Since the industrial revolution, workforces have been transformed by the use of technology. But over the past couple of years, the adoption of new technologies has sped up exponentially and caused permanent ripples of change throughout all industries. It’s become increasingly important for businesses to embrace these changes to remain competitive in the digital age.
The World Economic Forum estimates that more than half of all employees around the world will need to upskill by 2025 due to the nature of changing jobs. With 2025 just around the corner, it’s only a matter of time before this statistic becomes a workplace reality.
In this article, we’ll go over five reasons why it’s worth investing in workforce upskilling today.
1. It Helps to Fill the Skills Gap
A shortage of the right talent is leading to skills shortages across most industries. This is referred to as the skills gap, which has only been increasing over time. New and disruptive technological advancements are one of the reasons to blame for this growing divide.
According to a recent study by McKinsey, 87% of companies are either facing a skills shortage already or anticipate developing one over the next few years. With rising pressures for a more job-ready workforce, current and future employees will be expected to keep up and adapt to this changing digital world or risk being unqualified for a wide variety of jobs that need to be filled.
Upskilling your workforce is one of the most effective ways to start closing the gap. When you offer further education and training programs, existing employees can learn the skills needed to provide better futures both for themselves and your business.
2. It Supports Employee Retention
Hiring external candidates may be the next best short-term solution to improving the skills gap, but organizations face a much larger and more costly problem: retaining talent.
A 2019 Gallup study found that the cost of replacing a single employee is between 1.5–2 times their annual salary—and that’s a conservative estimate. In August, CNBC reported that voluntary job departures had been higher than normal, and that there were almost two job openings for every unemployed worker. Ultimately, this has made securing good talent a competitive and costly venture, while keeping talent has become even more of a priority.
Offering employees development and growth opportunities can be critical for retention, especially in today’s competitive job market. By upskilling, organizations can save on turnover and replacement costs while sparing even more dollars by developing skills in-house. The best part? Upskilling solutions can be offered starting at almost no cost.
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3. It Helps Increase Productivity
Productivity is key to profitability. Keep employees more engaged and productive by giving them development opportunities that excite them and encourage them to stay with your company.
We’ve known that disengagement has been related to productivity problems for quite some time: a 2013 study from Gallup found that an actively disengaged employee can cost an organization around 34% of their annual salary in productivity. That means a disengaged team member who makes an annual salary of $60,000 could cost their organization up to $20,400 per year in productivity. And on average, the study found, 17.2% of an organization’s workforce has been shown to be actively disengaged.
No matter how big or small an organization may be, lost productivity is costing businesses thousands and, in some cases, even millions.
Upskilling can help to boost productivity and drive profits in several ways. By investing in building new capabilities through quality training, new technologies and skills can lead to growth opportunities that raise revenues. Investing in leadership training and management roles can also help reengage employees and expand team efficacy and productivity in the long run.
4. It Helps Future-Proof Your Organization
When you’re looking long-term, change is inevitable. Organizations have always had to adapt to changing environments or risk being left behind. The past few years have only further brought to light how important adaptability will continue to be in the years to come.
According to a report by Dell Technologies, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. With the rise of automation and new technologies, it’s nearly impossible to know exactly what skills will be in demand for these new and changing jobs. So how can you prepare your organization for these roles?
Fostering a culture of continuous learning is a way to keep employees skilled and ready to adapt to this new future. Companies can’t look at upskilling as an expense, but rather as an investment into future-proofing their organization. This can help safeguard against future uncertainty and better prepare a workforce for the coming demands.
5. It’s What Employees Want
As much as upskilling is advantageous to organizations, it also has tremendous benefits for employees and is something they seek out. A recent study by LinkedIn found that 94% of employees say they would stay longer at a company if it were to invest in their future. With trends such as “quiet quitting” making headlines, now is the time to continue to nurture loyalty among employees by looking into what matters to them.
The same study found that having opportunities to learn and grow is the number one factor that defines an exceptional work environment. By investing in learning, development and other upskilling opportunities, employees will feel more valued and be significantly less likely to leave a company. Focusing on upskilling can help build the culture of learning that your company needs to empower your team to continue to grow at your organization.
Don’t Delay Workforce Upskilling
Looking to take those first steps toward investing in the skills of your workforce? Check out D2L Wave, a free-to-use upskilling platform that makes it easy to put your organization’s learning and development goals into action.