Leverage Upskilling and Learning to Retain Employees

Article Contributed by Valerie Boudreau

Even before the pandemic, there was a lot of focus in upskilling and learning as a way to retain employees but also to help foster engagement. The Great Resignation has brought to light for organizations that employees want more development and if they don’t get it they have no problem with leaving.

In the March 8, 2022 HR Executive.com article, it is noted that employees are asking for learning. . . and 76% say they work harder for an employer who cares about their growth:

Like the request to work remotely, the demand for employee learning is coming from the employees. According to performance-management platform 15Five’s 2022 Workplace Report, nearly half of American workers say clear career growth fueled by learning and development provided by an employer is one of the most important factors for them to remain at a company. More than three-quarters (76%) of employees say they work harder for an employer that shows it cares about their growth as a professional than one that doesn’t.”

So how do you focus on upskilling and learning?

Develop individualized learning plans for each employee-let them drive the process. Their direct managers should be meeting with them one-on-one to review the plan, identify tangible time lines and work with the employee to implement the plan. The direct managers also need to support the employee throughout the process. 

Be innovative in your thinking and approach. Learning and upskilling can range from getting a high school diploma to executive development. Tools like mentoring, on the job training and job shadowing are lower-cost approaches that cultivate learning from any chair. Also using tools like an LMS, Teams or Zoom can foster collaboration, learning and development across many areas in your organization.

Upskilling and reskilling not only benefit employees, but they are a big benefit to organizations. It’s a way to address labor and skills shortage. Looking within your own organization is more efficient and cost effective vs always hiring from outside of the organization. Again creativity and innovation are the tools of the day. Providing broader career experiences like lateral (same level/tier different role) and rotational (rotating into different roles within a specified time frame) experiences can help an organization become more nimble but also increase employee engagement and resilience.

Demonstrating that the organization cares about employee development is vital to retain employees. By focusing on upskilling and reskilling employees, organizations can cover gaps, increase engagement and provide employees with broader development.