After the training is completed, evaluate its effectiveness by assessing whether the employees have acquired the new skills and how they are using them in their job.
  6. Encourage ongoing learning: Encourage ongoing learning and development by providing opportunities for employees to attend conferences, workshops, and other training programs, and by creating a culture of continuous learning in the organisation.

Upskilling and reskilling employees requires a commitment to investing time, resources, and effort into training and development. However, the benefits of a skilled and motivated workforce can far outweigh the costs of training.

Strategies to Upskill and Reskill Employees

There are many strategies that can be used to upskill and reskill employees, including:

  • Training programs: One of the most effective ways to upskill and reskill employees is through training programs. These can be conducted in-house or through external training providers and can cover a wide range of topics, from technical skills to soft skills.
  • Mentoring and coaching: Pairing employees with more experienced colleagues can be an effective way to transfer knowledge and skills. Mentors can provide guidance and support, while coaches can help employees develop specific skills.
  • Job shadowing: Employees can learn new skills by observing colleagues in action. Job shadowing can be a valuable learning experience, especially when combined with mentoring or coaching.
  • Cross-training: Providing opportunities for employees to work in different roles or departments can broaden their skills and knowledge. This can be especially useful in industries where multi-skilling is valued.
  • E-learning and online courses: Online learning platforms and e-learning courses can be a convenient and cost-effective way to upskill and reskill employees. Many platforms offer a wide range of courses covering various topics, from technical skills to management and leadership.
  • Conferences and workshops: Attending conferences and workshops can be a valuable way to learn new skills, network with peers, and stay up-to-date on industry trends.
  • Incentivise learning: Employees are more likely to invest time in upskilling and reskilling if they feel that it will be recognised and rewarded. Incentivising learning through bonuses, promotions, or other incentives can be an effective way to encourage employees to take on new challenges.

A comprehensive upskilling and/or reskilling strategy should include a mix of these approaches to provide a variety of learning opportunities and ensure that employees are equipped with the skills they need to succeed.

Best Practice Examples of Upskilling and Reskilling

Many companies recognise the importance of upskilling and reskilling their employees and have implemented programs to help develop their skills. Here are some examples of companies that are great at upskilling their employees:

  • Amazon: Amazon has a program called Career Choice that pays for up to 95% of tuition and fees for employees to earn certificates and degrees in high-demand fields such as nursing, IT, and computer science.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft has a program called Microsoft Learn that offers a wide range of online courses and certifications to help employees develop their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies.
  • IBM: IBM has a program called SkillsBuild that offers free online courses in areas such as cybersecurity, data science, and AI. The program also provides job placement assistance for graduates.
  • AT&T: AT&T has a program called Future Ready that provides employees with access to online courses, job shadowing, and mentorship opportunities to help them develop new skills and advance in their careers.
  • Accenture: Accenture has a program called Skills to Succeed that provides training and skills development programs for disadvantaged groups, including refugees, veterans, and young people.
  • PwC: PwC has a program called New Ventures that provides employees with opportunities to work on innovative projects and develop new skills in areas such as AI, blockchain, and cybersecurity.
  • Google: Google has a program called Grow with Google that offers free training and certification programs in areas such as digital marketing, data analysis, and IT support.

These are just a few examples of companies that are great at upskilling their employees. There are many more organisations that are investing in the development of their workforce to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of their customers.

Need help?

Need help with a strategy to upskill and/or reskill your employees?  Harrisons is able to help with the development of competency and capability frameworks, skills gap analysis, creation of training and development organisational and individual plans, development and facilitation of learning courses and activities, leadership coaching and development, and e-learning content creation and LMS implementation. CONTACT US.


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