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Internal upskilling: is it worth the effort? (Yes)


Paul Joyce
4 min read

If you’re a business owner or an HR manager struggling to make sure your workforce is equipped with the necessary skills to remain competitive in an ever-changing world – on a tight budget – you’re not alone.

Is the solution to recruit externally or spend time upskilling your existing employees?

Recruitment for the win

Recruiting can be a great way find the specific skillsets your business lacks. A well-chosen individual won’t just come armed with the knowledge you need, they may also offer a fresh perspective on the way you do things. This can inspire (or shake up) the rest of your workforce, resulting in a more creative approach to problem-solving, ideas-generation and so on.

A great hire can be the perfect solution.

Or maybe not…

Skilled workers don’t come cheap. Plus, there’s all that time you’ll need to spend training them on your systems and processes. Time that could be used on more revenue-driving activities.

So, what’s the alternative?

Tapping into the potential of your existing workforce

By reviewing existing employees’ soft skills, professional development capabilities and digital training on an ongoing basis – and upskilling as necessary – you’ll boost staff members’ capabilities and confidence. This means they’ll be more productive and, importantly, loyal. Employees who see their company investing in their growth are less likely to leave.

In turn, you’ll see an uptick in overall efficiency as day-to-day tasks are completed more quickly – and probably with less stress too!

(On a side note, if you find recruitment is your best source of fresh ideas and new perspectives – helping drive innovation and creativity – why not simply encourage more cross-team conversation and collaboration? For example: task people who don’t normally work together to solve a specific problem as a team; ask juniors to lead brainstorms. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results…)

You might be halfway there already

If you’re already using online training courses for compliance reasons, you’ve probably got the right framework in place.

First, check to see if your current provider offers other courses too – if not, you may need to look for another platform.

Next, identify your existing skills gaps (your LMS should be able to highlight these stats) and create targeted training programmes to address any missing soft skills, digital skills or professional development capabilities. Map out the ideal requirements for each job role within your company and set personalised learning pathways for each team member.

Finally, think about your employees’ aspirations: what are their career/life goals? If you can give them access to courses that provide benefit beyond the immediate 9-5, even better – it’ll help build employee loyalty.

Of course, you don’t need to do this online – but for time- and budget-stretched SMEs, it’s often the most practical solution. However you choose to learn – digitally or in-person – the most important thing is to work with a reputable training provider that offers courses certified by a professional organisation such as CPD and RoSPA.

Statistically-speaking, investing in training is a no-brainer

The numbers speak for themselves.

CIPD’s Learning at work 2023 survey reveals that addressing skills gaps is L&D professionals’ number one priority, while improving staff retention is their top people priority.

Likewise, a recent report by LinkedIn states:
• “94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career”,
• “Effective employee development can increase performance up to 25%”, and
• “Employees who feel that their skills are not being put to good use in their current job are 10x more likely to be looking for a new job”.

It’s clear that upskilling is a strategic tool for both productivity and employee retention. It’ll also help attract new talent – after all, if your business becomes more successful, you may need to expand your workforce!

Skills gap? What skills gap?

Internal upskilling isn’t just about filling in the gaps, it’s about empowering your workforce, saving on recruitment costs, and ultimately, driving your business forward. By investing in your employees, you’re not just building a more competent team, you’re also fostering a workplace where continuous learning is valued – and that’s a win-win for everyone.

At Staff Skills Training, we help businesses upskill and retain staff with our award-winning e-learning, in-house and blended training solutions. Our range of 700+ CPD and RoSPA-certified courses cover everything from mandatory training programmes to industry-specific knowledge and soft skills courses. Could we be the right fit for your business? Have a look and see what we do, or book a call with us today!

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