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Why upskilling means more to employees than money

Published: Friday 30th October 2020

Group of employees learning about upskilling

As an employer it is wise to ask yourself why your employees would get up in the morning just to come and work for you. Of course, money is an important factor, it is what pays the bills and puts food on the tables of families, but what else? How are you keeping your employees engaged and motivated?  There have been many studies conducted around the subject over the years, and one conclusion that they all reached is that, for most, money is more a sub-motivator then a prime mover when it comes to why we come to work every day.  In fact, a survey found that, of 5,500 people, only 13% of those looking for a new job were doing so because they were unhappy with their current salary and benefits. This is in comparison to the 40% that were looking for a new position simply because they felt it was time for a change, and 22% who wanted improved training (upskilling) and career progression opportunities. So, money clearly is not everything.  

Security prompted motivation 

People working at a desk with a large overlaid security icon

Now more than ever employees want to know that they are secure in their job, and as an employer it is your job to ensure that they feel valued. Providing opportunities for employees to upskill shows them that they matter to the business, that you see their potential and that there is room for progression within their role. After all, what is more motivating that being encouraged and supported to become a better version of you?  

Sure enough, according to research from LinkedIn, 94% of employees said they would stay at their companies longer without a pay raise if their employers took an active role in their learning and personal development.  

Upskilling action plan 

Team of employees learning about upskilling

It is recommended that you should first conduct a skills assessment before deciding on what training you are going to organize for each employee. This will enable you to identify any skill gaps and consider what skills – such as agile working, resilience or adaptability – will be important going forward. The employee will better appreciate, and be more motivated by, a sensible and well-considered plan for training for them.  

If you are thinking, “Well what if my business/department has no monetary budget for upskilling right now?”, don’t worry! Many are facing cuts in areas like this in recent months, but there are plenty of free training opportunities you and your employees can take advantage of, including courses, webinars, and online conferences – you just need to take a little time and find them.  

You might even find that your employees are upskilling themselves outside of work, and if you find this to be the case you should do what you can to encourage and support this. Recent research carried out by found that 45% of the people they surveyed would be willing to spend their own time and money on further training if it meant opportunities to grown within their role at work.  

It is a no brainer 

Two arms bumping elbows

Realistically, employers should want to develop their employee’s skills. From a business point of view, it helps to increase the rate of consistently high job performance, heightened job satisfaction, and overall lower business costs. And while as an employer you will have many pressing demands and responsibilities, and this kind of thing may not seem like a priority right now, according to Jane McNeill, director of Hays AUS, it will be those companies that spend time and resource investing in their training and development of their people now that will likely emerge at the other end of the Covid-19 crisis in the best possible situation. And as a leader, it is your responsibility to be doing everything you can to ensure your organisation is in the best shape possible to thrive when this all passes. Your employees will thank you for it! 

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