How to Grow Your Business Without Growing Your Headcount

Are your best assets going to waste? When it comes to technology, your people are among your organization’s most important assets. This may sound like a cliché, but if you don’t take this seriously, it could cost you money.

You’ve already invested heavily in every single employee, but like too many companies out there today, you could just be throwing that investment away. How? By not making sure you leverage the money invested to fill your business’ tech skills gap. 

Whenever you’re transitioning to new technology, it’s easy to assume you need to bring new staff on board, but that’s not necessarily true. As we’ll explore in this post, there are ways you can meet your skills shortage head-on with less expense and without the effort needed to recruit new staff.

Closing the Skills Gap

You put a lot of money and effort into hiring and onboarding employees. According to a recent Deloitte report, the direct cost per hire averages about $6,976, including $3,976 in actual recruiting costs plus about $3,000 for first-year orientation and training costs. On top of this, it takes most new employees about 60 days to get up to speed and reach the productivity of a typical employee. That’s simply not cost-effective, especially when your current employees can provide an easier alternative.

And remember, the longer employees have been with you, the better they know your organization, your goals, and the kinds of strategic decisions you’ve made to get where you are. Why throw away all that history if you don’t have to?

In a recent Cloud Academy survey, almost 20% of technology leaders expressed concern about their company’s skills gap—meaning they don’t think they have enough talent to reach business objectives. But fewer than half of these enterprise technology leaders have a clear grasp on their organization’s present skills in relation to their required skill stack. Without that information, it’s just not possible to make smart, effective decisions when it comes to staffing.

So while it’s almost certainly true that your organization has a skills gap, especially if you’re going through a time of cloud transition and expansion, bringing on new hires isn’t necessarily the best way to fill that gap.

Get a True Picture of Your Assets

Simply bringing on new hires without understanding your current and required skill stack is not the right approach. But what is the best way to close your skills gap?

You probably have qualified employees, or employees who could easily become qualified, already on your team. By upskilling and reskilling from within, you can grow your business without necessarily growing your headcount.

Obviously, neither of these approaches by itself is the only solution. Rather, a blended approach incorporating both is the best way forward for most organizations.

This begins with getting a true picture of the assets you already have on your team. As mentioned above, many executives avoid this step because it’s not necessarily easy. You don’t always have the information at your fingertips about each and every team member. But a streamlined, objective skills assessment is more than possible—it’s essential.

This will give you the information you need to plan strategically, identifying your best assets so you can invest in your team to continue iterating and improving your organization.

Benefits of Upskilling

Upskilling isn’t the only answer—sometimes, it’s essential to bring in new people. However, upskilling does offer you a number of benefits almost immediately.

The biggest benefit is that you’re going to save money both now and into the future, including the $6,976 average cost of hiring someone new—which is actually on the low side, since the Deloitte report mentioned above spans a wide range of industries. Plus, you’ll skip that two-month learning curve as well.

Of course, as employees become more skilled, they will expect salary increases—and you’ll need to continue offering competitive wages and benefits so your talent doesn’t get headhunted away. But you’ll still be saving a lot compared to hiring someone new with the latest cloud skills, especially in today’s competitive hiring market.

And with the money you save, you’ll be able to invest in boosting your teams in other ways, like providing them with improved tools and processes.

Upskilling comes with other benefits as well, including:

  • Boosting loyalty/retention
  • Creating a culture of continued learning and shared accountability
  • Providing a single source of truth to balance tech skills with a strategic vision of business outcomes and a desired future state

Today, about 94% of workers say they’d stay at their current job longer if their company invested in helping them learn. 

That’s especially true for younger employees. According to a Gallup survey, Gen Z and millennial employees look first for organizations that care about employees’ wellbeing (as opposed to Gen X and baby boomers, who ranked ethical leadership first). They also look for development opportunities and, more than earlier generations, expect to be coached for advancement.

Another report indicated that companies providing higher rates of internal mobility—including promotion—retain employees twice as long as those who don’t.

But simply providing training courses without clear goals isn’t going to improve your business’ functioning overall—it’s just going to waste time and money. How many tech employees have stories about wasting time on a course their employer thought they needed that ended up giving them nothing of actual value? (Far too many.)

To retain employees, it’s up to you to ensure that any training you provide is:

  • Practical — customized for your organization
  • Adaptable — relevant to the job roles you need to fill 
  • Tangible — producing results that translate into real business outcomes

Once your training can meet all of these conditions, you’ll be providing the kind of meaningful career path and business culture that will help you attract and retain your best talent.

Cloud Academy: Strategic Partners for Growth

Deciding when to upskill from within and when you need to add new team members is just one of the complex decisions that go into your organization’s talent management and strategic planning.

As your training partner, Cloud Academy helps your company by:

  • Assisting with employee retention
  • Boosting you to the next level of innovation
  • Communicating the value of training to both employees and executives

At Cloud Academy, we’ll help you look, not just a few weeks or months down the line, but far into the future of your business. 

Let Cloud Academy help make your team stronger. Future-proof your organization by getting the most out of the assets you already have.

The Tech Skills Gap – An Opportunity to Maximize Your Talent

Good talent is hard – and expensive – to find. This is the perfect time to flip the script and change the trajectory of your business, from one of needing to fill a void to a path where you have opportunities to expand your talent pool and build loyalty. But doing this at scale is a challenge. You need to account for different goals, levels of visibility, and shifting timeframes. What if you could actively narrow your organization’s tech skills gap in a predictable and scalable way? Download our white paper to learn how.

Addressing the Tech Skills Gap White Paper
Cloud Academy