In this tight labor market, employers need to do what they can to retain their workers. If a workplace is struggling to fill open positions, what can it do? The answer for many seems to be upskilling. In a recent survey of 300 global executives, 66% of respondents said upskilling their employees was one of their top 10 priorities.
Upskilling is when a current employee is retrained for a different role. This might happen when an employee demonstrates particular skills or expresses a desire to pursue a new career path. However, upskilling isn’t a general learning initiative; it’s identifying individual employee’s strengths and giving them the tools to enhance their skillsets. For instance, someone in the customer service department may be pursuing an IT degree, so they are allowed to cross-train and eventually move into the IT department.
At its core, upskilling current employees enables workplaces to fill critical roles more swiftly since there is no need to onboard. It also allows an organization to hold onto their top performers for longer, moving up the career path while new employees are found to fill in entry-level positions. This benefits employers, but it also helps employees who are looking for growth opportunities.
Employers looking to upskill can use the following tips to help inform their efforts:
- Determine the needs of the company:
- Where are the current skill gaps that exist within the business?
- What skill sets have been sought from outside hires that may be found internally?
- Forecast the future needs and resources of the company to predict what kinds of employees and skills will be needed for optimal growth.
- Offer accessible training opportunities for anyone interested, pending manager approval.
- Utilize available technology to help train more efficiently.
Employers are starting to shift their focus from hiring new talent to upskilling their current employees. In doing so, employers are making strides toward closing the skill gaps within their businesses while also increasing retention.