Between the pandemic and the Great Reshuffle, the world of work has changed drastically in just the past few years. Finding quality employees with the right skills has become a serious challenge for employers. Meanwhile, many employees are seeking new opportunities, either because they want to take a new direction and establish a new work/life balance or they’ve been displaced by workplace upheavals.
Upskilling is the process of employees advancing their current skills and/or gaining new ones—has been in the spotlight as a solution that can help both workers and employers in the current environment.
For companies, upskilling represents a more affordable and efficient way to close skills gaps through internal training, as well as a way to attract valuable new employees—and much more. Here are five benefits that organizations can realize by offering upskilling to their employees.
Increase Employee Retention
For workers, upskilling offers an opportunity to learn, grow, and advance their career and earnings. According to a recent Gallup study, more than half of workers say they are “extremely” or “very” interested in taking part in upskilling programs. In skill-intensive professional fields such as technology:
- 72 percent of employees say they are interested in upskilling.
- 71 percent of respondents say they are interested in paid training
- 65 percent say they prefer training that is provided during normal working hours
Employers that provide these opportunities solve some of the biggest blocks to upskilling—time and money—and provide real value to workers, while benefiting the company. Lack of advancement opportunities is one of the major reasons employees give for leaving their current jobs. Upskilling programs provide a powerful incentive to stay for the type of employee that companies want to keep.
When companies lose employees, they also lose money. It can cost an organization up to two times an employee’s annual salary to replace them, and U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion every year due to employee turnover. Employee exits can also have less obvious costs, including lowered productivity and damage to key relationships with customers and beyond. Employee losses take a mental toll on remaining staff members, often lowering team morale and increasing anxiety. Investing in upskilling programs to retain good employees now translates to lower costs and higher profits down the road.
As individual employees upgrade their skills and increase their capabilities and advancement options, companies benefit from the skills these employees put into practice. Not only that, but when employers invest in their employees with programs such as upskilling, workers feel that they are valued members of the team and that the company cares about their future. This environment leads to greater engagement and loyalty, both key to productivity.
Attract Top Talent
In a tight labor market, high-quality candidates have choices. Often, they are looking for more than just the right compensation. Other elements, such as a positive company culture and opportunities to advance, are important to high achievers as well. Companies that have established upskilling programs demonstrate their commitment to helping employees develop in their careers, as well as concern about workers’ job satisfaction and overall well-being. These are all important in developing a reputation as a company that values its employees and provides a great corporate environment and space for growth.
Close Skill Gaps/In order to stay competitive, organizations need people with the latest skills. Closing the gap between company needs and workforce skills is an important effort—and a constant one, given the pace of change. In a recent McKinsey study, most respondents said that “skill building (more than hiring, contracting, or redeploying employees) is the best way to close gaps, and that they have doubled down on their efforts to reskill or upskill employees since the pandemic began.”Upskilling programs also contribute to an overall culture of learning within the company. In this environment, employees are encouraged to learn and supported in doing so, helping them cultivate a growth mindset and foster innovation.
How Can Mentoring Help Upskill Employees?
Mentoring is an effective, personalized way to support employee skill development across many different phases of the employee journey. For example, mentors can help new employees with skills gaps during the onboarding process to help them get up to speed faster. For existing employees, mentors are instrumental in helping mentees identify talents and skills gaps and crystallize goals that can be realized with the help of upskilling. Mentoring relationships can also offer direct coaching—in one-to-one environments or in a group with other employees working on the same skills. Throughout the employee development journey, mentors are an important source of trusted feedback and encouragement that can make a real difference to employees in successfully upskilling.
Mentoring has also been proven to increase engagement among employees and helps develop positive relationships throughout an organization. These are key desires for employees wanting to stay with an organization and develop their skills there, rather than moving on to another company.
See the Benefits of Upskilling with Help from Chronus
Chronus can help your organization create and implement a successful, automated mentoring program that will help you realize your mentoring goals, including employee upskilling. Chronus’ mentoring software streamlines the process, offering built-in structure and eliminating manual tasks so administrators can focus on supporting effective mentoring. Matching is powered by AI so mentors and mentees can easily connect for upskilling sessions, according to what skills they can teach or want to learn. Analytical reporting empowers leaders to evaluate results and continuously improve the program for optimal impact to key organizational goals such as retention, advancement, satisfaction and social connectivity.
Find out how Chronus can help you reach your upskilling goals.