The Benefits of Upskilling Your Staff
The importance of an effective staff cohort is more important than ever before. Small businesses are set to struggle in the coming months, as warnings of imminent recession threaten bottom lines across the country. Where finding and retaining customers is a variable you cannot control in tough economic times, the strength of your team is one you can – but how?
Upskilling is the process of training and re-training your business’ staff, in order to ensure they have the tools necessary to keep in touch with the progression of their industry and to continue to provide value to your company.
There is a number of ways in which you can approach upskilling, but here we will first address the ways in which upskilling can directly benefit your business.
Improving Employee Morale
Firstly, upskilling involves the dedication of time, energy, and money to your staff; you need to invest in training personnel and equipment, as well as investing your own time in keeping track of staff skill levels and progress.
Together, these can show your staff that they are valued within your business – especially if you target staff with obvious skills in order to nurture them for potential progression opportunities. This increases morale, which in turn reduces employee turnover; not only are your staff happier, but they are also less likely to move on to a competitor.
Filling Skill Gaps in Your Team
Next, staff upskilling is a useful way to ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page in terms of ability and understanding. You may find that there are skill gaps in your departments, where some are less technologically literate than others. Alternatively, you may have newer staff members less knowledgeable on best practices than others.
Plugging these skill gaps can be a costly endeavor, but the long-term savings far outweigh the short-term investment. Even if you are struggling to justify the up-front cost of training, accessing additional funding can help plug the gap – and give you more time to pay off, while your staff show improvement in the short term.
Increasing Workplace Efficiency
The aforementioned skill gaps can also cause bottlenecks in customer service, product development, and even administration – particularly where digital literacy is required to navigate cloud systems and collaboration software. Investment in staff skills and knowledge ensures teams can work more efficiently, as well as more cohesively – reducing man-hours, and reducing lead times as a result.
How Can You Upskill Your Workforce?
The first step to upskilling staff is to identify skill gaps within certain teams or departments. You can do this by examining individual KPIs against team performance figures. With gaps identified, you can target training to plug those gaps – either by calling a team meeting to go over best practices or by formulating a robust re-training program in concert with external training providers.