Upskilling vs. Hiring: What to choose?

4 min read

Upskilling employees can save up to 36,084 euros over hiring new talent.

The news  

As we have advanced in terms of technology, the skill gap has also increased among employees. To rectify the problem, many companies are hiring new talent and helping their current employees improve their skills.  But what is the ideal choice that one needs to make?  As we have already seen the numbers, it is safe to say that upskilling current employees will be an ideal choice.   

In this article, we will see how upskilling present employees is better than hiring someone new.   

Why upskill current employees?  

Hiring someone new gives you a fresh perspective and may introduce you to many new practices. But upskilling the current employees is a more quick and cost-effective way to fill the skill gap.   

Let us see in detail because you need to upskill current employees.   

1. Less risk   

regardless of how extensive your interview process is and how much time it took to hire the new employee. Things can go wrong at any time.  

They might have exaggerated their skills; they might quit after some time, unable to adjust to the new environment.   

Or even if they are a perfect employee, they will need time to adjust to the new environment. And to perform at their utmost potential, it will take time. The ramp-up time is much longer when you compare it to training an existing employee.   

Also, when you compare, the older employees are already adjusted to the office environment. With their hard work, they can learn new skills and perform better than any new employees you will hire.   

2. Current employees are already familiar with tasks   

Starting a new job can be overwhelming for anyone. Even if the employee has complete technical knowledge, you still need to work on relationships with colleagues, gain niche knowledge, and learn the company’s processes.   

It will take less time for you to execute your required tasks, and it will help you be more productive.   

They have ground-floor knowledge about your company’s operations, which will help align the tasks better with the company’s goals. They are already briefed about the company’s short- and long-term goals, KPIs, and expectations.   

3. Keep your costs low  

When hiring anyone new, it will take a significant amount of time and cost. But when you are upskilling your existing talent, it will take significantly less time and cost less.   

Posting a new job will involve these many costs:   

  • Developing new job postings   
  • Making advertisements for job postings   
  • Finding the ideal clients   
  • Segregating the applications   
  • Taking interviews   

If at all, you are taking the help of any other third party to do the hiring for you, it does not save you money; it just displaces your costs.   

Upskilling existing employees will cost you some money for training purposes. But if the training is in-house, the costs are negligible. Therefore. Hiring new talent is more expensive than training the existing talent pool.   

4. Retain great talent on your board   

We know by now that hiring new employees is more expensive, but we must also acknowledge that it is not easy.   

It takes time, effort, and resources to hire new employees, and with so much work, you want to retain the new employee. The retention of these employees is not guaranteed, whereas you can easily retain an existing employee by upskilling.   

Different studies show that a lack of training and upskilling is one of the major reasons for employees quitting. Retaining your existing employees can be made easy with training and upskilling.   

Employees will appreciate your efforts to contribute to their growth and upskilling.   

5. Develop an environment of growth   

A stagnant work environment is liked by none. You must give your employees opportunities to grow. This will help in building a positive environment that fosters growth among your employees.   

Sometimes it becomes inevitable to hire new employees. In that case, you can make a good case for your training programs. Better opportunities will lure talents who want to upskill and grow. It will become a plus for your organization and attract the type of employees you need for growth.   

Conditions making hiring new talents unavoidable   

We have talked about how upskilling existing employees will do wonders for you, but sometimes it becomes unavoidable to hire new employees.   

As we talked about earlier, some conditions will leave you no choice but to hire. For instance, when you want a specialized person with more years of experience, you can hire new employees. Or when you want to invite a completely new perspective to the table.   

How can you promote employee upskilling?   

1. Assess employee skills and interests:  
  • Conduct a skills assessment to identify the current skill set of each employee.  
  • Understand their career aspirations, interests, and areas for growth.  
  • Use this information to tailor upskilling opportunities to individual needs.  

2. Create a Culture of Learning:  
  • Foster a culture that values continuous learning and professional development.  
  • Encourage employees to pursue upskilling opportunities and make them a part of their regular work routine.  
  • Recognize and reward employees who actively engage in upskilling initiatives.  

3. Provide Clear Development Paths:  
  • Work with employees to develop personalized development plans that align with their career goals and the organization’s needs.  
  • Clearly define the skills and competencies required for various roles within the organization.  
  • Communicate growth opportunities and the potential for advancement.  

4. Offer Training and Development Programs:  
  • Provide a range of upskilling options, including workshops, seminars, online courses, and certifications.  
  • Invest in both technical and soft skills training to develop well-rounded employees.  
  • Consider partnering with external training providers or leveraging internal subject matter experts.  

5. Support Employee-Led Learning:  
  • Encourage employees to take ownership of their learning and explore self-directed learning opportunities.  
  • Provide resources such as access to online learning platforms, industry publications, and learning communities.  
  • Foster knowledge-sharing and peer-to-peer learning within the organization.  

6. Establish Mentorship Programs:  
  • Pair employees with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support on their upskilling journey.  
  • Mentors can offer insights, share knowledge, and provide valuable feedback to help employees develop their skills.  

7. Promote Cross-Functional Experiences:  
  • Encourage employees to take on projects or assignments outside of their usual roles to gain new skills and perspectives.  
  • Provide opportunities for job rotations or cross-departmental collaborations.  
  • Cross-functional experiences enhance employees’ adaptability, problem-solving abilities, and understanding of the organization as a whole.  

8. Regularly Review and Assess Progress:  
  • Conduct periodic check-ins to review employees’ progress and provide feedback.  
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of upskilling initiatives and adjust as needed.  
  • Recognize and celebrate milestones and achievements in employees’ upskilling journeys.  

Let’s wrap   

It is important to understand your company’s goals and requirements. If you want to hire new talent or upskill the existing one, make sure it aligns with your goals.   

Rather than upskilling your employees when you require someone for a new job, keep them up to date with the market with frequent training.   

This training can be technical, soft skills-based, or anything else that would help your employees move forward. It will also help you retain them, as employees now search for opportunities to grow and learn new things.   

For tips to upskill your workforce: Read

Yashika from Acadle

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