One of the major changes to our businesses in recent years, has been the creation and increase of new technologies linked to every conceivable industry. If we want our businesses to thrive in these modern conditions we need to keep our workforce updated with advances in areas such as, digital skills, cryptocurrencies, data protection, Blockchain, AI, cybersecurity, and so on.
Failure to upskill your workforce in these technological areas can potentially lead to a loss of revenue, increased staff turnover, lack of productivity and unmotivated employees.
However, there is a way to avoid these issues – upskilling your workforce can improve business agility, challenge and motivate staff, boost productivity and improve turnover.
Below are five fast ways you can upskill your workforce and rise to meet the technological challenges of the modern business.
1. Continuous Professional Development
There are certain industries in which it is a requirement that participants follow a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). For example, in Dubai, Law, is one such industry where every qualified lawyer is required to fulfil a certain number of compulsory CLPD (Continuing Legal Professional Development) credits each year in order to keep qualifications relevant and current.
However, every industry should consider offering CPD to their workforce as it has the following benefits:
• Employees learn new digital skills
• Improves industry knowledge
• Increased education leads to motivated employees
• Reinforces business models and best practices
• Staff become well-qualified for specific industry roles
• Employees can improve soft skills
• Improved customer relations and satisfaction
• Increased sales
Continuing professional development can be offered in numerous ways, depending upon your requirements, and courses can be tailored to the specific needs of your firm.
For instance, if you are looking to improve cybersecurity within your firm then hosting a classroom based course during work hours can ensure that all employees are able to attend, they can inspire and motivate each other, and progress can be monitored.
By offering CPD you are giving employees the opportunity to grow and thrive within your firm, and it shows them you are committed to their education and your business growth.
2. Mentoring, Coaching and Peer Support
Plans for upskilling your workforce don’t always need to rely on external training courses such as CPD.
Instead, you can utilise the talent already within your firm and encourage peer support which can reduce your training budgets, focus support where it is required and encourage deeper learning through repetition and reinforced learning.
Likewise, mentoring and coaching can be used to good effect as management can be trained to coach the lower ranks thus saving you time and money while also adding to the skill sets of your management teams.
Mentoring is especially beneficial for new employees as on-boarding becomes a more refined, faster process when existing staff are used within the process.
Training occurs on the job and costs are kept to a minimum.
Upskilling those employees who have the least industry knowledge, through coaching and mentoring, can lead to a more balanced, positive workplace where skill gaps are minimal and good working relationships are created from the outset.
Micro-learning can be considered to be a mini form of Continuing Professional Development.
It usually involves small, concentrated bouts of learning which are often focussed on specific skills. For instance, if you are introducing new GDPR then a good way to present this might be through micro-learning opportunities.
Types of micro-learning might include the following:
• Lunchtime lectures – existing staff, or external trainers, can give presentations regarding new technologies, transferable skills, industry-based information and so on.
• Mini-courses – can be worked on over a lull in work periods, through breaks or in employee’s own time and can add useful skills such as, cultural awareness, leadership, conflict resolution or coping with work stress.
• Interactive Videos – can be produced within the firm, or purchased from a reputable training company, and can be targeted to specific needs, or cover broad subjects. Employees can access them remotely or within a work setting.
• Quizzes/Competitions – these can be performed as a way of offering training and also assessing learning and progress. These can be delivered in various ways and can encourage groups who would otherwise not work together to participate in teams improving cross-business liaisons and relationships.
Micro-learning opportunities can be used individually or linked together to form longer, more involved topics depending upon your requirements. They can be a relatively inexpensive way to upskill your workforce if using in-house trainers or existing staff.
4. Retrain your Workforce
While you may have an office full of highly educated and well-trained staff at present, it is likely there will come a time when the technology or software you use will change, or the way you operate your firm will alter, and you’ll find there is a skill gap within your workforce.
Rather than employing new staff to fill this gap, consider retraining your existing employees as this can reduce overall costs, improve employee loyalty, and you have the added benefit of retaining staff who you already trust to do a good job for you.
Offering new career paths to existing employees through retraining opportunities can improve staff retention, increase production and lower costs.
5. Invest in Management and Leadership
While we have looked at upskilling employees who may be lacking particular talents or need to learn new skills to stay up-to-date within your industry and technology, we haven’t considered the benefits of investing in upskilling your management teams.
Investing in management is crucial to the long-term success of your business as it allows you to optimize your employees’ expertise, build high-performance teams, and prepare your up-coming generation of leaders within your firm.
The following points highlight why management upskilling is essential:
• Improves your bottom-line – due to improved customer satisfaction, reduced costs and higher staff retention rates
• Improves corporate culture – your return on staff investment will mean your staff invest in your firm.
• Increased business agility – your management will help your firm navigate changes, challenges and critical moments.
• Inspiration – good leaders are great, but great leaders are inspiring, motivating and stimulating…exactly what every firm needs!
The final benefit of investing in management teams is that all the training will filter down through the ranks of your firm over time and will eventually benefit everyone within the firm.
For instance, if you introduce leadership to conflict resolution training they will be able to assist those they manage more effectively and mentor and coach them on methods for dealing with conflict and issues.
Upskilling your workforce should be a priority for every firm and, as this blog shows, it doesn’t have to cost the earth.
However, selecting a professional training provider to work with on those areas that require external support will ensure that your employees gain the best training available and you get good value for money.
If you’d like to talk to expert training providers regarding upskilling your workforce please contact us at Creative Word Training where we will be happy to assist you.