In 2013, Forbes reported that business investment in training staff was on the rise to as much as USD 130 Billion spent worldwide. Many businesses are now starting to feel the positive impact of this investment in training their employees.
One of the realizations is that the training is good for both the businesses and for the individuals involved. The question that is in a lot of boardrooms right now is whether a one-off training is sufficient or whether there is a good enough return on investment (ROI) when the training is continuous.
Many would argue that, as long as the training is measurably improving a company’s bottom line, then continuous training shouldn’t even be in question but rather the concern should be how it can be improved upon. For instance, The Information society development foundation found ways of improving their system when it found out that its employees had a massive time-constraint and thus the idea of using webinars struck. Since then, they’ve been able to increase their participation by delivering it to remote audiences and this in-turn helped in growing their organization. This was possible when copay invested in making efforts to bring in technology and upskill their employees.
With a carefully considered upskilling or training plan in place, you will experience an improvement in most facets of the overall business including; employee morale, customer satisfaction, improved efficiency and so on. Furthermore, you will also achieve a better-looking balance sheet, through an increase in ROI which is what investors or shareholders are primarily concerned about.
Considerations for developing upskilling programs for your employees
Like any other business investment, a carefully considered plan needs to be in place if the upskilling program is going to be a success. A good plan will also allow employees to understand what to expect and give the overall program more structure for measurement and improvements.
Some of the key considerations when developing the upskilling program should include:
- What skills do your staff want to develop and why? Additionally, you should also consider what you want your position in the industry to be and which skills will allow your staff to take you there. The skills that you impart to your employees should be beneficial to this overall process.
- How often should the training be? This consideration should account for medium-term and long-term goals specific to your business. Additionally, too much training could oversaturate employees and make them disinterested or make them struggle in keeping up with work-related tasks.
- Which training method is most suitable? You should look into, one-on-one training, eLearning, formal institutional scholarships to colleges, group sessions and so on.
Advantages of continuous upskilling
If you manage to put together a good upskilling program, some of the benefits that you will experience will include:
1. Keeps businesses and employees ahead of industry changes
Ensuring that your employee’s skills are up to date in terms of knowledge and new technologies is not only useful for overall competitiveness in the industry but it is also useful from an industry compliance perspective since new regulations and technologies are constantly being improved upon. With automation looming large, being ahead of the industry is critical. Presenting data by Tableau instead of Powerpoint can be one such upskilling. Aiding employees to get access to Tableau training can help you be ahead of industry changes.
2. Addresses useful skill and service delivery gaps
With consistent and systematic upskilling, it’s a lot easier for a business to fill any skill and service delivery gaps both internally and in the industry at large. Since gaps can be faster identified and addressed, employees and the business will both benefit by staying ahead of everyone else.
3. Preserves and perfects current knowledge and skill
In order to provide better services or products, current fundamental knowledge, and skills that employees have needs to be preserved and perfected. Having an upskilling program in place will be useful in not only improving upon or advancing new skills but in preserving and bolstering fundamental knowledge and skills that can be built upon.
4. Creates a learning culture
Creating a learning culture not only provides an incentive for employees to learn but it also allows employees to want to participate in learning or upskilling and put their newly learned skills into practice.
5. Enhanced career satisfaction
Since employees are given an opportunity to learn skills that would otherwise cost them a lot to learn elsewhere, this adds to employee motivation and enhances their sense of satisfaction within their current careers and employment. This is useful in preventing competitors from poaching some of your best talents by offering them upskilling incentives.
6. Opportunities for internal promotions
Recruiting new employees is an expensive affair. Since employees are always looking for opportunities for more responsibility and better employment packages, continuous upskilling makes for a great opportunity for both employees and employers to both get what they want.
7. Opportunities to attract new talent
If you are looking to bolster your current employee base, a great way to attract new talent is by offering continuous upskilling as an incentive to join your organization or business. You will not only attract new talent but you will also give your business a great image. A great program that produces great results is something that employees can be proud about and carry as a badge of honor.
Putting It All Together
The advantages of having a well thought out upskilling program (as listed above), make it an essential and dare I say a mandatory reason for all employees to consider upskilling. It will not only be good for employees but for the overall health of the business which they rely on for their employment.
Also, if the employers aren’t that excited with upskilling, the employees themselves should take initiatives to upskill themselves.