Skip to main content

As the situation in Ukraine evolves, businesses should be mindful of potential risks to their people, assets, operations, or supply chains in the region and globally. Marsh, as part of the Marsh McLennan family of companies, has created a page with information, tools, and resources related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Please visit the page for the latest information.

August 18, 2022

Do your employees have the tools to build better careers?

Creating stronger, smarter employees is better than having to hire

Given the state of today’s (and tomorrow’s) workforce—particularly in light of what has happened during and since the pandemic shutdowns—most companies are aware that retaining great talent and building a stronger workforce is key to their success. 

After all, retaining talent is far less time-consuming and costly than recruiting, hiring, and training new talent. Providing training, career development opportunities, and new skills helps to create powerful, sustainable engagement and can keep employees with you for the long run.

According to a 2018 LinkedIn survey, 94% of workers would stay at a company longer if management invested in their careers. Additionally, according to PwC’s Global Digital IQ survey, 86% of CEOs reported that employing digital training and education programs led to improvements in employee engagement.

In a June 2021 Gallup poll, more than half of employees (57%) said they were “extremely” or “very” interested in participating in an upskilling or reskilling program. Of those interested, 63% said they were motivated by the chance to advance their careers.

Putting skills at the forefront of any strategy is an essential move for the future of the organization. The only real question is how to go about doing that. There are several potential strategies which can be valuable depending on the employee involved and the needs of the organization.

Upskilling versus reskilling?

Although these terms are sometimes conflated, for the sake of this discussion we have defined them separately.

“Upskilling” means helping employees learn new skills and technologies to enhance their current role in the company.

“Reskilling” concerns teaching an employee skills beyond their current role to facilitate the opportunity for them to change directions and jobs within the company.

Investing in skills can improve both performance and reliability. Remember, though, the overall motivation should be employee career development.

Empowering employees to own their careers

Some employees will always fit one job description. It’s what they do best and often what they’re most comfortable doing. Upskilling is still beneficial in helping them improve and refine the skills needed to do their jobs to the very best of their abilities.

Other employees are not only capable of fulfilling other roles within the company, but it’s what they want to do. These are the employees who best benefit from reskilling.

How do you identify which employee is which? In some cases it will be easier to do than others. Certain employees will be more self-driven, ask more questions about other areas of the company and how they relate to their current jobs, and demonstrate interest in the company’s overall direction and performance. 

On the other hand, many employees will struggle to identify what they want. Deciding what kind of career path they should be on is a mutual activity between them and you, but how do you decide how to move forward?

Give them the power to help make that decision.

Provide a road map and see who wants to travel

This is where you can see how people’s ambitions align with what they’re capable of doing. There are tools available, including AI-driven resources, that can identify skill gaps employees need to get across to reach their goals as well as whether or not a new direction is suitable for them.

Presenting employees with optional directions their career paths could take is extremely beneficial. That way, employees can discover roles they previously didn’t know existed. That also gives them new reasons to stay with your company.

However, identifying a new role is often easier than transitioning into that role. That may likely require guidance or mentoring and support from the company’s leadership. 

Employees who are offered training without an end in sight can often become frustrated, potentially leading to a lack of engagement and can result in turnover.

Defining an end result along with milestones that measure performance and progress is key to the success of any career development effort. There are tools that allow employees to track their progress and see what they need to do next.

Building from the inside can be better than hiring from the outside

Today’s tight employee market makes it even more critical to build a strong workforce from within rather than having to add skills or replace them. Retaining employees—especially your top performers—is a critical component of your organization’s health. It’s also a key way to meet future demands on your company’s time and expertise.

That said, having a robust upskilling and reskilling career development program can also give you a significant advantage in hiring. The competition for talent is intense. According to skill gap research done by the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM), 83% of HR professionals have difficulty recruiting top talent. Having a well-planned program like this can position your company as an attractive choice to attract and retain talent.

MMA can help you create the right strategy

Reach out to your Marsh McLennan Agency team to find out what your organization can do to attract and retain top talent. From guidance on developing the right training strategy, which voluntary benefits to offer, what to expect next from the job market, and more, MMA can help.