As HR managers, you play a critical role in attracting, selecting, onboarding, developing, and offboarding employees. That is why it is crucial to recognize the value and importance of transferable skills in the workplace.
In today’s rapidly changing job market, skill-first hiring, particularly focusing on transferable skills, is becoming the new golden standard. In fact, more than 75% of recruitment professionals worldwide consider this approach a priority for their companies (LinkedIn, 2023).
It is clear that transferable skills-based hiring is increasing in popularity, however, why are transferable skills the hottest and most sought-after skills on the market?Because transferable skills can lead to a multitude of benefits throughout the entirety of the employee life cycle – from attraction to offboarding.
15 Benefits of transferable skills in the workplace
4 Benefits of transferable skills during employee attraction and selection
1. Wider talent pool
By looking for transferable skills, you can attract candidates from diverse backgrounds and industries. This allows you to tap into a larger talent pool and identify candidates who may not have direct experience in a specific field, but possess transferable skills that can be valuable in the target job. This helps to increase the chances of finding the best-fit candidate for the job.
2. Improved diversity and inclusion
Focusing on skills first when hiring helps to identify candidates from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences, leading to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
The reality is that caring about diversity is more than just making superficial gestures to attract talent and setting up quotas. Diversity is not only an act of Corporate Social Responsibility but also a proven business case and brings to plenty of additional benefits.
3. Flexibility in hiring
Transferable skills provide flexibility in the hiring process as they can be applied to different roles or functions. This allows you to consider candidates with transferable skills for multiple positions within the organization, allowing for greater flexibility in matching candidates with job openings, perhaps even those they did not apply to.
It also reduces the risk of pigeonholing candidates into specific roles and opens up opportunities for them to contribute in different areas.
4. Future-proofing the workforce
Transferable skills are adaptable and can be applied in different contexts, making employees with such skills more resilient to changing job market demands. By hiring candidates with transferable skills, you future-proof their workforce and ensure that the employees can easily adapt to new roles or functions as the organization evolves over time. This helps in mitigating the risks associated with skill obsolescence or changes in job requirements.
8 Benefits of transferable skills during employee onboarding and development
1. Transferable skills reduce training costs
The average cost of onboarding and training a new employee can range anywhere from 24% to 200% of their annual salary, depending on the complexity of the role and the level of training required.
Transferable skills in the workplace can help to reduce the cost of onboarding and training a new employee in two ways:
- Shorten the learning curve: Transferable skills can help new employees to adapt quickly to their new role and become productive more quickly. This can reduce the time and resources needed to train them, which in turn can lower the overall cost of onboarding. For example, learning ability determines how fast one can learn something new and how much one can learn in a short amount of time which is of utmost importance during an onboarding process.
- Improve job performance: Transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork can improve job performance and help new employees to meet expectations more quickly. This can reduce the need for additional training and coaching, which can also lower the overall cost of onboarding.
2. Lower turnover rates
Transferable skills in the workplace can help reduce employee turnover and associated costs. When employees possess transferable skills, they are equipped with the ability to apply their skills and knowledge to different roles within the organization. This means that if an employee decides to leave their current position, they can potentially be reassigned to a different role within the company rather than being replaced entirely.
By retaining employees through reassignment instead of replacement, you save a significant amount of costs.
3. Transferable skills allow for succession planning and (internal) talent mobility
Transferable skills also play a role in succession planning and talent mobility within an organization. Succession planning involves identifying and developing employees who have the potential to take on leadership roles in the future. Employees with transferable skills can be groomed for leadership positions as they possess skills that are relevant across different functions or departments.
Similarly, talent mobility refers to the movement of employees across different roles or functions within an organization. Employees with transferable skills can be easily transitioned to new roles or functions, reducing the need for external hiring and promoting internal career growth. In fact, 76% of EMEA recruiting professionals say internal recruiting will be an important factor shaping the future of recruiting over the next 5 years (LinkedIn, 2023).
4. Employees with transferable skills are more engaged and fulfilled in their work
Transferable skills in the workplace can also lead to improved job satisfaction by increasing an individual’s sense of competency and contribution. When employees feel that they are utilizing their skills and abilities effectively, they are more likely to feel engaged and motivated in their work.
For example, leadership skills can help employees take on new challenges and responsibilities, leading to a greater sense of job satisfaction and fulfilment. Additionally, developing transferable skills can open up new career opportunities and increase an individual’s marketability, leading to greater job security and satisfaction.
5. Transferable skills lead to improved productivity
Having transferable skills in the workplace leads to increased productivity in several ways:
- It allows employees to perform their tasks more efficiently, as they can use their skills to accomplish tasks more quickly and accurately.
- Transferable skills enable employees to adapt to different situations and tasks. This adaptability also means that employees can take on new responsibilities and projects with greater ease, leading to increased flexibility and versatility across the organization.
Overall, transferable skills in the workplace enable employees to work more efficiently and effectively, regardless of their specific role or position, which leads to increased productivity across the organization.
6. Transferable skills allow for better collaboration
Research shows that top-performing employees spend almost 50% of their time working collaboratively with others. And coincidentally – collaboration is one of the most sought after transferable skills.
7. Transferable skills enable greater agility
Organizations with a skills-based approach are 57% more likely to be agile since employees with transferable skills can adapt more quickly to changing market conditions or customer needs, making the organization more agile and responsive (Deloitte, 2023).
Moreover, the vast majority of future jobs don’t exist yet. That is why transferable skills such as learning ability play a big role in adapting to new workplace situations and tasks and will become one of the most important skills in the labour market of tomorrow..
8. Helps to bridge existing skill gaps
According to a recent survey by Mckinsey, 87% of companies say they are either experiencing or expecting skills gaps. Focusing on transferable skills during attraction and selection can help bridge the skill gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
3 Benefits of transferable skills during employee offboarding
1. Smooth transition to new opportunities
When employees possess transferable skills, they are better equipped to transition to new job opportunities outside of the current organization. These skills can be applied in different industries or roles, allowing employees to leverage their skillset and find new employment more easily.
This will help departing employees to smoothly transition to their next career move, reducing the time and effort spent on job search and minimizing the impact of unemployment.
2. Positive impact on employer brand
When employees leave the organization on a positive note and with transferable skills that have been developed or enhanced during their tenure, it can have a positive impact on the employer brand.
It reflects well on the organization that it has invested in the professional development of its employees, and that employees are leaving with valuable skills that can benefit them in their future endeavors. This can contribute to a positive perception of the organization as an employer of choice in the industry.
3. Alumni network and potential for boomerang rehiring
Employees who leave the organization with transferable skills can become part of the organization’s alumni network. This can create a positive relationship between the organization and the departed employees, leading to potential opportunities for boomerang rehiring, where former employees may return to the organization in the future in a different role or capacity.
This can be beneficial for the organization as it can tap into the expertise and familiarity of former employees, saving onboarding and training time.
The power of transferable skills to transform the employee life cycle
While it may seem like just another trend in the hiring world, the reality is that skill-first and transferable skills-based hiring has the power to transform not just individual careers, but entire organizations.
By prioritizing transferable skills, you are opening up opportunities to those who may have previously been overlooked and creating a more diverse and equitable workplace. And for those who possess these skills, it’s a chance to showcase their unique strengths and thrive in roles they may not have considered before.
So let’s embrace this new standard, and create a future where skills are valued above all else.