It’s Time to Stop Searching for Skills. Build Them Instead.


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Hiring in today’s market can feel like an uphill battle, but many leaders believe they must keep at it to ensure their businesses’ success. After all, proceeding with business as usual when your team is understaffed can threaten productivity and client relationships, not to mention that members of such teams can start to feel undervalued and overworked—a perfect recipe for burnout.

There’s a common belief that hiring is the only way to avoid the ill effects associated with being short-staffed. That means that organizations must fill the gaps using more aggressive recruitment tactics and a budget to match, right? Not quite. As some employers struggling to find talent continue this cycle, others have found another way to overcome today’s challenging market: investing in their staff and their career development.

The Power of Upskilling

Upskilling is a powerful way to grow a team’s potential, fill skills gaps, and boost productivity without hiring someone new. It all starts with a decision to invest in existing workers rather than finding new ones. By offering workshops, hosting on-the-job trainings, investing in new technology, and offering to subsidize or cover the cost of classes, employers can close talent gaps, help even under-staffed teams meet their goals and push the business forward. They may even be able to achieve these benefits more quickly and at a lower cost than the alternative.

Engaging with known workers comes with less risk than bringing on new employees and reduces the time spent on onboarding, training, and other administrative needs. After all, existing employees taking on new responsibilities or moving to a new department already know how the company works, understand the business’ mission and objectives, and have familiarity with clients and coworkers. They’re more prepared to hit the ground running on day one, which makes the transition smoother and more comfortable for everyone.

Furthermore, investing in upskilling can offer relief to employers and employees alike. Workers who feel overwhelmed or underprepared for the workload they are given often jump at the chance to develop skills or engage with technologies that can lighten the load. Furthermore, investing in strategies that aid retention—rather than allocating that money toward more recruitment tools or new-hire compensation packages—can help reduce turnover to mitigate future hiring needs, from the front desk to the C-suite.

Promoting and prioritizing skills development as a core driver in the workplace establishes a corporate culture that values growth and advancement, both of which can give trusted, experienced, and already-trained employees more motivation to stick around. The fact is that most employees want to feel seen and valued by their employers, and knowing that there’s not just room to grow, but that they’ll be rewarded for it, makes employees more likely to seize opportunities to do so.

The Perfect Fit Is Right in Front of You

Today’s hiring landscape is enough to send most business leaders into a panic. Teams are understaffed, economic anxieties are high, and highly skilled candidates seem to be few and far between. Still, the threat of burnout creeping its way into skeleton crews looms large, motivating organizations to pour time, money, and energy into a seemingly never-ending search for the perfect fit.

It’s a logical approach—and the traditional one—but the market in which we are operating is like nothing we’ve seen before. It’s time for leaders to recognize that the task of putting together a successful, and fully staffed, team today may necessitate a different strategy. Once they do, they can start building skills instead of solely finding them.


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