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Upskilling’s impact on learning, talent retention and talent acquisition

The skills gap is widening, in part because of the inequities in the kind of training people receive. That’s been exacerbated by the pandemic, with everything from discrepancies in internet access to child care responsibilities affecting people’s capacity to improve their skills.

The bottom line: People who need digital skills the most are often the least likely to get them

Fortunately, enterprises can make a difference. Closing skill gaps from within an organization should be an initiative every business undertakes. 

Offering digital upskilling and training as an employee retention strategy can help maintain a competitive edge, especially in today’s battle for top talent.

To position your company for success it’s critical to understand: 

  • Why upskilling and reskilling are good alternatives to hiring in today’s talent landscape

  • How relevant, personalized training helps talent acquisition and retention 

  • Why employee-directed learning boosts upskilling program adoption

Invest in your people before hiring from outside

Companies are always looking for bright, new talent, but looking internally could be a smart move. Existing personnel may already have, or have the potential to easily acquire, the skills you’re looking to build in order to grow.

An employee already steeped in your organization’s culture knows your business and your customers. When you have an open position, consider looking at employees whose current capabilities overlap with your new role requirements. With some strategic reskilling or upskilling, they might be just what you’re looking for and save you the time and money it takes to hire and onboard someone from outside the organization.

Reskilling and upskilling from within is a trend that’s here to stay. By 2024, it’s estimated that 40% of workers will require up to six months of reskilling, while 94% of business leaders expect their workers to pick up new skills. Embrace this trend and invest in your people. It pays off—93% of CEOs who introduce upskilling programs see increased productivity, an improvement in talent acquisition and retention, and a more resilient workforce. 

Learning opportunities can breed company loyalty

Workers want enhanced learning and development opportunities, with 77% of workers saying they’re  ready to learn new skills or completely retrain. They know it will keep them more employable, with 74% seeing upskilling as a matter of personal responsibility.

Companies that support continuous learning and encourage innovation are preparing their workforce to adapt to change. How? By equipping them with the skills they need to leverage new technology and techniques to streamline processes and drive growth. 

Personalizing upskilling and making it relevant to an employee’s job––as well as other roles they might want to try––can foster company loyalty.Those who have the right tools and training are more likely to address challenges with confidence and let others outside the organization know they feel supported at work. Word of mouth is an invaluable part of overall talent acquisition efforts and can serve as part of your overall recruiting strategy. Indeed, companies that have a reputation of investing in training are more attractive to job seekers.

Put your people’s needs first to boost adoption

Upskilling can foster a culture of upward mobility. That’s a motivating factor for employees that also generates excitement and boosts adoption of corporate learning programs. Continually offering opportunities to upskill builds a pipeline of digitally savvy talent that can fill future needs and help you stay competitive. Consider credentialing opportunities that make new skills “official.” Conquering one skill set at a time builds worker confidence.

While leadership should give people paid time to learn, it’s wise to encourage skills acquisition and experimentation, and avoid top-down mandates. Instead, put people in control of how they spend their learning time. At PwC, our approach to upskilling also involves citizen-led innovation. We give our people the time, resources and freedom to learn how to build digital solutions they can then share across the organization to help drive efficiencies and innovation at scale. 

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Invest in tomorrow 

Stay ahead of the curve with PwC ProEdge, the revolutionary way to upskill your people and prepare your organization for tomorrow. This unique platform allows you to pinpoint critical skill gaps and effectively help close them with automatically generated personalized learning pathways. Leading curated content, coursework and hands-on learning empower your workforce to make an immediate impact at scale. ProEdge enables your people to perform at their highest level—giving them the power to help transform your entire organization.

Take the first step on a new path toward transforming both your organization and the learning experience of your employees.

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