When you onboard a new employee, you invest a significant amount of money getting them up to speed not only with the industry in which they will work but also in your company. After they’ve been on the job for a while, training tends to take a back seat, even if their job evolves or the industry shifts.
Enter upskilling, a term that has been coined to describe improving the skills of workers, usually through training, so that they will be better at their jobs. The idea behind upskilling is that, to a degree, it should be personalized to the employee, or at the very least, their job type. For some employees, this will mean letting them train on a new computer system, while for others it might mean attending a seminar to learn a new sales or management skill or taking a class to update what they already know.
The benefit to the employee seems obvious: you teach someone to be better at their job so that they can be more successful. But what’s in it for the employer?
- Improve productivity: This is a win-win for both the employee and the employer. With better training, staff becomes more efficient at their jobs, meaning that they can achieve goals quickly and more effortlessly. With this extra time, they can often times take on new, more important tasks for your business.
- Improve morale: Multiple studies have suggested that a happy staff is a more effective staff. Engaged staff who feel valued and invested in through myriad training opportunities have lower rates of absenteeism, lower rates of sick days, and are more loyal to the business than their peers who are less happy.
- Improved retention: As we mentioned above, much of the investment in an employee happens when they first sign on, with businesses spending a small fortune on getting their new workers up to speed. However, companies that don’t continue to offer training opportunities are more likely to lose good employees, with total turnover costs reaching as high as 75% of an employee’s base salary for a mid-level employee and as much as double the salary for a highly trained employee – and that doesn’t even cover the cost of re-recruiting and hiring a replacement!
- Improved candidate pool: Being able to tell employees that you will provide on-boarding training isn’t going to hold much appeal because almost all companies do that from the outset. However, letting a candidate you are courting know that you will provide year-round opportunities for them to advance their skill set can really help you to stand out from your competition. Further, the candidates who find this kind of perk enticing are generally the types of employees who turn out to be hard-working, attentive and invested in your business.
- Improved competition: A business that doesn’t advance might as well be standing still. If you aren’t willing – or able – to keep employees up to date with changes within your industry, you can’t expect to remain (or become!) a market leader. However, if you analyze your business for areas where you could shore up your skills, you can proactively plug the holes that could allow a competitor to sneak in and snag your customers.
Now, you may be asking yourself, how can I provide the type of training that my employees need? Well, this is where a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can step in. For example, providing training and development is a big component of a PEO’s offerings. From in-house meetings to on-line meet ups, they can deliver one time or ongoing training on various topics, including state-mandated training programs, continuing education, and skills development. This training can be customized to your industry, the state in which you reside, and even the audience (just your managers or the whole company).