Why Should You Invest in Upskiling?

Published 12 August 2019 by Caroline Koktvedgaard

Upskilling is expensive. So why should you invest in it? For starters, employees are six times more likely to leave a company within a year if their employers don't offer opportunities to develop skills. If you want your employees to stick around, and learn about how we helped Unilever upskill globally, read on.

How long do employees tend to stick around at your company? Do they have the skills they need to lead the company into the future and tackle digital disruption? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you should look to replace your current employees. 

In fact, it could be more cost-effective to upskill your current employee base, instead of spending time and money hiring new ones. 

Here’s why we believe you should invest in upskilling.

 

We are all lacking important skills

A large percentage of the workforce are lacking the necessary skills to lead their company through this period of transformation and disruption. In fact, 62% of executives believe they will need to retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce between now and 2030 due to automation and digitization.

However, the answer isn’t simply to replace employees who don’t have the necessary skills. Because guess what? We’re all lacking important skills.

According to the World Economic Forum, 54% of employees of large companies will need significant re- and up-skilling in order to fully harness the growth opportunities offered by the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The issue not only affects your employees, but senior leaders too. In fact, upskilling senior leaders is crucial. According to Deloitte, 44% of senior executives say they are not receiving the resources they need to develop their personal digital skills. 

However, where support is provided, it delivers a substantial confidence boost: 81% of leaders who receive the resources they need to improve their digital skills are “confident in their ability to lead their organisation in the digital economy”. 

We need to integrate the right kind of talent in our organisations. And according to McKinsey, “that calls for striking the appropriate balance for your institution between injecting new employees and transforming existing ones.”

In other words, we are missing a huge opportunity to empower our current workforce by not offering them the chance to upskill, and gain the capabilities they need to succeed.

 

People want to upskill

Research proves that today’s workforce want to work for companies that allow them to develop the skills they need to succeed. And with 68.5% of workers considering themselves “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work, achieving a learning culture the challenges and engages employees is more important than ever.

According to a recent survey from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, employees are six times more likely to leave a company within a year if their employers don’t offer opportunities to develop skills. 

This especially applies to young people, who have a greater tendency to move around every 2-3 years. In fact, according to an analysis by Josh Bersin, among Millennials “career opportunities” is the #1 driver of employment brand.

According to Bersin, “education and skills are perhaps the biggest drivers of your own personal earnings potential, so organisations that offer training, lots of developmental assignments, and a coaching culture are now the premium places to work.” 

Perhaps this is why global investments in learning technology companies reached over $9.52 billion in 2017, up 30% from 2016. And 63% of companies are now providing formal or on-the-job training in-house.

 

But what about the challenge of upskilling global companies?

One of the challenges that many companies are facing is the sheer number of people that need upskilling. And with global corporations, this becomes an even bigger challenge. 

One global company that has squared up to this challenge is Unilever. With more than 400 brands bought in 190 countries, Unilever’s products are used by 2.5 billion people every day. If you’ve ever washed your hair, used a cotton swab, or applied petroleum jelly to your chapped lips, it’s almost certain that you’ve used a Unilever product

In other words, Unilever are the closest thing to a truly omnipresent company. They also happen to be one of Circus Street’s clients.

Unilever came to us with a particular challenge. As a big learning company, they are always trying to build marketing capability. But how do you get to a global group of marketers in 80 countries, instil a learning culture that’s exciting, and give them content that’s going to be meaningful, not only to what they do every day, but also to where they are in the organisation?

In order to succeed, Unilever needed to develop a learning programme in which they were able to customise the content, so it would  be relevant to people in different functions and at different work levels throughout the organisation. 

This need reflects a broader global trend, in which the demand for flexible online learning is growing exponentially. Employees are increasingly able to access learning via search engines, video sharing platforms, social networks and other communication tools. And to meet the needs of today’s digital organisations, L&D must provide a learning environment that reflects increased workforce mobility. 

So how could Unilever create a training programme that was highly customisable, tailored to their specific needs, and available to their employees across the world?

 

Partnering with Circus Street

“We chose Circus Street because the product is just outstanding.”

– Jennifer Galichon, Director of Marketing Operations, Unilever North America

Unilever partnered with Circus Street to develop a global learning program to help them build their marketing capabilities. The whole thing functions on a few different levels: 

  1. Developing tools and training: Our aim is to improve digital knowledge at pace and scale, and build capability in a structured way. This approach creates a common digital language, raises the floor of knowledge and delivers learning outcomes that achieve strategic business objectives.

  2. Building high performing teams: We help you build and retain high performing, happy teams, and achieve tangible outcomes quickly and across your entire organisation. From the delivery of better briefs to higher conversion rates and more confident conversations internally and with external partners.

  3. Customised learning and delivery: We work with you to design a programme that aligns with your business goals and delivers tangible benefits. We take the lead in launching, embedding and measuring the success of your programme freeing up your internal resources.

  4. Dedicated account management: We combine this with an account management function that drives adoption, encourages behavioural change and the implementation of new concepts, skills and ideas and then captures the results.

  5. Marketing syllabus written by experts: Our broad syllabus covers the entire scope of digital marketing capabilities and lessons are updated regularly. We combine award-winning animations, interactivity and professional presenters to deliver highly engaging and effective content. 

 

“The learning environment is like none other that I’ve seen. It’s engaging, it’s compelling, it makes you take notes, and... you can see your own learning progress.”

– Jennifer Galichon, Director of Marketing Operations, Unilever North America

 

Lastly, our learning programmes are data-driven. From a management perspective, you will know not only how many people have logged in and started their learning process – you can also see their progress. “It lets us know that our people are actually learning, and then we can see them apply it on the job,” says Galichon. 

Overall, the result is an education solution that results in your teams having the confidence, understanding and ability to succeed in a technology-driven world. 

“We think it’s fantastic, and it’s been just a terrific experience.”

– Jennifer Galichon, Director of Marketing Operations, Unilever North America

 

Ready to get started?

As a global online learning business, we help organisations navigate the uncertainties of technology-driven future by building their digital capabilities. 

To unlock the benefits of upskilling, Circus Street is offering a free trial for your HR and L&D departments to stay ahead of the curve.

 

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