Upskilling – the cost-effective way to invest in the future
- 4 Min Read
As businesses look to retrain and diversify the skills of their current workforce, upskilling is cost-effective way to invest in the future
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) ‘Labour market overview, UK: November 2022’ paints a mixed picture for the country’s employment landscape. While job vacancies remain at historically high levels, the number has decreased for four consecutive quarters. A major contributing factor is that an increasing number of businesses are holding back on recruitment because of economic pressures, the ONS reports.
So how do businesses remain competitive in a challenging economic environment – one that is also being reshaped by hybrid work patterns, digitisation, and rapidly evolving customer expectations? Outsourcing is costly and recruitment, as already noted, is subdued. So, what can constructively be done to remain competitive without incurring additional costs? The answer lies in upskilling.
Businesses of all sizes need to look inwards at, retrain and diversify the skills of their current workforce. Organisations should focus on flexible and effective skills development, particularly during downturns, and how they can train their current employees for the jobs of the future – the roles that will best support the business over the next 5, 10, or even 20 years.
Bridging the skills gap
Businesses need to address the widening skills gap amid ongoing economic uncertainty by engaging and supporting employees through shifting career development paths. Organisations are also well-aware that they need to retain staff to maintain business continuity, while also avoiding recruitment costs. This has led enterprises of all sizes to realise that time and money is well spent on upskilling the current talent pool. As a result, training is increasingly being seen as one of the most viable solutions to the growing skills shortage.
The immediate financial benefits are obvious, but it is not just about pounds and pence – retraining staff also builds good-will and fosters a culture of learning within an organisation. In addition, upskilled workers are more committed, productive and are more likely to stay long-term. However, delivering personalised and scalable learning takes planning. Businesses first need employees to identify their interest in forging a new career path while identifying the roles they are looking to fill. The solution lies in finding a middle ground – matching the right employee to upskill and ensuring their skill set matches business needs.
Mapping out the path to success
Once this has been resolved, organisations can then map out the ideal learning paths for their staff with the aim of getting them retrained and confident in their new role as soon as possible. By focusing on retraining employees, staff will feel more confident in investing time in upskilling if they know their job is secure, their employer is committed to developing them and they can see clearly defined roles for their new skill sets. The drive to upskill comes from the top and how companies create a learning culture is a critical part of that.
Post-pandemic, many organisations have realised they need to re-examine their leadership style and focus on investing in their staff by creating an attractive place to work. This includes strategic programmes for upskilling and retraining and a focus on enhancing core tech and business skills company-wide.
Embed upskilling in your company’s culture
Business leaders are increasingly seeing the value of fostering a culture of learning. However, to successfully introduce and implement continuous skill development practices requires leveraging both external and internal data to identify the most in-demand competencies to determine the skills your teams need to be successful, now and in the future. There is also an increasing interest in accessing professional training, especially across virtual environments, as workforces are increasingly hybrid.
For many companies, e-learning platforms such as Udemy can be a strategic ally in the competitive job market by retraining staff before the skills shortages hurt the bottom line. By upskilling staff early and continuously, companies will be in a better position to navigate economic challenges by creating a workforce that is appropriately resourced and trained. Most importantly for businesses, this strategic approach helps ensure they will still have a skilled and loyal workforce once the current economic uncertainties have passed.
Udemy’s Learning Trends Report for 2023 is available now.