Five ways training and upskilling your team can help grow your business
For a lot of SMEs, training is not a priority. Owner-operators are often busy with the everyday tasks associated with running their business, and upskilling employees can seem like a luxury.
But experts agree that putting time and effort (and not necessarily money) into employee training opportunities is a smart investment to make, for many reasons.
Team members who have been trained in the latest relevant technology for their work, who truly understand their market, and are up-to-date with the latest developments, are more efficient. And that efficiency is contagious.
" In addition, employees who receive training through their workplace are happier and feel more fulfilled which, again, means they tend to be more productive."
That’s because they know they are doing everything they can to keep abreast of changes in their industry, which gives them confidence for today and some surety for the future.
Top employees have options, and they know it. Offering training and upskilling is increasingly a point of difference for SMEs when it comes to hiring – and keeping – the best available talent.
If a prospective team member is choosing between a job where there is no effort put into professional development and one where it is an important part of the culture, they are far more likely to take the position that provides a pathway to growth. They can see a future with the business, and that’s what you want – an engaged employee who wants to stick around for the long haul.
The more people within your business who know how to put together a beautiful spreadsheet or make a compelling presentation to win new business – or whatever skills you need – the better. It means that when a valued employee sadly decides to move on, there is someone available to take on their tasks.
This avoids lost time, lost productivity and disappointed customers. It also avoids having to second employees into roles they don’t suit or want just to get the work done until a replacement is found.
Upskilling can help your future leaders rise to the top. As team members undertake training they will discover new talents, they will come to understand where their weak spots are (and what they can do about them), and as a leader, you can identify those employees you want to develop further.
" You will ensure that everyone on the team is working to their potential, for their benefit and yours."
When the whole team gets together for a training session, it can be a valuable bonding experience. Everyone has the same objective and shares the same experience. Even better, you can use the talent you have in the business to up-skill others.
For example, you may have someone on your team who is great at social media or understands how to use new computer software. Get them to teach everyone else. Make it a lunchtime meeting and provide healthy sandwiches and fruit.
Not only will workers be impressed by their peers' knowledge, their trust in each other will be strengthened, and you will have provided training at very little cost.
You can achieve the same results with peer-to-peer mentoring programmes and shadowing, when one employee spends the day learning what another does for work.