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For any business, work often gets in the way of staff development. We’re all far too busy doing the do to step back and consider making that longer-term investment in our primary stakeholders.
An investment in staff training will make employees feel valued and motivated which, in turn, makes them more efficient and productive. However, there can be a business cost associated with it and this can be a real sticky point for smaller businesses wanting to upskill their staff. But it’s important to remember that staff training is a long-term investment for the business and may free up senior staff to work on new business opportunities.
If neglected, employees start to feel undervalued and demotivated. So, next time they’re having a ‘reflective’ period, they may consider taking a peak at the job market and that will leave the business vulnerable and in danger of losing real talent…and that comes at an even bigger cost.
Here are our top 10 ways to upskill a team, including some more cost effective options for businesses on a budget.
1. Industry recognised qualifications
Clearly, the most expensive option but also the most credible. Many industries have their own professional accreditation system and, in some professions, it’s more of a requirement to put their employees through certain qualifications. However, some bigger businesses choose to subsidise these courses as part of their employee benefits package.
2. Short online courses
With modern technology, such as webinars, at our fingertips, there are loads of great short courses available online. This saves times out the office and is also, usually, a cheaper option too. Some courses are even free.
3. Traineeships and apprenticeships
A more formal approach to training and a great way to nurture talent early on. Many employers find that their trainees and apprentices turn into long-term employees. There are also lots of government subsidies and incentives available to help with the cost of this kind of training.
4. Workplace mentoring
This is a great way of sharing internal talent. It can be very effective and is completely free. Set up a buddy system and encourage colleagues to share their skills in short sessions each week. This helps to create a really positive learning culture.
Why not establish a work shadowing programme for employees ready for promotion? This will allow them to work on different projects with senior colleagues who will stretch and develop them. This will help to expand everyone’s skill set and the company will build a more talented workforce.
6. Weekly spotlights
Pick a different person each week to share some of their knowledge and experience with other team members. This is easy and very effective. It might be to do with an interest or hobby rather than their day job but it all helps to encourage skill sharing in the workplace. It’s also a great way of discovering interesting things about each individual.
7. Share multimedia content
There is so much information out there. From business books and journals to podcasts and TED Talks. It’s easier than ever to learn more about your field. A great deal of this is even available for free. Why not create a list of multimedia content relevant to the business and encourage the team to share books and articles and listen to podcasts? And don’t forget to subscribe to trade journals for the team to borrow. Try and set aside an hour each week for everyone to discuss the latest industry research and developments.
8. Public lectures
Many colleges and universities offer a range of public lectures on topics from innovation and technology to economics and finance. Some of these take place at lunchtime so give employees time off to attend. It may just inspire and motivate them.
9. Boost basic skills
If basic skills need a boost, there are multiple training providers out there who work with employers to deliver maths and English GCSE programmes. These often combine online and office-based training.
Get out there and meet other people from your business community. There are weekly and monthly groups all over the UK aimed at bringing business people together. They are a great way of building contacts and sharing best practice which is good for the individual and for the business.
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