If your organization is looking for strategies to gain a competitive advantage, you should look no further than your own frontline employees. While your business goals and objectives are determined by your leadership team, it is primarily your frontline supervisors and workers who are responsible for executing them. If these employees lack the skills required to implement organizational strategies and initiatives, the outcomes could fall short of your projections and negatively impact your bottom line.
There are a number of reasons why providing skills upgrade training to your frontline employees makes sound business sense, but among the most important are:
- Addressing the critical skills shortage within your current workforce can boost productivity and improve your bottom line results
- Upskilling employees has been shown to increase retention and thus reduce the high cost of turnover
- Providing ongoing training can enhance employee motivation and loyalty and strengthen organizational culture
In the current environment of low unemployment and the expanding economy, the demand for skilled workers is outpacing the supply, and economic data indicates this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The unmet need for skilled workers means that many job openings remain unfilled. Recruiting and training new hires requires time and expense that can slow the pace of growth for many companies in today’s fast-paced and competitive marketplace. Developing the current frontline workforce to step into higher skilled roles can be a more efficient and effective way to manage this talent pipeline issue.
Studies have shown that opportunities for career progression are a top retention incentive, while lack of career upward mobility is often the driver of turnover. A recent Randstad study reported that 82% of employees said lifelong learning is important, but nearly 40% reported their employers don’t provide for upskilling opportunities. The study also reported that 66% of 18 to 34-year-olds feel they need to strengthen their interpersonal skills, while 70% of workers 45 years and older said vocational upskilling was critical to their development. According to Michelle Prince, SVP and global head of learning and development at Randstad, “It is in a company’s best interest to help their people grow in their profession or into leadership roles, as this can offset the severe skills gap happening in the market and increase employee engagement and retention. Employees who are given opportunities to continually advance their professional proficiency are what will help keep a company relevant and stay ahead of the competition.”
The opportunities for upgrading skills and the resulting prospects for workplace advancement have been shown to be primary motivators for workers not only to stay with their current employers, but also to feel more connected to the values and vision of the organization. Aligning the shared values and behaviors of employees with a company’s vision and objectives can help create opportunities for greater success for both the employees and the company. Training frontline workers provides opportunities for them to move into higher skilled roles, which fills job openings from within and furthers employee engagement and retention.
Employers who invest in their frontline workers by providing skills upgrade training will benefit from their investment through more effective internal talent management, increased employee retention and a stronger organizational culture.
For further reading: A GUIDE TO UPSKILLING AMERICA‘S FRONTLINE WORKERS,
Handbook for Employers by Deloitte in collaboration with the Aspen Institute