Retain Your Top Talent With Upskilling: Are You Missing Out On This Strategy?

upskilling session with employee
Jodie Hurst
May 28 2024

For many years, the 9-to-5 job demanded that people be good at what they did but never asked for more than the minimum requirements to fulfill a job. As people came and sat in front of their desks, day in and day out, their work never changed, and neither did their circumstances.

However, in today’s world, if you’re not keeping up with the latest technology, tools, and ways of doing things, you’re only as good as the first day you joined the organization. The competition for each role is fierce; people come with talents and experiences beyond the job description.

The only way to reach the top is through continuous upskilling. Companies demand it from their potential and current employees, and employees demand opportunities for upskilling from their organizations. So, what happens when organizations insist on doing things the old way and don’t help their employees grow? They fail to retain their top talent and spend more on hiring and training new employees, only for the cycle to continue every few years.

Why Is There a Growing Need for Upskilling?

Upskilling refers to the process of providing ample opportunities to an employee through various training programs, online courses, seminars, webinars, and skill development in order to help an employee perform better at their current job, fill in any skills gaps, leverage technology to enhance productivity, and help an employee grow personally and professionally in their career by facilitating continuous learning of soft skills and technical skills.

From the perspective of an employee, here are the top 5 reasons why upskilling has become such an integral part of a good corporate culture:

  • Upskilling helps deal with adapting to new technologies and tools.
  • It helps an individual meet the changing needs of a role.
  • It ensures more career advancement opportunities and job satisfaction.
  • It results in higher monetary benefits and better job perks as the employee becomes harder to replace.
  • When an organization spends on upskilling its employees, it helps employees feel like an important part of the organization and more secure in their work environment.

Why Is Employee Retention Tied to Upskilling?

With increasing competition in the job market and an increased need for individuals who can handle new technologies, top talent is likely to take their business somewhere else if they don’t feel supported enough in their current organization.

Since it’s essential for the organization’s top talent to feel that they’re continuously learning and training on the job, they’re more likely to leave if there’s no scope for learning in their current role.

In fact, according to a poll conducted by HR Dive, over 45% of employees are more likely to stay with an organization if they receive skills training.

Benefits of Employee Upskilling

While top talent retention stays at the top of the list for using upskilling, here are a few other benefits, both for the employee and the employer, when it comes to investing in upskilling employees:

Increases Productivity

By equipping employees with the skills needed to excel in their jobs and providing them with the right tools and mediums, you can enhance your team’s productivity manifold. When you, as a leader, offer your employees opportunities to train on the job, you help them improve the quality of their work while saving time and money.

The most important thing to take into consideration here is the structure of your upskilling training. When you create a well-structured training program for your employees, you help them zero in on the issues they face, give them solutions, help them implement those strategies, and reduce burnout.

Creates a Culture of Learning

An employee’s ability to work well is highly dependent on how they’re treated at work and whether or not they enjoy their job. Organizations and leaders focusing on continuous learning through upskilling help their employees improve at their jobs and develop the skills to become successful future leaders.

Moreover, a corporate culture that believes in innovation and upskilling benefits both the business and its employees. This culture not only helps employees stay at their jobs but also contributes to the organization’s mission and vision through consistent collaboration and effective communication.

Attracts Top Talent

Creating an environment for upskilling not only helps retain the current top talent but also helps attract more talent to the organization. Many times, the most successful and talented employees are those who desire to rise and take on leadership roles someday.

If your organization offers the resources to fund the right talent by providing continuous learning and education to them, be it via an on-site leadership training program or an online master’s in organizational leadership program, the best of the best are likely to come and stay for the long haul, which benefits the organization and the employees.

Helps to Fill Skill Gaps

With the advent of technology and the continuous growth in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Machine Learning, and Software Development, it’s hard to be the one who knows everything all the time. Hence, sooner or later, gaps in knowledge and skills are bound to be seen.

Upskilling aims to bridge the gap between knowledge and skills by offering employees a chance to learn new and necessary skills and technology that can help them improve their work and brush up on the skills they already possess. And who doesn’t want to stay in an organization that looks out for their interests?

Enhances Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is the bread and butter of a business. If your customers aren’t satisfied with your product or service, it may be hard for you to stay in the business for the long haul. That’s why so many companies invest in upskilling their employees, not only with technical skills but also with soft skills such as communication, negotiation, empathy, problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking.

More than anything, a business’s ability to survive depends on how well it listens to its customers. That’s why the need for customer service representatives and executives is on the rise. By improving the skills of your employees, they are likely to work more effectively, reducing the chances of errors in work and providing your customers with the products and services they expect.

Aids in Personal Development

While adding a credential to an employee’s name as they learn a skill they hadn’t before adds value to their resume and LinkedIn profile, it does something even better: it makes them self-sufficient and confident in their ability to perform a task perfectly.

When employees can choose the skills they want to learn and the path they want to carve for themselves, it boosts their confidence, helps them tackle complex problems and stay more focused and calm in stressful situations, enhances their motivation and pushes them to work harder than before. All this adds up and helps the organization retain its top talent year after year.

Adds to the Possibility for Career Advancement

When people learn, they grow. The best way for employees to assess their prospects for higher wages, better titles, and more perks in their current organization is to look at how the organization invests in them. If the organization is focused on helping employees be better and the employees utilize the skills that they’ve gained in the training, it helps advance their careers.

When you offer your employees a chance to learn and grow in their careers and see an opportunity to get promoted, they’re more likely to stay in the organization. Switching a job, building a rapport with new people, and starting from scratch is not easy. Nor is it easy to hire and fire employees in a knack. Through consistent upskilling and on-the-job training, you can retain your best-performing employees and build a work culture that people are proud to be a part of.

Final Thoughts

Consistent upskilling is an essential strategy that has benefits beyond the retention of top performers and talent in an organization. By investing in your employees’ well-being and professional development, you’re investing in the future of your business.

An organization that creates a culture of learning opens doors to success by creating a workforce that’s self-sufficient, innovative, resourceful, and focused on achieving the same goals through consistent communication, constructive feedback and collaboration.

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