Education doesn’t end with college or grad school. You stop growing at work when you stop learning. When people stop growing, they stop taking an interest in what they do. When they lose interest, productivity drops.

Quite simply, upskilling is the only way to consistently keep your people moving forward.

And it matters to your employees, too. Around 42% of people rank learning opportunities as the deciding factor when weighing up employment options.

Here’s how upskilling can offer a variety of solutions to numerous talent retention challenges.

  1. Upskilling can revive a stalled career. When an employee goes as far as they can in your organization, it’s easy for them to fall into a routine. No more challenges. No more growth. Nothing to look forward to. For someone who’s very good at what they do, it becomes a comfortable rut that usually ends with a successful job search. But no employer wants to lose their top talent, so upskilling makes perfect sense as a tool to enable new career paths for employees who’ve hit their ceiling. A new certification or course might open up opportunities in other departments or processes at your organization, with A-players bringing highly transferable skills like leadership and decision-making ability wherever they go.
  2. New skills lead to renewed interest. An employee who’s been doing the same thing for too long tends to lose interest in their job. Changing things up can have a profound effect on their levels of interest and commitment. Around 14% of employees cite a lack of engagement as their primary reason for initiating a job search. Take those some employees and put them in courses, programs and training modules designed to help them do what drives them, and you’ve got a much better chance of retaining your key players.

  3. It’s the most cost-effective leadership hunt. It’s not easy to replace a manager or lynchpin employee. In fact, it can cost 6-9 months of that manager’s salary to find, hire and train a replacement. While the best option is always keeping a great manager on board, sometimes you’re fighting a losing battle no matter what you do. In such scenarios, open up your internal workforce and get to scouting for potential replacements. Internal candidates already know the company, the customers and the lay of the land. A bit of training may be necessary, but the lack of onboarding can save you months in replacement costs.

  4. Stem the A-player bleed. Losing a good employee hurts. Losing someone that people look up to and enjoy working with can be devastating. It’s been documented that A-players crave workplaces where they’re surrounded by minds of a similar caliber. So then it’s only logical that losing what A-players you have can be detrimental to your chances of hiring more. One of the best ways to make sure your best employees aren’t actively looking for new pastures is to fast-track your most promising B-players by giving them the resources and knowledge they need to take the next step.

  5. Invest freely. In today’s volatile job market, it takes weeks or months to hire top talent but mere seconds or minutes to lose them. Companies often hesitate to develop their people because it’s highly likely that any time or cost investment will end up helping another organization, possibly even a competitor. The flipside is that many companies don’t do enough to stem that outward flow of talent. Work culture and equitable compensation matter to people, but so do career growth and opportunity. Fix the fundamentals, increase retention rates, and invest freely in employee upskilling for a three-pronged approach to success.

It’s easy to identify employees who merit L&D investment. Chances are, they’ll ask you for the opportunity.

When you’re faced with an employee who wants to grow mentally in order to grow professionally, you know you’re dealing with someone who thinks long-term.

Use this as an opportunity to identify new and future leaders, convince A-players to stay and attract others of their caliber, and organically increase the ceiling of otherwise limited employees to minimize your spend on new talent acquisition and training.

For more help understanding how and when to implement these best practices, check out this handy upskilling quick guide from eFront Learning.