When it comes to bridging skills gaps within their organisations, business leaders have a number of options at their disposal.
They can hire; a route that is often seen as the most direct way to add new skillsets to the organisation. Other options include outsourcing or partnering with an external organisation to bridge the gap, or training the business’ existing employees in the skillsets that are needed. But which one of these options is the most effective in getting results?
To an extent, it can depend on what skillsets are being sought out and how specialised they are. However, a new report from Econsultancy has found that when it comes to speed and cost-effectiveness, training is deemed by senior staff to be quicker and cheaper than both hiring and outsourcing/partnering when adding digital skills to a business,
70% said training and/or education is the fastest way to add digital skills to the organisation, versus just 12% who found hiring the fastest means… and 18% who chose outsourcing.
More than 300 senior staff (vice president, director or above) were surveyed for the report. Of these respondents, 70% said training and/or education is the fastest way to add digital skills to the organisation, versus just 12% who found hiring the fastest means of adding digital skills, and 18% who chose outsourcing.
Sixty-one percent of respondents also found training to be the most cost-effective way to add digital skills, compared with 17% who chose hiring, and 22% who chose outsourcing.
Training is also close to being on a par with hiring in terms of what is deemed to provide the greatest impact from new digital skills: 36% of professionals responding to Econsultancy’s survey said that training offered the greatest impact from new digital skills, compared with 41% who chose hiring, and 23% who chose outsourcing.
Hiring can bring on new team members who are already proficient in a specific skillset, making its impact unsurprising; however, the fact that training is almost as highly cited shows that organisations who upskill their existing workforce also find this route to be impactful, in addition to being quick and cost-effective.
Business leaders who are looking to add highly specialised or technical skillsets to their workforce, however, would do well to look to either hiring or outsourcing/partnering: 40% of respondents believed that outsourcing is the best way to add highly specialised or technical skills, a very narrow lead over the 39% who chose hiring. Training and/or education was not regarded as quite so effective, with only 21% choosing this option as the best way to add specialist skillsets.
This makes sense, as training employees in highly specialist or technical skills would necessarily take much longer and possibly not be worthwhile if the skillset was only needed for a specific project, or a role that could just as easily be hired for.
However, in all other cases, training is widely regarded as a quick, cost-effective way to add new digital skills to an organisation while also achieving an impact with the needed skills. At a time when professionals are being required to add new digital skills to their arsenal at an unprecedented pace – with 83% assessing that they need to update their skillset at least quarterly, and a shocking 57% saying that they need to update their skillset once a month or more, this is an advantage that should not be overlooked.
For more on digital upskilling or building a learning organisation, download the report: Winning the Race for Digital Skills: The New Best Practices of Effective Learning.