The damage of constant recruitment: is upskilling the solution?

8 mins read time

After the challenges businesses and employees have faced over the last couple of years, there is a new mindset emerging in the workplace and the job market.

2021 was the year of the ‘great resignation’ due to COVID-19 and rising living costs, as well as the move to remote working. Job-seekers can now afford to be more selective about the roles they go for - and often have a clearer vision of what they want from a role.

The change to the workplace environment post-pandemic also poses challenges to company recruitment departments. Usual recruitment strategies are seeing less success than before, according to a report from the Financial Services Skills Commission.

An ideal solution is the internal resource you have within your organisation; your current workforce. You can develop the skills that your business is missing by nurturing those within, rather than recruiting outwards. By scaling internal training programmes, such as apprenticeships, your business can save on recruitment costs including recruiter fees, counter offer negotiations and salary demands.

At Lifetime, we believe in the power of upskilling, as well as the ongoing sustainability of apprenticeships and internal training to your business. Here we explain the risk of constant recruitment and the benefits of upskilling your employees toward the goal of boosting your business growth and culture.

Recruit strategically and focus on upskilling

Strategic and considered recruitment drives, that are complemented by a productive and efficient internal upskilling programme, are a good place to start in this post-pandemic business environment.

That doesn’t mean that a big recruitment drive isn’t ever right for your business. But it can be complemented and boosted by efficient internal upskilling via training programmes, internal promotions and apprenticeships.

If you do need to seek talent from outside your organisation, focus on testing candidates’ capacity to handle challenges. Ensure you create an exciting and compelling environment for candidates to flourish. This way you can also test new employees’ aptitude for learning, especially for those who may not follow a traditional academic career path.

At Lifetime, our apprenticeship recruitment service is future-focused and designed to find talent that will grow within an organisation over time. It’s really important for businesses to hire people who have the ability and drive to learn new skills. Otherwise, you might see a loss of culture and a reduction in the emphasis on learning and upskilling.

It’s vital to choose candidates who are curious, have an aptitude for troubleshooting and are accustomed to using technology to solve problems. In a job market where digital and tech skills are prized, even hires with strength in these areas will need to upskill in a few years as those skills need refreshing. At Lifetime we work with businesses to support data and digital transformations with apprenticeship programmes.

The half life of skills is 2-5 years, which means recruiting will always be challenging if you’re relying on a talent pool to have these skills at their fingertips. These need to be created in-house by providing employees with constant access to training as well as incentivising upskilling.

As long as the recruitment market stays highly competitive and unemployment rates are low, reskilling is an important solution for businesses. A good tactic is to consider what training you can provide to new as well as existing talent. Look within your current talent pool at who might be interested and could transition to a new role and has an appetite for upskilling. After all, they already know your culture, customers and way of doing business.

Benefits of upskilling employees

Company culture and identity are often sacrificed for the pursuit of skills from the outside. Businesses are attracting talent with larger salaries, which is creating a mercenary labour market.

For businesses trying to lean out expenditure, this doesn’t sit well against a background of rising operating costs and inflation. This unsustainable approach will only result in ballooning recruitment costs, further perpetuating the problem while still failing to plug skilled staff turnover rates. These so-called ‘talent wars’ are creating a highly competitive recruitment market for businesses. This is where upskilling is incredibly valuable.


One of the major benefits of enhancing the skills your current employees already have is the cost-saving that can be made.

The cost of rehiring is so much higher than the outlay for upskilling your existing teams. The job market is seeing such a huge upheaval with lots of vacancies, people changing careers and reevaluating jobs. This means employers and businesses need to remain agile and look carefully at their existing workforce.

Upskilling your employees can save your business money in so many different ways. For example, you may see employees leaving your business because they feel they’re not benefitting from up-to-date training. The cost of rehiring replacements for those employees is much greater than investing in training them in the first place. As well as the cost-saving benefits, reskilled employees will be better able to leverage new or emerging technologies, which in turn will be cost-saving too.

By investing in training that really benefits your staff and business you can work towards building business growth as well as employee motivation. Find out more about our professional services and leadership and management apprenticeship programmes to help take your business to the next level.

This also has a knock-on effect of increasing staff commitment to an organisation that has invested in their own development. You’ll see a step change across your whole organisation, especially if you’re investing in training at all levels right through to leadership. Leaders themselves will be better able to manage and motivate staff, having learnt these soft skills through additional learning, such as apprenticeship programmes.

Boost company productivity and growth

There are obvious benefits to recruiting externally, such as acquiring new talented team members that can boost your business growth and productivity. They may bring with them different fields of experience, fresh ideas as well as give a boost to your business reputation, especially if they’re well-regarded in their industry.

However, with the drive towards digital transformation in many industries, simply recruiting from outside is probably not going to be enough to keep your workforce’s skills current and up to date. By reskilling, you can ensure your processes, agility and business efficiency are constantly updated and evolving.

Reskilling creates a positive feedback loop within your organisation too, which makes other team members feel more confident about their own ability to reskill. Reskilling is an opportunity to invest and improve the diversity of the workforce in underrepresented skills areas. For example, it’s important for employees to have appropriate levels of digital skills if as a business you’re investing in large-scale digital transformations.

According to the Financial Services Skills Commission, upskilling your workforce could also increase the global GDP by 3%. In addition, reskilling better prepares teams to deliver on their strategic objectives and therefore business growth and success.

Tap into existing talent

To avoid unnecessary and costly recruitment, speak to your existing employees. What do they want? What makes them tick? The talent already within your organisation is probably more willing to experiment than you think.

To preempt potentially losing them to another company in the future, work on a strategy to offer them new roles or directions within your company. Rather than handing out impressive job titles or promotions, find out how your employees connect to the purpose of your organisation. Find out what drives them and how this can be used to boost the company too.

There’s a trend for candidates in the current job market to want to work with a purpose in mind, as well as other benefits that the right job can bring. If an employee is choosing to work with a larger purpose they identify with, beyond salary and job title then how can this benefit your business? By reskilling current employees, you are keeping them invested in your business goals and purpose too.

Upskilling and strategic recruitment with Lifetime

In order to discover and create high-quality talent, employers need both a competitive recruitment strategy and a comprehensive retention strategy too.

A traditional recruitment process may no longer be as effective as it once was and isn’t the only path to sourcing qualified candidates for your business.

Understanding what employees are looking for is important. Candidates in the current job market want to support a purpose with their work as well as focusing on personal wellness and expanding their professional skills.

By focusing on people as well as skills, you can transform and tailor employees to your business with internal training. This could take the form of apprenticeship programmes, technical training and the development of soft skills.

Find out how we can help you upskill your workforce with a range of apprenticeships, or get in touch to discuss a more strategic approach to your recruitment process.

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