Change is inevitable; there is no way around it. COVID-19 has proven that our world can change in an instant. Businesses have been forced to adapt to new ways of working and had to learn the importance of training and educating staff so they are more dynamic and agile in the face of change. Although these changes were intended as temporary, the benefits gained from the new skills learnt are not.
Decline on the lifespan of skills
Today’s job landscape is ever changing and the effects of COVID-19 have significantly exacerbated this. Even prior to the pandemic, upskilling your employees had been more crucial than ever especially as the lifespan of skills is on a considerable decline. An article published by Deloitte states that essential skills only last for five years on average! This research demonstrates the importance of ongoing learning, whether it be through study, independent learning or workplace training. Employers can take advantage of this new landscape by offering targeted, ongoing learning and development opportunities for their team. With the ultimate goal of further enhancing their business (i.e., profits!) through better trained, more educated staff.
Benefits of upskilling
Provide competitive advantage
Even prior to COVID, evolving technology had drastically begun to disrupt the job market. This is why it is critical for employers to understand the value of upskilling. Whether that means training employees across multiple departments, teaching them new systems or skills, you should be equipping your employees with innovative and new opportunities that assist them in becoming an asset to organisational growth. A company who prioritises the training and development of their employees’ skill sets will be able to maintain a prominent competitive advantage in this new era of artificial intelligence and evolving technologies.
Additionally, upskilling your staff can also have a positive impact on staff retention. Employee turnover can be extremely costly to an organisation. There are many costs associated with hiring, onboarding and training. It also takes time for a new employee to familiarise themselves with the company culture and the ins and outs of their team’s workflow.
More agile, diverse and well-rounded workforce
Undoubtably, your people are your company’s most valuable asset. Upskilling your team comes at a markedly smaller cost to your business than hiring a replacement. By expanding the skillsets of your current employees, you will find yourself with a more agile, diverse and well-rounded workforce that can adapt quickly to change. Staff will be more engaged if they feel that there are opportunities for growth and retention.
Broader talent pool
In instances where your organisation has demonstrated success, chances are you will need to grow your current workforce. Learning and development opportunities will provide you with access to a broader talent pool when searching for candidates. That is because these kinds of opportunities are attractive for job seekers looking to advance their careers and expand their existing skills. Furthermore, providing opportunities to upskill also helps establish a stronger brand image within the market. By supporting your team’s learning and development, they will serve as positive brand advocates for your company.
Promote active learning
Businesses who support training and development foster a culture of active learning. In this setting, employees will look to upskill on their own accord. Encouraging continual learning as opposed to annual training sessions, will prevent staff from being bombarded with information they are less likely to retain. Creating a culture of active learning will help your company be more responsive and prepared for the ever-changing nature of today’s employment landscape.
Provide learning and development to your employees
It’s safe to say the concept of upskilling has been gaining traction long before COVID-19. As we look towards a post-pandemic future, it is imperative that organisations focus on providing learning and development opportunities or risk falling behind. Providing opportunities for staff to develop their skills will help your business succeed both now, and well into the future.