A Powerful Tool to Upskill Existing Talent

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The struggle to find and retain high quality talent is real, and if you’re like most companies, you’re scrambling to fill the gaps, ease workloads, and keep your teams—and your business—on track.

Pile on an uncertain economy, the growth of remote teams, and a quitting trend that isn’t easing up, and the talent challenge facing today’s companies is nothing short of daunting. Even big names like Twitter, Meta, and Amazon have grabbed headlines with recent layoff announcements, leaving these once-giant workforces with thinning headcounts even more susceptible to burnout.1 There’s no doubt that many leaders are feeling the pressure.

So, what’s the answer? How can you do more with less when you’re already operating in a reduced state?

One possible solution: Focus on upskilling the talent you already have in your arsenal. They just might be your best investment.

A recent Microsoft survey2 found that companies looking for a competitive advantage should be focusing on professional growth of current employees, or what they are calling “re-recruitment” and “re-onboarding.” This not only helps fill talent gaps, but can also re-energize existing employees and help with overall employee retention. In fact, according to Microsoft’s findings, 76% of employees said they’d stick around longer if they could benefit more from learning and development support.

Investing in L&D and talent development is always a win-win, but perhaps now more than ever. Upskilling existing employees not only benefits their professional growth, it positions them for new roles, added responsibilities, and helps them adapt to the evolving needs of your business. Upskilling is also a critical part of succession planning. Ensuring employees at all levels have the opportunity to grow and learn in their role will help identify and develop new, potential leaders who can move into leadership roles when the opportunity arises.

But where do you start?

Communication, Communication, Communication

Think about it. Every successful team is built on good communication, but when employees are dispersed, managers are stressed, and internal dynamics are shifting, it’s easy for messages to get lost in translation or, even worse, stop altogether.

This is where enhanced communication skills like business storytelling can help. Whether you need a manager to bring a remote team into alignment or a mid-level executive to sell an idea to the C-suite, teaching employees how to leverage the art of storytelling gives them the skills they need to be effective and strategic communicators in any role you need them to step into.

Case in point: Virtual meetings have become a mainstay in today’s post-pandemic world, but most of us had to learn how to conduct online presentations on the fly and without any formal training. And as I’m sure most can attest, it often shows.

How Storytelling Helps Fill the Gaps

Upskilling sounds great in theory, but is business storytelling training a practical way to address your staffing woes?

Yes, and here’s why:

  • Storytelling equips people with the skills they need to advance. Employees launched into new leadership roles are often expected to know how to lead teams, present in front of executives, and influence key stakeholders. These aren’t typically skills that come inherently, but they can be taught. Storytelling training focused on crafting compelling messages, delivering engaging presentations, and establishing confidence (which in turn boosts your executive presence!) helps newly appointed staff check all of the management boxes – and more. 
  • Storytelling makes employees more agile. With high turnover and gaps in hiring, seats on the boat are quickly shifting, which means you need people who can adapt and flex to the evolving demands of the company. Storytelling gives employees the communication skills they need to uplevel their messaging, both internally and externally, making your whole team more agile and dynamic.
  • Storytelling promotes self-coaching. As understaffed teams thrust more junior employees into new roles with added responsibilities, getting them up to speed via mentorship and coaching is a huge challenge when time is already at a premium. Storytelling provides a framework for people to organize their ideas and helps them think, speak, and communicate these ideas in a more influential way. This skill set can lead to better self-sufficiency when it comes to how to interact with and present to key stakeholders with confidence.
  • Upskilling shows your teams they belong. As the great resignation confirmed, today’s workers are looking for more than a paycheck from their employers. Investing in the employees who haven’t jumped ship sends a clear message that they are valued members of your company and that you care about their professional development. This not only boosts personal confidence and productivity, it can foster loyalty, help with employee retention, promote a positive company culture, and improve overall morale.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough so they don't want to.”
– Richard Branson

Don’t Neglect Your Greatest Asset

Every leader knows: You’re only as strong as your weakest link.

By investing in your current talent and giving them the skills they need to be successful now and into the future, you’re taking your greatest asset and making your entire organization stronger—from the inside, out.