With digital and technological evolution only increasing in pace, one of the most crucial ways for organisations to remain competitive in this climate is to ensure their team possesses the necessary skills for an environment that’s always in flux.
For team leaders, this should not be viewed as a problem but as an opportunity to upskill teams and individuals across the business, including those in administrative and clerical roles.
Upskilling your team does not have to cost a fortune, nor take months on end. By identifying the skills you need to push your business forward, understanding who in your team are willing to learn, and implementing the right strategies, you can ensure your company will be ahead of the curve.
Here are some cost-effective and simple ways to upskill your team.
Create personal development plans
A personal development plan (PDP) is one of the best ways to ensure continuous learning and development for employees at every level. Many organisations set PDPs for staff as a standard and if managed correctly, enable people to take a stronger interest in building out their skills and competencies. PDPs also give employees ownership of their own professional development and ensure that as an employer, you are building the right skills across your team.
Encourage internal knowledge sharing
Often untapped, the talent that already sits within a team is often a highly valuable resource – after all, team members often have responsibility overlap so learning the same skills, or at the very least understanding the process, will help arm and inform the way that the team operates going forward. Most individuals are in their position because of a particular skill set they’ve honed over several years or for the most part of their career. While the various tasks and duties of their role may look easy or straightforward, it’s highly likely that they invested their time into training and applying their skills with real experiences, in order to become known as the expert they are today.
Utilising the expertise that already resides within your team by establishing an internal training programme or even a quarterly ‘lunch and learn’ is an excellent way to encourage further knowledge sharing and collaboration. Importantly, it will help close any skills gaps your team may have – as well as identify any new skills that team members share an interest in learning.
Invest in courses and seminars
While developing talent in-house is an excellent way to share knowledge and skills, it’s not always the correct strategy – you may need to bring in brand new skills to your organisation, which staff members currently don’t possess.
In these circumstances, you’ll need to complement your in-house strategy with formal courses and training. Many professional skills can be attained and honed from training courses, and they are proven way to get the expertise of your team up-to-date.
A key benefit of this approach is that once one or two members of your team are equipped with new skills, they can spread the knowledge throughout the rest of your team. By upskilling one team member, you can provide a platform for more shared learning and development.
Other upskilling ideas to consider
Micro learning – allocate short periods of time throughout the week to allow staff to pursue new skills, whether via online tutorials, educational webinars, instructional videos, an online training module or even fun quizzes via mobile apps.
‘Lunch and learns’ – schedule monthly or bi-monthly lunchtime sessions where internal or external industry experts can speak about what they do and how it fits into the business. You may be surprised by how much idea-sharing takes place in these sessions, as people learn about areas of business they otherwise wouldn’t be privy to. Importantly, leave ample time for a Q&A discussion to hear about and address other challenges.
Mentoring – this works particularly well for training younger or new employees. Pairing them with an experienced member of the team and allowing them to benefit from their know-how and experience is highly valuable.
Dedicated learning space – if you have the space, allocating a computer or even a small meeting room as a space for learning is another way to encourage upskilling. Employees can book time to pursue new skills in an environment conducive with learning, away from their desks and the distractions of their day-to-day jobs.
The benefits of upskilling
Upskilling your team isn’t just about ensuring you have the right skills to meet your goals. It’s about planning for the long-term future of both your organisation and your employees. Here are some of the top reasons upskilling is so valuable:
Fills key skills gaps: In a survey conducted by the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group, 75% of respondents (employers, government agencies and academics) reported a significant skills shortage when it comes to digital skills needed to complete key roles. This shows that upskilling is essential in order to fill that skills gap. And it gives a strong advantage to companies with employees who possess the digital skills that are needed.
Helps companies stay compliant and competitive: Constant learning is particularly important in industries in which rules and regulations are constantly changing and updating. This includes jobs in corporate governance, accounting and law, but applies across the board to any industry that is in a constant state of change.
Improves employee retention: Additionally, regular training and development are the strongest retention tools in any employer’s arsenal. Employees want to feel they are valued and that their company is invested in their career. Plus, they are highly likely to stay in a job that supports their professional and personal growth.
By taking a proactive approach to training and developing your team, you’re not only ensuring you are equipped to move forward as a business but you’re also fortifying a motivated and advancing workforce. It shows employees you’re genuinely invested in their growth and committed to helping them develop their careers.
Visit our management advice section for more insights on building a successful team and upskilling your employees.
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