Upskilling: Where Are You On Yours?

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Where Are You on your Upskilling?

In recent years, companies have leaned on the gig economy to provide scalable, on-time workers that disappear when the work does.  Would you be better off by upskilling?

As the economy regains steam after the Great Recession, upskilling is increasingly on the dashboard of American business.  Sometimes the best candidate for your open position is already working for your company.

Backfilling a position with a current hire is not new.  For decades, employers have hired at the frontline, trained, advanced, and filled new positions with existing workforce.  Today, hiring from within is a preferred source of candidates for reasons that include:

  • A known factor: An onboard employee is already known to an employer.  The habits, abilities, and proclivities of an existing employee are easy to evaluate.
  • Cost savings: An internal hire costs significantly less than instituting an external recruiting process.  For a highly skilled position, an acceptable internal candidate could save your firm significant money.
  • Institutional knowledge: In addition to ease of hire, and greatly reduced expense, hiring from within makes use of existing human capital.  Time to productivity is far less for a current hire, even with additional training.  Plus, your internal candidate already possesses the cultural and institutional knowledge needed to navigate your company, and the position, successfully.

Many companies have taken a look at upskilling in the past year following an April 2015 White House Upskill Initiative.  The initiative embraces a process whereby Americans can gain the education and training they need to develop their skills, earn higher wages, and gain access to more senior-level positions.  The initiative pushes education and on-the-job apprentice-type programs that engage employees where they work.

Earlier this year, we talked about a report released at the World Economic Forum (WEF) that discussed coming changes in the future of work.  Part of the report predicts loss of positions in areas including clerical work, legal work, construction, and manufacturing.  Top strategies suggested at the WEF to meet these challenges include:

  • Development of apprenticeship programs
  • Partnering with industry and education
  • Job rotation
  • Retraining, upskilling and redeployment of workers

Use your workforce to the best of its ability

Closing skill gaps from within takes advantage of upskilling, while demonstrating to your workforce that you are actively engaged in developing their skills and career opportunities.

A guide to upskilling created by Deloitte describes numerous organizational advantages including:

  • Gain greater value from existing human capital
  • Improve engagement and retention in all segments
  • Develop employee equity instead of outsourcing—beat your skills gaps from within

HR is on the line to develop effective methods to identify positions, candidates, and effective training methods.  There are multiple avenues toward upskilling, including:

  • Align with need: Identify position and skills gaps, and create career counseling opportunities to forge development paths
  • Give a shout out: Announce, advise, and integrate opportunities for upskilling into company culture
  • Use in-house mentoring teams: Develop processes to mentor employees interested in different teams, work spheres, and responsibilities
  • Offer education subsidies: Fund employee training and development programs
  • Look for industry certification: Take advantage of existing certification programs, both online or in-person
  • Offer online training: Online training, like webinars, is convenient, usually low cost, and effective for motivated employees
  • Provide extended assignments: Offer opportunity to bridge into a different position through stretch projects or assignments
  • Partner: Take advantage of available government programs, or partnering opportunities available in your area, or industry

Consider the development of incentive and reward programs for employees willing and wanting to enhance their skills and expand their earning and career potential.

Upskilling programs offers businesses the opportunity to cultivate their workforce for forward moving needs, without the loss of valuable human capital.  For HR, leadership, assessment, training, and refinement are essential roles to develop and integrate cost-effective training programs.

Use outsource resources when the work involved does not align with core company drivers, or service.  If you are looking at real skills gaps, and paying vendors for services that could be developed and exploited less expensively in-house over the long-term, consider an upskill program.

Recruiting software is a good area to cut expenses through smart outsourcing.  When you have questions about HR or onboarding software—contact Brightmove for help.

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