Upskilling your team does not have to cost a fortune, nor take months on end. By identifying the skills you need to push your business forward, understanding which people in your team are capable and willing to learn, and implementing the right strategies, you can ensure that you are well ahead of the curve. Here are some cost-effective ways to upskill your team.
Personal Development Plans (PDPs)
The Personal Development Plan, or PDP, is one of the very best ways to ensure continued learning and development for employees at every level. Many organisations set PDPs for staff as a standard and if managed correctly they can enable people to rapidly build their skills and competencies. PDPs give employees ownership of their own professional development and ensure that as an employer you are building the right skills across your team.
Utilise in-house talent
Often overlooked is the talent which already sits within a team. Most individuals are in their position because of a particular skill set which they employ day in, day out in their role; something they are experts in. Utilising this expertise which already resides within your team and establishing an internal training programme is an excellent way to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration, and will help to close any skills gaps you may have.
Courses and seminars
While developing talent in-house is an excellent way to spread knowledge and skills, it is not a strategy which will enable you to bring new skills to your organisation easily. For this, you will need to complement your in-house strategy with formal courses and training. Many professional skills can be attained and honed with training courses, and they are an excellent way to bring up to date the expertise of your team.
One benefit of this approach is that once one or two members of your team are equipped with these new skills they can begin to spread the knowledge throughout the rest of your team. By upskilling one team member you can provide a platform for more to learn.
Other things to consider
Micro learning – allocating short periods of time throughout the week allowing staff to pursue new skills, whether via online tutorials, instructional videos or even mobile apps.
Lunch and learns – scheduling monthly lunchtime sessions in which industry experts from inside or outside the business speak about what they do and how it fits into the business. You may be surprised by how much collaboration and ideas sharing takes place in these sessions as people learn about other areas of the business.
Mentoring – this works particularly well for training up more junior employees. Pairing them with an experienced member of the team and allowing them to benefit from their know-how and experience is invaluable.
Dedicated learning space – If you have the space, allocating a computer or even a small meeting room as a space for learning is another way to encourage upskilling. Employees can book time to pursue new skills in an environment conducive with learning, away from their desks and the distractions of their day-to-day jobs.
Benefits of upskilling
Upskilling your team isn’t just about ensuring you have the right skills to meet your goals. It’s about planning for the long-term future of both your organisation and your employees. Regular training and development are the strongest retention tools in any employer’s arsenal. Employees want to feel that they are valued and that their company is invested in their career, and are unlikely to stay long in a job which does not provide this.
By taking a proactive approach to training and developing your team, you are not only ensuring that you are equipped to move forward as a business but also that you have a motivated and improving workforce. It shows your employees that you are invested in them and committed to helping them develop their careers.