Why upskilling is your #1 attraction and retention tool
3 minutes | Posted 26 September, 2019


Loyalty is one of the most desirable attributes in employees. Yet in today’s working world, continuous candidates are on the rise, always on the lookout for their next career move. The temptation for employees to seek new opportunities is great. But what’s motivating this desire?

A large part of it is the opportunity for them to expand their knowledge and skill sets.

So how can you encourage your best people to stay, while also addressing widening skills gaps in your organization? Ensure your people’s training and development stays up to date in a changing marketplace and workforce through upskilling!

Upskilling is the process of enabling your employees to obtain new skills through training. John Feldman explores how upskilling has advantages for both employers and employees.

“As technology creates opportunities, employers seek to fill new jobs with candidates who possess specialized skill sets. By upskilling current employees, companies can fill open positions while retaining their current workforce by creating learning opportunities”

By investing in your employee’s education and development you will not only increase their value to your organization, but communicate to them that they are valuable, worth the investment, and have a place in your organization’s future. You will also ensure there are people to fill skills gaps or step into leadership positions should current employees depart

“With the job-hopping stigma quickly disappearing, many believe employees should change jobs every two to three years to ensure continuous learning and engagement. However, if an employer provides workers with ample opportunity for learning and growth, and employees remain engaged with their work, their time is better spent focusing on the opportunities available to them while performing a job they love, rather than searching for new opportunities and spending weeks or months applying, interviewing and onboarding.”

Upskilling is crucial in talent attraction.

“In a recent Gallup report, 87% of millennials prioritised professional or career growth and development opportunities in a job, while 69% of non-millennials said the same. When upskilling becomes ingrained in a company’s culture, it naturally attracts job seekers who value learning opportunities. In addition, brand ambassadors within the company are more likely to refer friends and colleagues to open positions when they know the company will invest in their future.”

By investing in your people through training and resources, you also have the opportunity to discover new talents. Very few people can choose their lifelong career path from the get-go. Training allows employees to develop their knowledge and skills in a new area of interest, leading to new passions and careers paths, in which they may succeed.

An investment in upskilling your people is an investment for the future.

“Even if an employee loves his or her job, the future is never guaranteed. Industries change, employers are forced to downsize, jobs are replaced by artificial intelligence, etc. The best way employees can ensure their future is to increase their value to their employer by expanding their knowledge and skill set. When opportunities for promotion arise, their employer will look favourably upon their willingness to learn and take on new tasks. For those who leave the company, upskilling will only add to their resume and make them more attractive to future employers.”

How to promote upskilling to attract and retain top talent

Inform all your people about what upskilling opportunities are available to them during onboarding, or thereafter. The more choice that is available, the more employees will take advantage, as they will all have differing interests or want to learn in different ways.

If you don’t have a strong training program in place or you’re looking to formalize and promote the training opportunities in your organization, there are countless ways to go about it. Consider establishing internal digital learning systems, allocating set days per month or year, or assigning a training budget per team/per person with a suitable approval process. For example, nonprofit knowledge-sharing organization TED promotes “Learning Wednesdays”, where employees are allowed to dedicate every second Wednesday to learning something. At the end of the year, they share what they’ve learned in a TED talk – an added motivator for them to succeed in their learning.

Not all your people will view new skills as its own reward, so offering a recognition or incentive program (e.g. a clear path for promotion) will separate those who are truly interested.

Work with your people individually to map out their career development progression and plan, including learning opportunities that will help them reach their milestones.

Both employers and employees can reap the benefits of upskilling, resulting in a more skilled and engaged workforce and better career development opportunities. Investing in your people shows future talent how they too will be valued and receive opportunities for progression.

If you would like to find out more about how Scout Talent can help you improve your recruitment processes in ways like this, reach out to us at hello@scouttalent.ca or click the button below.

Learn More


Knowledge Is Power: The Benefits Of Upskilling For Employers and Employees

John Feldmann