If your company is battling against a skill gap, you typically have two choices. First, you can upskill your workforce to boost its capabilities, allowing you to actively close gaps that you encounter. Second, you could replace workers with professionals that have the newly required skills.
Which approach is best may depend on your company’s unique situation. If you’re wondering whether upskilling or replacing employees is the better option, here’s what you need to consider.
When Upskilling Is the Better Choice
More often than not, upskilling is going to be the best strategy for several reasons. First, it’s a chance to curate your ideal workforce. You can add the skills you require as soon as the need is on the horizon, allowing you to prepare for upcoming projects, embrace emerging innovations, or otherwise stay ahead of the curve.
Second, upskilling typically boosts engagement, particularly among your top performers. It introduces healthy challenges. Plus, it shows that you care about the growth and development of your workforce, which can boost loyalty, improve retention, and even ease recruitment.
Finally, upskilling will have a better impact on morale than the alternative. When you start replacing workers instead of training them to meet your needs, it makes every employee feels as if they’re at risk. That can breed distrust, resentment, and frustration, often leading to more turnover. Comparatively, upskilling shows that you’re willing to invest in your workforce, a move that improves morale and reduces turnover.
When Replacing Is the Better Bet
While upskilling is typically the better option, there are times when replacing employees is the right choice. If you have a worker who’s resistant to change and isn’t interested in training, they aren’t an ideal target for upskilling. As a result, a termination and replacement may be the only option you have if you need new skills in that position.
At times, replacing an employee could also allow you to acquire several new skills all at once. If a job is shifting to the point where it functionally requires a completely refreshed skillset, hiring someone from outside the organization may be the fastest way to make that happen.
Similarly, if the cost of training a particular skill is far higher than hiring someone with the needed capabilities, replacing an employee could be the more cost-effective option. While this is rare, it can happen with specific highly specialized capabilities where training opportunities are minimal.
Ultimately, both approaches can help companies boost the capabilities of their workforce, but each one may work better in some circumstances while the other is a better fit in different situations. By keeping that in mind, you can develop a strategy that accounts for your company’s unique needs, ensuring you use the best approach every time you need to bring new skills into your workplace.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can cultivate the ideal workforce, the team at The Advance Group wants to hear from you. Contact us today.