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Reskilling and Upskilling: Five reasons why you should build over buy

24 November 2021

Do you buy your vegetables from the supermarket? Or do you grow them at home? Sure, growing it takes more effort, it’s laborious, it’s probably less convenient and slower than visiting your local store. But on the other hand, you control what you grow, how much of it you grow, have more say in the produce that comes out at the end and you then have exclusive access to it.

So, with this in mind, when it comes to our long-term workforce plan, do we buy for today (go to the supermarket) or build for tomorrow (grow it ourselves)?

In this blog, we share five reasons why you should build for tomorrow by reskilling and upskilling your current staff.

1.Business Agility

In recent times, the importance of business agility has never been clearer. The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to pivot how they operate quickly, reshaping demand for particular skillsets to survive unprecedented disruption. Add in more common fluctuations in sociological, economic, political, legal, environmental and technological trends, businesses need to be agile.

Traditionally companies have simply bought the talent they need, but in an environment of rising skill shortages and recruitment difficulty, building your own talent is a far more steadfast solution. Why? Because you can cover skill gaps by retraining existing staff and redeploying them elsewhere (reskilling), or you can simply equip them with new skills to take on more senior roles (upskilling).

Having these options at your disposal makes your business far more agile in a volatile macroenvironment. Furthermore, building your talent lets you mould people into ideal employees and reduces your dependence on who is available in the local talent market.

2.Talent Shortages

How do you make a great bolognaise sauce if there are no tomatoes left in the store? The answer is simple, harvest the bountiful crop of tomatoes you’ve grown over time in your backyard that you’ve carefully cultivated to perfection. Bon Appetit!

Talent shortages are rife in most key sectors: technology, engineering, hospitality and construction just to name a few. The current jobs market has been described as a ‘war for talent’ with companies battling to secure increasingly finite resources. For example, specific roles in data, IT security and software development are attracting price tags 30% above where they were one year ago. Consequently, for companies with budget constraints (most of them), solely buying talent in this candidate-led environment is expensive, challenging and more than likely unsustainable long-term.

Fortunately, there is another option. If you build your own talent by training them with the hard-to-find technical and soft skills you crave, your resiliency to talent shortages is enhanced. Training your own staff to accommodate future is a far more sustainable approach than buying a future-ready workforce in this talent market.

3.Engagement and Retention

Not only does upskilling and reskilling help you create the talent you need, but it also helps you engage and retain them. A core motivator for many professionals is learning and development. People want to work for companies that are willing to invest in them. According to research by LinkedIn, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if they invested in their careers. Put simply, upskilling and reskilling should be a fundamental part of your L&D program, which in turn bolsters your employee value proposition making talent want to stay in your company.

Some industry experts predict that Australia is on the verge of the ‘great resignation’, where a large proportion of talent plan to leave their company in the near future. According to PwC, the cost of annual turnover in Australia is already at $3.8 billion. This figure will only increase as attrition rises and talent shortages intensify, meaning retention is paramount. Therefore, your willingness to invest in your own talent (i.e., by reskilling and upskilling) could be what keeps talent engaged and loyal to your business through this tricky period.

4.Buying has risks

There’s no doubt that buying talent has its place. However, it does have associated risks.

Firstly, there’s no guarantee you’ll find the skills you need. Secondly, you may waste significant time and energy only to come up with a mediocre shortlist of candidates. Finally, there is always the chance you make a poor hiring decision which negatively impacts your broader business.

Furthermore, Another advantage of building over buying is that half of your work is already done for you, since theoretically you already have employees in your company that have capability, cultural fit and value alignment. They just need reskilling or upskilling to be redeployed or promoted.

Remember, supermarket vegetables aren’t always handled with care, they can come with imperfections, and they’re often grown using harmful chemicals that detract from the overall flavour. Ask any person who grows their own vegetables, they will likely tell you theirs taste better.

5. Be future-ready

One thing that’s for sure is that demand for particular skillsets is constantly evolving, and what’s in demand today may be superfluous tomorrow. It wasn’t so long ago that manufacturers had people running their factories, or banks used administrators to complete all there mundane tasks. Building your own pipeline of talent enables you to keep one eye on the future, and build towards skills that perhaps you don’t need now, but will need in 10-20 years-time. Technology is moving at such a rapid rate that you need to be future-ready, and building your talent pipeline can be a better method to prepare for future talent needs.

Therefore, should we buy our vegetables or grow them at home? Honestly, there are merits of doing both. Reskilling and upskilling should be a key ingredient in your long-term workforce plan because it improves your adaptability, increases your control, reduces your risk, boosts your engagement and retention and helps you be more future-ready. At Ignite, our Talent Solutions division provides training solutions customised to your business needs to ensure your workforce strategy flourishes now and into the future.

Talk to our team to find our more!