Re-skilling staff is better than recruiting

With IT people in short supply shouldn't organisations consider promoting and reskilling people from within rather than looking for outside recruits? Recruiting new staff is expensive and risky - new starters may not mesh with your company culture and their skills can sometimes be different from those trumpeted on a CV. Existing employees have a great advantage: they’re a known quantity and they know a corporate culture. So isn't it better to upskill their existing IT staff as opposed to looking externally for new talent?

Posted by Brian Andrew Runciman on 29th Nov 2016
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Vote cast

Strongly Agree : 47 %
Agree : 42 %
Disagree : 5 %
Strongly Disagree : 5 %

Comments (12)

Charles Idowu

4 Weeks ago

Another reason to re-skill staff can be supported from the cost point of view.Cost is one of the biggest drawbacks of hiring new talent. Some studies suggest the cost of hiring new employees is greater than a study called Berkeley's research indicates. The Society for Human Research Management estimates that the cost of directly replacing an employee can run as high as 50 to 60 percent of their annual salary, and total associated costs of turnover can rise to 90 to 200 percent.5 For example, according to the Association for Talent Development's 2014 State of the Industry report, the turnover cost of replacing a human resources manager can be £133,000. In comparison, the average annual cost of training and developing a new employee is just £1,208.6 Turns out, training current employees is much more cost-efficient than hiring new ones.

Barbara Robson

09 September 2017

I suppose I was fortunate to work for companies and organisation where it was thought essential that everyone working for them had some degree of computer literacy? Remember the old joke about the cleaners knowing when a company was going bust long before the directors? The first time I was given the task of teaching computer skills to disgruntled workers it was really terrifying but I got better at it. Training should be relevant where possible, with lots of "in" jokes and the guarantee of tea and biscuits at the end. Word soon gets around that you are not in a situation where you risk failure or humiliation. I had people lower down the "pecking order" soon picking up errors from those above them and they had been told the procedure for handling this without raising too many hackles. We found it really paid off and a few people managed to continue in training and upskilling to a point where there was a positive attitude towards self improvement and being part of a flourishing community city. Remember, it is only too easy for disgruntled employees at every level to damage a company and there are competitors only too happy to discover the good the bad and the ugly about the place where you work. The word Company has a meaning beyond just being a place that employs you.

Barbara Robson

09 September 2017

Of course I am strictly old school since my experience of commercial computing goes back to 1961 to 1971. However, I do have the advantage of having experienced a time when I was involved in rescuing a company from a catastrophic situation by setting up a parallel organisation to rescue it: secondly setting up an entirely new company which still survives and thrives. We had a policy of re-skilling internal staff where ever possible and generally this worked. For two reasons. Firstly we knew the people and their aptitude, also they knew they would return to their posts if it did not work out. Trust within a company is paramount and support through the processes is essential. You have to discover the talent around you and put that to work. You might recruit someone brilliant from outside and they might move on quickly setting you back. Taster courses for staff to encourage development is one way forward.

Mark Adrian Middlemist

23 August 2017

I would strongly agree with this is general, but with a slight codicil. I regularly mentor a number of members of other teams in our company who have an interest in software development. I give them guidance on starting their learning and act as a backstop to their personal training. In many cases it just enhances their existing role but there have been several cases where we've found real talent and have moved them over to a junior development role with career progression track. Some of these are now actually seniors on the team, and as such I view the "internal recruiting" as a very positive thing as far as it goes.

The problem is that this doesn't account for the fact that it is good to get new blood in to a team that have different backgrounds and views, not all "indoctinated" to the way the company already works, adding to the conversation to make our processes and products better. Also, it is a time-consuming process and sometime you need a senior developer with specific background in X, and don't have years or months to bring someone up to that level, especially as it is largely dependent on the personal drive of the people in the company in general.

Gary Mailer

04 April 2017

Totally agree that on the face of it upskilling of existing resources is the way to go. However there does remain the open question of whether organisations fully appreciate the time and effort needed to successfully achieve this. Will they for example 'allow' those resources who are being re-skilled to reduce their 'day to day' output during the training period?

If the re-skilling is expected to be done in parallel with normal BAU roles then there is a challenge coming over the hill

Leonard Keighley

29 March 2017

I think this may be being over simplified, for an existing team member to be reskilled or upskilled probably means that their current role is either disappearing or will generate another vacancy. So it is not an either or decision, recruiting somewhere may still be needed. Bottom line is it is easier to recruit, all the negatives of that only kick in after it is completed. If this holds true the company ends up with two 'untried' employees from a reskilling approach while only one from a recruitment only approach.

Peter Robert Stockdale

30 December 2016

Maintaining skills and competencies for existing staff in the IT sector is requirement for IT to keep delivering services and being an integral part of a business.

But there are so many ways to provide training, when new system are installed as part of the hand over. On line courses and other self study, or the most expensive and more difficult such as professional qualification and technical certification.

Although in the climate of cost, value and profit I can see having more staff on shorter fixed term contracts certainly allows for a continuous flow of new trained qualified staff up to the latest standard. Not an approach I would endorse or support.

Christopher Fellowes

15 December 2016

This is a wide ranging issue across other industries too - is it to do with where training budgets sit?, or perhaps a lack of training budgets? - my experiences of this are that it is often a very small portion of overall department spend, often without enough factored in to cover the entire team - yet if a new head is required this generally comes out of a central budget and is therefore simpler to sign off.

So many more positive reasons to invest in your team though!

John Albert Mitchell

12 December 2016

Although it is useful to bring new blood into an organisation to obtain new views and ideas, this is often more expensive than reskilling current employees. Reskilling also removes the gap between someone leaving and the new person taking their place.

Perry Perrott

06 December 2016

I have been reading some articles recently on this topic and here is the findings from one of them on the benefits of training up your own staff rather than trying to recruit:

Increased job satisfaction and morale among employees •Increased employee motivation •Increased efficiencies in processes, resulting in financial gain •Increased capacity to adopt new technologies and methods •Increased innovation in strategies and products •Reduced employee turnover •Enhanced company image, e.g., conducting ethics training (not a good reason for ethics training!) •Risk management, e.g., training about sexual harassment, diversity training

http://managementhelp.org/training/basics/reasons-for-training.htm

If this is not a compelling reason, then ask any HR manager!