Your employees are the lifeblood of your company. Their jobs are ever-changing, new technology being introduced, new infrastructures, more modern best practice and ways to lead. It should be part of what you do to make sure that your team is ready for the future. And that future should be with your business.
It would be best for you to arm your employees with the skills they will need in the future.
Here are a few ways that you can upskill your employees and get them ready for whatever your business will face in the future.
You probably have a range of highly trained staff. These can be you, go-to people, for improving the skills of others around them. Increasing the expertise across the board, and perhaps even into different specialities will mean that people can perform a more varying role.
When you are listing the skills, you want your staff to have, think about what can be provided in-house and how you can facilitate that learning.
There will be a range of skills that should be taught from an external source. Leadership development is one such skill. An external expert can often hold more weight and have up to date methods and theories to teach.
You will be able to choose which team members are ready to be moved into a role with more responsibility, or indeed to keep them abreast of changes and information pertaining to their specific role and how to improve their productivity within the team.
If there are a few high performers on your team or some that have a high motivation, then you can introduce a mentoring program. This is incredibly effective for giving new hires a chance to integrate, learn the company culture and make sure that they hit the ground running.
It will work equally well for staff that have been there for some time, as there may be some knowledge gaps that mentoring can spot—knowing where the knowledge gaps are, will mean that your company will be able to put the right training in place.
Mentoring programmes will be some of the lowest financial investments, but some of the most significant rewards too.
While most of the staff will have their pre-set tasks to work on, there should be space and room for collaboration. It might be that some of the team have skills outside of what they use on a day to day basis. Looking for projects or creating innovative in-house tasks can let people use various skill sets. You can then look at who did what, and where you might be able to use those skills in the future.
To get the best out of this, start with a big team meeting. Talk about what you want to achieve and how you see it happening. Then let the team offer up ideas and opinions about the best way to maximise potential. This way, you are more likely to see synergy with the outcome.
Not only that, but you may have tools, case studies and groundbreaking products after the collaboration.
There is no more excellent investment than sending your staff to courses and seminars. When the opportunity arises for team members to hear experts in the field speak, to network and learn you should take it. This is often much more cost-effective than hiring in experts for a full day for a smaller group.
The working day can already be long and intense. If you are asking more from your staff, you might find that it can be a little too much. Instead, look for microlearning options. So that they can learn skills at their own pace. Short-form training and webinars, with smaller quizzes at the end to track progress work very well. You can create your own course in-house or work with a specialist to put a program together.
You don’t know what you don’t know. And more than that, you don’t know what your staff don’t know either. So having conversations about how they are doing, where they see their career going, and how you can facilitate that is important. This gives you team autonomy over their future in the company and gives you clear indicators as to how to move forward.
The future of your business and the growth you expect will also have an impact on how you tackle the upskilling of your staff. But as the saying goes –
“What if I train them and they leave?” …What if you don’t and they stay?! – W. Edwards Deming