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The world of work has changed in the last few years. Not only have we had to adapt to hybrid work cultures and remote workspaces, but phrases such as employee engagement, quiet quitting and a national skills shortage are now commonplace.

Recent research from the Office of National Statistics has found that the current digital skills shortage is predicted to cost the UK economy more than £50 billion a year, with eight in ten business owners admitting that the lack of skills is having a negative impact on their organisation. Plus, nearly two thirds of UK workers would quit their job if their employer did not provide them with learning and training opportunities as part of their workplace development.

So, instead of looking in vain for employees with the right skills, or trying unsuccessfully to retain your existing staff, think about how to upskill your existing team to take on new challenges.

Improved job performance

Upskilling means providing current employees with the tools to develop existing or additional skills and knowledge in order to improve job performance or advance their career. It enables your staff to improve their job performance, confidence and advance their career, whilst allowing you to fill existing skills gaps and improve business performance. Typically upskilling involves learning new techniques or technologies and can be done via attending workshops or seminars, or engaging in personalised online-learning platforms.

Studies show that the more learning opportunities employees receive to harness new skills (technical and/or soft), the more engaged they become. However, there are many other advantages to an employee of investing in their ongoing training and development, these include:

– increased levels of confidence and motivation

– feeling more valued and loyal to the business

– improvement in job satisfaction and morale

– greater adaptability and flexibility

– enhanced problem-solving skills

– willingness to take on more responsibilities and challenges

– career progression

Increase in productivity and efficiencies

Whilst for the employer, the benefits are also significant, helping you to identify and fill skills gaps within your organisation so you can:

  1. Retain talent. Providing a variety of opportunities for learning and training will ensure your staff stay with the business where they can focus on personal development and career growth.
  2. Save time and money. Hiring new employees is expensive and time consuming whereas upskilling is generally a quicker and cheaper process.
  3. Decrease employee turnover. Employees are more likely to stay at companies that increase their skills and prepare them to step into more advanced roles.
  4. Attract new talent. Employees want to develop themselves and have a career, by offering upskilling training, you will appeal to candidates who have a personal growth mindset.
  5. Increase productivity and efficiency. Generally, employees who undergo training have an improved skillset, can complete tasks more effectively and are better at their jobs.
  6. Boost your reputation. Upskilling will highlight the fact that your company helps employees to build skills for the future. They will naturally share their positive experiences and become ambassadors for your business.
  7. Futureproof your business. Upskilling will ensure you are more competitive, able to be responsive to change/innovation, have a learning culture and will not suffer a loss of knowledge and/or experience when people leave.

When you prioritise upskilling in your company, it will create a happy working environment for employees. This helps you to create a workforce that’s both agile, innovative and diverse, enabling you to attract, retain and develop talent in the future, as well as encourage your business to grow further.

How can we help?

If you need further help, advice and support on how to implement successful upskilling programmes so you can align learning and development with long-term business strategies to address widening skills gaps, please contact caroline.robertson@actifhr.co.uk for non-obligatory advice.