Upskilling and reskilling
Rushika Bhatia
10X People

Upskilling and reskilling

There is a growing need for employers to integrate training programmes

The world is evolving faster than ever. The top skills required to do the job last year are no longer enough to keep up with technology and the world. So, as an employer, focusing on programmes dedicated to upskilling and reskilling is not a choice but a mandate.

In the current economic climate, many organisations struggle with the financial expenses of training people with the risk of having them leave. With a vast number of highly skilled and qualified people in the job market, it can be easy to simply hire talent at low costs and let them go once there is someone else available who is more qualified and shows more expertise. However, these actions can have a number of negative consequences on your reputation as well as the bottom line; from cost of onboarding, settling period and inconsistency in work quality, to an increase in talent retention costs with the reputation of high exit rates and low benefits.

With the tax-free earnings market in the GCC attracting western expats, and skilled workers taking up jobs at lower salaries, there is never a lack of talent available. But if you understand the basics of long-term economics of hiring people, then you will know that it is more economical to hire and train people to do better work than have a high talent turnover rate. There is a reason why large corporates have dedicated HR training and development managers whose sole responsibility is to build and run programmes for employees. They also set aside budgets for every department, so that employees can go for workshops held by highly specialised organisations.

Upskilling and reskilling employees are a worthwhile investment on many accounts. Below are the benefits you can reap by offering training opportunities and encouraging your employees to partake in them:

1. Improved employee performance: With stronger understanding of the latest market trends and learnings, your employees will not only perform better but also help your company become a stronger competitor in the industry. The increased overall performance of the employee will also boost their confidence and morale, leading them to represent your company better.

2. Improved employee satisfaction and reduced turnover: When you invest in your employees, they feel valued and appreciated. This not only increases their motivation to stay with you in the long run, but also boosts the morale of other employees. With a more positive and content atmosphere in the office, the performance and productivity improve, along with your bottom line results.

3. Addressing company weaknesses: When you start your company, you have a specific skill-set. However, as you grow and the market changes, you may find yourself lacking certain key capabilities that are required to stay on top of your game. Training provides opportunities for your employees to learn new skills and bridge the gap or weakness you’re facing. This helps you as well as them to keep up with the market needs and stay relevant.

4. Instilling a learning culture: Providing training opportunities within teams will build a culture of learning. When employees experience the benefits of such programmes, they’re more likely to engage in activities and go for programmes separately by themselves to learn more, polish their skills and thereby bring better expertise to work.

5. Enhanced company reputation: Increased employee satisfaction and performance will inevitably lead them to talk positively about your company, colleagues and work. This has a number of benefits, such as more clients wanting to work with happier employees, talented individuals preferring to work for your company, better talent retention, and of course all of these ultimately increase your revenue and profits, and grow your market share.

In his article for UPS, Bob Moritz of PwC suggests: “To meet the need for upskilling, we’ll need solutions developed at the local, regional and national level. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. And no single organization can do this alone. It will require strong collaboration, with a range of stakeholders — educators, government and business leaders — working together, each playing a role. Business leaders will need to rethink jobs, protect people and work with others to pool resources, ideas and investments. Government leaders and policymakers must ensure that all citizens have the knowledge needed to participate in the digital economy and that parts of the population aren’t left behind. They also need to make sure that they themselves have the ability to lead the discussion on the future of technology and policy. And educators and academic institutions will need to digitally transform themselves and at the same time provide services geared to future skills needs.”

SMEs and upskilling

As you can see, there is a strong case for training your people to keep up with the market and help them brush up their skills. However, for smaller businesses and start-ups offering year-round development opportunities can be quite expensive. So the question is: how do you offer such opportunities while keeping costs low?

Following are some some tips that may help:

1. Make it a responsibility of the manager: Managers can be great at training teams as they have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Plus, they can impart more experience based learning in the field, which is far better than theories on an online course.

2. Co-working spaces: If you’re small, working in a co-working space can help your employees engage with others in the field and learn what’s latest in the market as well as be able to hone their skills with help of other specialists on the floor.

3. Cross-train your employees: One of the greatest benefits of this is that you can improve business continuity even if one of your key people is unavailable. Employees who have a better understanding of their colleagues’ work are more understanding and flexible in terms of expectations and delivery, leading to a more collaborative working environment.

Upskilling your employees is never a waste of resources. In fact, it has many short-term and long-term benefits that help your company grow. To stay relevant to the market and keep up with the latest technology and practices, it is vital to keep learning and experimenting. Lead your team to take advantage of training opportunities and innovate in how you offer them to keep costs low.

After all, you do not want people with irrelevant skills that are unaware of the changing market needs to lead your company, do you?