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5 reasons you should invest in upskilling your staff

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Jayne Worthington, Managing Director – The Skills Company

0161 233 2656

Jayne Worthington is Managing Director of The Skills Company, the largest provider of training and apprenticeships in Greater Manchester and part of the not-for-profit Manchester Growth Company.

In this article, we’ll take a look at five of the most important reasons as to why upskilling your current staff can pay dividends that will far outweigh the modest up-front costs.

Most employers put an emphasis on the induction and training of new employees – front-loading their time and resources into teaching new staff, while trusting tried and tested workers to simply get on with the job at hand.

But upskilling existing staff can have a bundle of benefits for businesses – both in the short and long-term.

1. Morale

While new challenges abound in the world of work, doing the same things day in, day out, will inevitably result in a feeling of stagnation.

Employees who don’t feel engaged will under-perform, leading to a loss of productivity, time and ultimately, money for your company.

Conversely, investing in workers can enhance the perception of their worth to the company, make them feel more secure in their roles and as a result, reduce turnover, absenteeism and, arguably the worst, presenteeism.

Not only will in-work training refresh staff on theory, it will also help them keep abreast of changing methodologies and how best to incorporate new technologies in their day-to-day roles. They will be able to put these lessons to good use in their daily work and be more willing to take on further responsibilities in terms of implementing and overseeing improvements.

2. Efficiency

A recent survey from the The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) found that employers across the UK were reporting skills gaps within their organisations, with 14% of those surveyed suggesting that they had staff who weren’t fully proficient in their roles.

UKCES Commissioner Douglas McCormick suggested tapping into the latent talent lying dormant in their workers could help employers go some way to addressing the ‘flatlined’ productivity that has plagued the UK since 2008.

While many employers will seek to push staff outside their comfort zone, the bottom line is an employee will require more time, effort and oversight to tackle a task they’ve not received relevant training for.

Though the up-front cost and immediate loss in time can be off-putting, it’s worth bearing in mind the long-term benefits that relevant training will bring in terms of both quality and efficiency.

3. Safety netting

Whether your industry is affected by administrative regulations, health and safety or any number of overarching concerns – an employee who’s not clued up could be a mistake waiting to happen.

Appropriate training will help to build awareness and competencies around these concerns, reducing the need for oversight and helping staff to consider the big picture in the course of their daily work.

4. Adding value

Upskilling won’t just enable employees to hone their existing skills, but also diversify and acquire new ones.

Appropriate training will help staff to become more versatile, paving the way to take on further responsibilities and add long-term value to your business.

5. Long-term planning

Investing in your existing staff can be invaluable in helping you develop practical plans to meet your medium and long-term business goals.

By incorporating upskilling in your plans, you can seek to develop appropriate skills that will give you the internal resources you need to work towards your goals, while concurrently saving time and money on external recruitment.

Training options

When it comes to investing in training, businesses have two main options. The first is to utilise the SASE (Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England) Apprenticeship Frameworks, which are set out by the Skills Funding Agency. Although it’s worth noting these are currently being phased out in favour of new ‘trailblazer’ standards, designed by employers – for employers.

Secondly, there’s the option to purchase relevant commercial training directly, some of which will be accredited and some that will be largely informal in nature.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but by clearly defining your goals and talking to a reputable provider, you can discern the best route for you and plan your training appropriately.

The bottom line

No matter what industry you work in, having skilled staff to call on will always be a crucial consideration for your business and by creating a culture of constant learning, you can keep skills current, stay ahead of changes in your sector and continue to move onwards and upwards.

If you’ve had any experiences with upskilling – whether positive or negative – or have any questions about the topics discussed above, be sure to reach out and let me know via Twitter or LinkedIn.

And if you’re looking to invest in training for your valuable employees, don’t hesitate to get in touch and see how The Skills Company can help you today.

February 28th, 2017

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