During April 2020, there was a letter-board sign outside a church in the suburbs of Brisbane that read:

Make your choices based on your hopes and not your fears.”

While this sign may not have been targeting talent leaders specifically, it may have been more relevant to our field than we thought. Just two months later, findings from PwC’s Talent Trend report, Upskilling: Building confidence in an uncertain world, revealed only 18% of CEOs have made significant progress establishing employee upskilling programs in their organisations over the past year.

Was fear holding them back? Fears their employees might leave after they’ve gained their new skills, uncertainty around what skills their workforce will need in the future, or maybe they were scared to commit to the financial cost of employee upskilling?

Unfortunately, these anxieties have obstructed the other 82% of organisations from seeing the significant benefits of upskilling.


Enhanced Employee Retention

77% of employees said they’d be willing to upskill, and Deloitte reports that opportunities for career progression — or lack thereof — is the No. 1 retention incentive. Of the few companies that are making significant progress on upskilling, building employee engagement is reported as the biggest benefit.

By not only investing in employee upskilling and training but also creating opportunities to put their new skills to use, you’ll increase their value to your organisation and send a clear message that they have a valuable place in the company’s future.


Upskilling Attracts High-Quality Talent

Talented people want to work with businesses that value learning opportunities, making them more attracted to organisations known for their commitment to upskilling. In a Gallup report, 59% of millennials, 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of Baby Boomers stated opportunities to learn and grow were extremely important to them when applying for a job.

In addition, when employees feel a sense of purpose and engagement in their organisation, they become stronger brand ambassadors. These brand ambassadors are then more likely to refer their own network contacts and friends to open positions because they know their company will invest in their future.


Improving the Bottom Line

Upskilling your workforce costs money, but more often than not employee upskilling is less expensive than the cumulative costs of recruiting and onboarding new employees with the desired skillset. Extended job vacancies also lead to other potential costs like:

  • Productivity loss
  • Lower morale
  • Revenue loss
  • Inability to grow business.


If it’s going to take you months to fill a position, you may be able to train one of your current employees to do the job in the same (or shorter) amount of time. It’s also more likely to be easier to fill the less senior, or entry-level role vacated by an upskilled and promoted existing employee than finding external candidates with the required specialised skills and experience.

Employee upskilling can be disruptive and while it does take time and money, the benefits usually far outweigh the risks. That being said, it’s always important to measure your return on investment via financial results, customer satisfaction, employee retention, talent attraction and/or societal impact.

Great organisations are not built on luck or wishful thinking; they’re built through the passion, skills and dedication of their employees. Business cultures who support life-long learning and upskill their workforce will remain the most competitive and relevant.


If you need some guidance shaping the process for your hiring needs, get in touch with us at Alcami Interactive to request a personalised demo.