The digital transformation of the workplace was well underway when the pandemic hit and further disrupted traditional business models. Not only were employers and employees grappling with learning and adapting new technologies, many industries suddenly were forced to reinvent how they worked together as a business — quickly.

The pandemic and its attendant lockdowns spurred a switch to remote work and telemanagement. Even the gig economy created distance between employers and contractors. For business leaders, this perfect storm of disruption has made employee engagement much more difficult to attain.

With the pandemic easing, employers are still facing the challenge of providing their workforce the skills to compete in the new digital economy. According to Employee Benefit News, the fears over robots and AI taking over jobs are likely overblown — there will always be a need for people. But employers still need to help their workers boost their skill sets. Otherwise, they’ll be faced with employee turnover or end up with dispirited, disengaged workers. 

The publication cited two studies worth noting: First, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report says 84 percent of employers are set to digitize working processes rapidly, and remote working will continue to expand.

Second, a 2019 study by IBM found that up to 120 million workers in the world’s 12 biggest economies may need to be retrained or reskilled due to AI and automation. It also found that only 41 percent of CEOs said they had the people, skills, and resources required to execute their business strategies.

Building Employee Engagement

Employee upskilling is a tool management can use to help staff gain new digital skills and boost engagement. Employee upskilling is an investment in an employee’s future. It demonstrates the company’s commitment to helping them to advance in their jobs and careers.

Employee Benefit News advises that before launching an upskilling program, the company should first map out how they see their own needs evolving to compete in the new, digital economy. Employers should communicate this vision to employees and provide resources and opportunities to grow into new roles. 

Employees also have to play an active role in understanding the company’s direction and how they can grow to help that vision succeed. Unfortunately, a World Economic Forum report found that only 42 percent of employees take advantage of employer-supported education and retraining opportunities.

Employee Upskilling’s Business Benefits 

Business Matters quoted an Oxford Economics and Unum study that showed if a company replaces an employee earning approximately £25,000 ($34,598) per annum, the turnover cost of that employee would be £30,000 ($41,517) in one year. Employee Benefit News quoted a study conducted by Gallup asserting that high turnover and new hires cost the average 100-person company approximately $660,000 to $2.6 million per year.

Therefore, the cost of employee upskilling can outweigh the cost of replacing workers. Upskilling existing employees offers benefits of lower costs associated with turnover (recruiting and onboarding expenses), retention of organizational knowledge, and perhaps a lot less stress for everyone.

Business Matters listed additional employee upskilling benefits:

1. Build More Efficient Teams

Upskilling fills skills gaps. If an employee isn’t proficient in HTML or any other coding software, another colleague who has received training can make up for that skills shortage.

2. Increase Productivity

Employees who undergo training become more productive, which results in better workflow, employee engagement, collaboration, communication, and lower costs.

3. Gain Advanced Knowledge

Employees need to keep abreast of changes and learn new skills to perform better. Upskilling can bring new expertise to your business, which provides a tremendous competitive advantage.

4. Motivate Top Talent

Employees leave businesses when they don’t foresee career development opportunities. By providing training and continuous learning options, workers will improve their skill set, increase their loyalty, and be more likely to stay with the company longer. That helps you retain the top talent and keep them away from your competitors.

5. Prepare for Changes

During the global pandemic, businesses had to let staff go to survive. That meant some essential roles were lost, and employees took on additional workloads and responsibilities with little to no knowledge in that field. Upskilling your workforce can help your businesses prepare for changes by giving employees a diversified set of skills.

Unlock your team's potential with Simplilearn's Comprehensive Upskilling programs. Explore Now!

Earning Employee Loyalty to Ensure Success

Employee upskilling demonstrates that the company places high value on its existing employees and their organizational knowledge, and does not simply regard them as replaceable or interchangeable with more experienced outside hires.

Offering corporate skills training through Simplilearn is a way employers can support individual employees’ career ambitions and interests. Working with the employee, a company can create a career path that lets the employee explore new areas and broaden their skill set rather than remain in their original job track. This new knowledge can even result in opening new products and market areas through the expanded capabilities of existing employees.

Fortunately, employee upskilling is surprisingly easy and affordable. Simplilearn offers the full range of employee upskilling to acquire digital economy skills. It provides a range of programs appropriate to employees at all levels in technology, project and quality management, and business leadership. Plus, the courses are available online, allowing learners access from anywhere in the world.

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