Too often, managers assume they must make external hires to upskill their team. This approach can not only result in low morale, but it also can overlook internal candidates with promising potential for future growth.
For employees to be motivated and engaged, they need to feel valued and empowered. If an employee performs well and shows potential for growth, the last thing they need is to be micromanaged or underestimated.
A good leader recognizes their employees’ skills and capabilities and builds confidence by empowering them to do their jobs and ask for help when needed.
When managers recognize that there are gaps on the team and opportunities to build the team’s capabilities, they should first look internally to identify team members who may have the potential to fill those gaps even if they don’t yet have the skills.
As shared in an article from BuiltIn, “Upskilling, reskilling, cross-skilling and expert-skilling your employees builds loyalty and ensures their skills stay current and, ideally, future-focused for your operations.”
The article defines these in the following way:
- Upskilling – Updating staff knowledge and capabilities so everyone can stay on top of their jobs.
- Reskilling – Training employees for another role within your business.
- Cross-Skilling – Improving staff proficiencies so everyone can do more than just cover their current responsibilities and duties.
- Expert-Skilling – Deepening employees’ skill sets and knowledge about their work.
An article from World Economic Forum notes that a survey from Pew Research found that 63% of respondents who left jobs in 2021 cited a lack of advancement opportunities as a reason. And a 2022 McKinsey study noted that a lack of career development and advancement was the most common reason given for quitting a job.
Hiring new employees can cost on average $4500. This does not include the time it takes to hire, train and acclimate. Some studies show that it can take up to six months or more for a company to break even on its investment in a new hire.
Here are three ways managers can upskill internal team members:
- Make pathways for growth and advancement visible.
- Ask employees about their interests and career goals then work with them to develop a professional development plan.
- Consider ways to help employees learn through others via networking or mentorship opportunities.
With a plan and commitment to internal advancement, managers can build a culture that values employees and sets them up for success.
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