Upskilling employees? Odds are you’re underinvesting

• 3 min read

“If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.”

– Stephen Stills, Love the One You’re With

We all suffer from novelty bias: The tendency to pay disproportionate attention to what’s shiny and new.

This is why we focus so much on technology and innovation and so little on maintenance and repair. We want to reduce fuel consumption and traffic, so we get excited about electric vehicles and autonomous driving—but yawn when we think about repairing our roads, bridges, and public transit systems.

In relationships, this is what Stephen Stills was singing about: How chasing the novelty of new partners can lead you astray. How learning to appreciate what you have (“love the one you’re with”) can lead to the most fulfilling relationships.

And in the current job market, novelty bias is why so many organizations are focused on attracting new employees rather than upskilling or reskilling their existing people.

Consider that:

  • 94% of employees would stay with their employers longer if they were offered learning opportunities
  • 70% of employees say they don’t have mastery of the skills they need to do their jobs
  • It can cost as much as 6x more to hire externally than build from within

Let’s run through these one-by-one.

94% of employees would stay longer if they were offered learning opportunities

The best leaders are built, not bought. This is why we talk about ‘leadership development’, not ‘leadership acquisition’. What’s the use in attracting the best people if you can’t retain them?

Employees deeply value learning and growth. And they will go to the organizations that provide it. A robust culture of learning and development (and upskilling) is an often-overlooked component of a winning talent strategy.

70% of employees don’t have mastery of the skills they need to do their jobs

This figure may seem shocking, but it makes sense. No business goes out and hires people with skill gaps. These skill gaps develop in the absence of dedicated upskilling programs. And they will appear just as quickly in your ‘shiny and new’ hires as they have in your tenured employees. 

There is no new hire that will future-proof your organization from needing to upskill. This is why it’s critical that employees have access to upskilling and training opportunities. 

It can cost up to 6x more to hire externally than build from within

Hiring is expensive. There’s recruiting fees and technology, advertising the position, conducting interviews, plus the potential for higher turnover rate of new recruits. And that is all before onboarding and ramping up, which can take months. 

Upskilling isn’t just better for talent development and retention; it’s also more cost-effective.

The bottom line

The future of work demands a workforce equipped with digital skills. It demands new approaches to mentoring, a new set of hybrid soft skills, plus familiarity in an ever-evolving world of software, certifications, artificial intelligence, and more. 

Employees want to learn and grow. They want a clear career path and to develop new competencies. And that amazing ‘new hire?’ They’ll need new skills too—and probably sooner than you think.

Of course, upskilling requires its own investments: you need an LMS that adapts to your peoples’ needs and delivers the right training at the right time. And then you need the actual content itself. 

Sounds complex. But it doesn’t have to be.

With Docebo Content, you can easily access the world’s best e-learning content, consolidated from hundreds of providers, covering thousands of the most relevant, in-demand skills. It’s that easy.