INTERTEC BLOG

IT Talent: Upskill, Reskill, or Hire?

May 12, 2022 / by Frederid Palacios

If you’ve kept up with the news in the past few years, then you are well aware of the current labor shortage that businesses worldwide are facing. Specifically in the IT industry, there is a skills shortage to add on top of everything, causing organizations to address the question: where do we go for the skills we need? 

Whether a business chooses to upskill, reskill, or hire new talent, each option comes with its own list of implications. To help you determine which approach is the best fit for your company’s needs, we’ve broken down each.  

Business partners working on project, copyspace

Upskill

 

Upskilling is a common approach to both the labor and talent shortages, as it utilizes the team members already in your organization. This approach involves delivering a continuous education to your workforce, allowing them to develop their skills and advance their careers. Typically, upskilling focuses on teaching professionals across your entire organization to think strategically with a holistic perspective. 

By upskilling, companies are providing their team members with the opportunity to try new roles and focus on strategic objectives that they may not face in their current position. Upskilling also helps professionals to close any skill gaps that they may have in an effort to help them succeed in more advanced roles. 

Without providing your team members this opportunity, they may not otherwise have the time or resources to develop their skills. Many companies offer upskilling through corporate learning software in which team members can learn a variety of soft and hard skills. 

By upskilling and recruiting internally, your company can:

  • Close the skill gaps of your workforce
  • Improve individual performance
  • Increase your company’s bottom line
  • Increase employee retention and loyalty
  • Benefit from faster hire time and lower cost to hire

While upskilling is highly beneficial for both you and your team members, it does come with a few implications. To upskill your workforce, you must invest in the right education, training, resources to provide them with the skills you want them to learn. 

In addition to the cost of your training programs, you must also be willing to sacrifice the time it takes for your employees to develop their skills. The more time spent learning, the better your team members will perform - but the less time spent working. That being said, there are other approaches you can consider. 

 

Reskill

 

While upskilling is about teaching skills that further your employees’ careers, allowing you to promote from within, reskilling is a bit different. Essentially, upskilling involves vertical movement within the organization, while reskilling is about horizontal movement. Reskilling involves teaching employees new skills so that they can perform other roles in the future. 

The best way to approach reskilling is by looking at individuals with adjacent skills or skills closely related to the new skills your organization needs. By reskilling, individuals receive training that enables them to move from one job to another in your organization. In terms of IT, this may involve training an IT member with some cloud skills to become advanced in cloud migration and eventually a specialist in your organization in that skill. 

By reskilling, organizations can develop the skills of their current workforce while also filling the needs they have for new roles. This is particularly helpful during a skills shortage. As there are only so many professionals available with highly demanded, niche skills, it can be easier to “create” a new expert than search for a preexisting one. 

Similar to upskilling, reskilling is excellent in improving performance, employee retention, and loyalty. The more employees feel invested in, the more likely they are to stay with your organization and continue contributing meaningfully. 

Still, there is a downside to every approach. With reskilling, you also have to invest the time and money necessary to train your employees. Additionally, as employees move laterally throughout your organization, you may need to fill the role that they have left. 

 

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Hire

 

While upskilling and reskilling involve internal movement, another approach is to hire new talent externally. This tends to be the most straightforward approach in terms of finding the skills you need, but there are some challenges with hiring externally. 

First and foremost, hiring new talent is a time-consuming process. Companies cannot rely on organic talent acquisition alone. Instead, they must post job ads and utilize hiring managers or a recruitment team. Even when the applications start coming in, you must sort through applicants and schedule and conduct interviews. 

Finding the right candidate can take months, and there’s no guarantee that you find them at all or that they accept an offer. With the current labor shortage going on, competition is fierce and prospective candidates have the power - making hiring externally time-consuming and expensive. 

Even when you find a candidate and they decide to join your organization, you must then conduct onboarding and allow them time to adjust to the new role. While the position might be filled, it could take a while before your new team member is up-and-running. 

This is where hiring internally can be more beneficial, as current employees are already accustomed to your organization’s culture, structure, and tools. Still, if the right skills aren’t already in your organization and you don’t have the time for training or recruitment, how do you find the skills you need? 

 

Is There Another Option?

 

While upskilling, reskilling, and hiring are all beneficial approaches in their own way, none are very helpful when it comes to time-sensitive needs. Often, when organizations realize the need for a new skill, they want it filled as quickly as possible without compromising on quality. While this may seem like an impossible feat - there is a solution. 

Outsourcing, and nearshoring in particular, can provide companies with the skills they need - when they need them. Nearshoring refers to outsourcing an MSP located in a neighboring country. Usually, when companies think of outsourcing, they don’t consider looking outside their domestic country, but doing so can serve as an excellent cost-saver. 

Nearshoring is typically less expensive than outsourcing from local providers while still working within the same time zone. In nearshoring, your company can partner with a team of highly skilled experts ready to support your organization. As most MSPs offer 24/7 service 365 days of the year, they will be ready at the drop of a hat to provide your organization with the skills you need. 

This is highly beneficial for organizations in need of skills as soon as possible, especially if the skills you need are scarce. MSPs have the specialized skills your organization needs, including cloud migration, software engineering, infrastructure management, and more. 

By partnering with an MSP, you can get the skills you need in a timely manner. While your MSP is hard at work, your internal IT team can focus on other pressing projects or undergo the training necessary to further their skills later on. As a result, your business can grow and develop as your employees do. By nearshoring your IT needs to an MSP, you can find the skills you need, overcome the labor shortage, and still drive your business forward.

 

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Tags: Near-Shoring, Technical Support Services

Frederid Palacios

Written by Frederid Palacios

Fred Palacios is a seasoned software architect with more than 20 years of experience participating in the entire software development cycle across a host of different industries--from automotive and services to petroleum, financial, and supply chain. In that time, his experience working closely with high-level stakeholders has provided him with a strategic vision for developing the right solutions to flexibly meet critical business needs. As CTO of Intertec, he's continuing to focus on the creation of business-critical applications for large enterprise projects, particularly those that handle high concurrency and large datasets. He is passionate about using technology as a tool to solve real-world problems and also mentoring technical teams to achieve their maximum potential and deliver quality software.

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