The importance of upskilling your employees

A business owner once asked the question “What if I train my employees, and they leave?” and his business partner replied, “What if you don’t train them, and they stay?”

Many employers share the same sentiment and fear; however, the impact of skills development and upskilling of employees has a lasting ripple effect on employees and the business.

Employers are faced with many challenges, especially with the current economic climate where most companies are fighting to survive the after-effects of the hard-lockdown levels in 2020.

For this reason, it is even more imperative that employers determine their own unique “why” for investing in the upskilling of employees. The benefits of upskilling employees include, but is not limited to:

  • Increased employee retention

Skills development initiatives that are directed specifically towards the career development of an employee, instills a feeling of investment within the employee. Research has shown that training and development of employees are one of the main strategies for employee retention.

  • Increased productivity

Training initiatives that are directed towards skills gaps in organisations will lead to efficiencies and an increase in productivity in the workplace. This, in turn, should positively impact the bottom-line of the business.

  • Increased competitive advantage

For a company to remain in a favorable and superior business position, companies need to remain relevant in the market. Changes in products, processes and trends in all industries are inevitable. Companies who ensure that employees are upskilled, continue to move forward, with the ever-changing environments, and enhances the position in the market.

  • Succession planning

Staff turnover could have a detrimental impact on any organization, especially where employees in key positions leave the company. The impact can be minimized by implementing a strategy where leadership and skills are passed down to employees, enabling them to step into positions at any point.

  • Higher staff morale

Training and development of employees has a direct impact on the attitude, satisfaction and overall outlook towards the Company. Employees who receive training are more engaged, motivated and tend to be more creative in their daily tasks. Higher staff morale leads to better job output, which improves profitability.

  • Becoming an employer of choice

South Africa is rich with many talented individuals. For companies to be able to attract talented employees, they should be known for a work culture and environment that, amongst other factors, include training and development of employees. The best candidates seek employers who continuously invest in the development and upskilling of employees. Companies who can uphold such a record and image, will have the privilege to appoint and retain highly skilled individuals.

The upskilling of employees is a journey, and training and development should be planned for in a structured manner to achieve success. Training and development initiatives is costly, and employers are advised to make use of the relief measures available to them. The conclusion however remains that skills development is an investment to your business, and the benefits are unlimited.