Six Reasons You Should Care About Upskilling
#6 – Investors look for upskilling.
CEO’s often say that their company’s most valuable asset is their employees. Unfortunately, not enough companies demonstrate this when it comes to investing in the education, training, and development of workers. However, this might be changing thanks to a letter to more than 1,000 CEOs received from one of the world’s most influential investment managers. In a letter sent on January 16, 2018, Laurence Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, which manages well over $6 trillion in investments, warned business leaders that profits aren’t enough; companies need to have a positive impact on communities as well. He wrote:
“We also see many governments failing to prepare for the future, on issues ranging from retirement and infrastructure to automation and worker retraining. As a result, society increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges. Indeed, the public expectations of your company have never been greater. Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”
Fink went on to warn companies of things that should not be sacrificed for short-term earnings, including employee development:
“Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders. It will succumb to short-term pressures to distribute earnings, and, in the process, sacrifice investments in employee development, innovation, and capital expenditures that are necessary for long-term growth.”
He concluded the letter with a number of questions companies should be asking themselves, including whether or not they are providing the retraining opportunities their employees need.
“Companies must ask themselves: What role do we play in the community? How are we managing our impact on the environment? Are we working to create a diverse workforce? Are we adapting to technological change? Are we providing the retraining and opportunities that our employees and our business will need to adjust to an increasingly automated world? Are we using behavioral finance and other tools to prepare workers for retirement, so that they invest in a way that that will help them achieve their goals?”
In many ways, this letter is another indication of a shift in public opinion. Increasingly, people expect the companies for which they work and with which they do business to be a positive force for societal good, including providing education, training, and development for current and potential workers.