Upskilling on a Budget

Technology is rapidly evolving. And to stay competitive, it's important for organizations to transform and develop their workforce alongside it. Upskilling plays a major role in workforce development and should be considered a business investment even within the limits of budget constraints.

November 18, 2022

Upskilling on a Budget

Technology is rapidly evolving. And to stay competitive, it's important for organizations to transform and develop their workforce alongside it. Upskilling plays a major role in workforce development and should be considered a business investment even within the limits of budget constraints.

November 18, 2022

Introduction
The world of work is becoming increasingly integrated with technology, while at the same time, technology is constantly advancing at full force. Organizations are snapping up the latest technology to handle automations, leaving current employees with massive skill gaps and working in obsolete positions. So how do we solve for the constantly changing world of work? The solution: upskilling.

What is Upskilling?
Upskilling is the development of additional or existing skills in order to perform a job. It is highly important in closing skill gaps. Skill gaps are the difference between skills needed to perform the job versus the skills that the employee actually has. In West Monroe’s survey, respondents said that 56% of their organization’s skill gaps are moderate to severe. Upskilling closes the distance in skill gaps and ensures that the job is being performed at the most efficient and complete level. 

Benefits of Upskilling
Upskilling has many benefits outside of closing skill gaps. It increases employee retention with 48% of workers agreeing that they would switch to a new job if it offered professional development opportunities. Additionally, 65% of workers believe employer-provided upskilling is important when evaluating a new job. Not only does offering skill development opportunities within an organization aid in employee retention, it also aids in recruitment. Furthermore, upskilling helps to improve the overall company culture.

Employees enjoy more satisfaction and productivity in their work through upskilling. Upskilling adds to their value, while at the same time, demonstrates a clear path of career development. With all of these benefits, it’s difficult to understand why many companies do not administer upskilling within their workforce. The biggest reason for organizations to not invest in workforce development is due to budget constraints.

Upskilling While Avoiding the Heavy Price Tag
There are several methods to cutting costs while implementing skill development in workers. But first, it’s important to determine the degree of skill gaps that exist within an organization through the use of competencies. Once the level of competency of the organization’s workforce is determined, then it should be measured against the actual job descriptions. This will give you a more accurate picture of the organization’s current skill gaps and where workers should begin closing the gap. From there, employees can work with their managers on their career paths and create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals to obtain their career paths. 

Career pathing charts the course of an individual’s career development and brings to the forefront their competencies or current skill sets that will need to be further developed in order to reach their goals. It also highlights skills that will need to be obtained in order to be successful in their career pathway. Creating a career pathway motivates workers by providing a visualization of current skill sets and where upskilling needs to occur in order for them to reach their career goals. 

Developing an internal mentorship and training program is another method of upskilling within budget constraints. An internal mentorship program not only cushions the upskilling budget, it also encourages the institutional knowledge of an organization and helps develop company culture while at the same time building a level of trust among employees.

Is Upskilling Really Expensive?
Companies that want to stay competitive need to stay on top of technology trends in the workforce. Rather than scrambling to recruit or outsourcing talent to external contractors, it is much cheaper for an organization to invest in upskilling its current employees. Overall, upskilling should be treated less as an expense, and more so as a business investment as it modernizes the workforce while increasing overall productivity. Upskilling also has the potential to boost global productivity by 3% by 2030. Investing into the upskilling of employees could add at least $6.5 trillion to global GDP by 2030

Conclusion
Upskilling is a business investment that keeps employees up to date with the rapid advancement of technology. The US government falls behind in providing job training and resources than other developed countries. Even private companies treat upskilling as an expense that should be on the backburner in the discussion of company productivity and profits. Upskilling saves time and money in the long run as it closes the talent gap in the workforce while at the same time, encourages a company culture of learning and the pursuit of employee career development. It’s not only for the benefit of workers but also customers, since the customers will experience faster, and more well-informed solutions due to upskilling. 

We can even go a step further and expand the recruitment pool by removing degree requirements and investing more in workforce development. Nearly two-thirds of American adults do not have a four-year degree. This closes off a large potential pool of diverse candidates who may have the necessary competencies to perform a job but are rejected from hiring opportunities and career advancement due to not having a degree. With the rapid advancement of technology, it is becoming more painfully apparent that companies need to evolve and invest in their workforce to be successful through upskilling.

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