Salary and benefits only go so far. Employee training and professional development opportunities via upskilling can further entice potential candidates.
Having an effective upskilling strategy is something all companies need in today’s business environment. Every HR professional knows that the employee experience is critical to productivity, retention, and company objectives.
The problem is that companies have had a hard time keeping the employee retention rate up, even before the pandemic. With demographic shifts and younger workers becoming a dominant part of the workforce, company culture and expectations have been radically redefined.
Salary and benefits still matter. But after a certain threshold, employees want more. This “more” can translate into:
- Meaningful work
- Clear career progression
- A healthy work environment
Meanwhile, HR professionals are struggling to create comprehensive retention strategies that work on a budget and provide long-term value. And upskilling employees may hit the sweet spot of affordable, valuable, and productive for both employers and their workforce.
Combating the great resignation with upskilling
As the Great Resignation continues to shake up company strategy, employers scramble to find ways to decrease employee turnover and boost retention. Traditional benefits, such as health insurance, are no longer enough to attract and retain top talent (although they certainly help).
Since 2021, an average of 3.95 million workers have quit their job every month, more than double the rate of turnover in 2009. And the cost of employee turnover is high.
Studies have shown that the cost of replacing an employee can be up to 33% of their annual salary. That’s just the direct cost. This doesn’t take into account the lost time, productivity, or knowledge that employees take with them.
So, how can employers entice people to stay longer?
The answer can be found in professional development opportunities, namely upskilling.
In one survey, 93% of workers said career development and learning opportunities are important. Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, are eager to learn on the job and develop their skills. But employees aren’t alone. Leadership and development professionals consider upskilling to be a top priority. On average, companies believe that employees need to reskill after only six months on the job or even less.
5 benefits of upskilling
Upskilling employees have many advantages, all of which can positively affect the bottom-line and provide long-term value to the company. Investing in your workforce can pay dividends, not just through cost savings but also by fostering a curious and productive company culture.
To further break the effects down, here are our top 5 benefits of upskilling:
1. Clear-cut retention
Let’s just straight to the chase—87% of employees say that career development opportunities impact whether or not they will stay with an organization. Providing a clear career path with training opportunities improves employee motivation and builds trust with the organization. Rather than blindly finishing vaguely-related tasks, the employee experience is streamlined into meaningful career progression. As a result, they may be less likely to leave, even when offered a higher salary.
2. Remain competitive
Not only do 56% of HR professionals believe that the skills gap in their organization is severe, but many of today’s skills may be obsolete within five years. Providing upskilling opportunities makes it easier to stand out and ensure that your existing employees remain competitive. Not only will they have boosted technological skills, but they will also have the experience of their position.
3. Improve productivity
Upskilling has long been used to train new employees or help workers transition to a new system. Providing avenues to deal with a skills gap or career development can boost productivity levels and foster a positive workplace culture.
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4. Save time and money
Rather than hire someone for a new skill, upskilling an existing employee can kill two birds with one stone. Sometimes, the best course of action is to reassign an employee to a new position and supply training rather than spending time and money bringing on new members.
If you absolutely need to hire someone, employee training and professional development opportunities can further entice potential candidates. Salary and benefits only go so far. Job candidates, especially top talent, want to work in a company with a future. Having access to leadership development training or career progression counseling can provide that support.
More on retention
It’s hard to avoid hiring when the workplace is in a constant state of flux. Offering professional development opportunities as a part of your employee retention program is one way to create a win-win for the company and workers. Existing employees feel fulfilled when they have the chance to grow their expertise. And the company can leverage its newfound skills to promote revenue and client growth.
But before you get into the weeds and start implementing sweeping changes, it’s a good idea to get the pulse of the current employee experience. Check out this eBook on how employee wellbeing impacts the bottom line and what HR professionals can do to improve engagement.