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Will upskilling staff improve my business?

Will upskilling staff improve my business?

Providing training and further education for your staff can have a multitude of benefits for your business in the long run, including better staff morale and retention, and higher productivity. Here are five cost-effective ways to coach your employees so you can get the most out of your shining stars.

1. One-on-one mentoring

New and junior-level employees can get a lot of value from a close working relationship with a more experienced staff member. It doesn’t even have to be a formal program – just a commitment to set aside some time each week to provide feedback, assist with decision-making and problem-solving, and offer general support and encouragement. It can be a good way to bring new employees up to speed more quickly than if left unsupervised.

2. Government-supported training

As part of the Government’s recent pledge to invest in the skills of Australian workers through the National Workforce Development Fund, there are now a range of cost-effective training schemes and incentives available to both workers and their employers. They include the Apprenticeships Incentives Program, which provides subsidies of up to $3000 per employee for Certificate II/III/IV or Diploma-level training.

3. Seminars and webinars

Attending a seminar can be a valuable learning experience. Attendees can learn new industry information and insights from the presenters, meet and exchange knowledge with other people in the industry, and learn about new technologies and tools they can use to grow the business. Webinars are virtual seminars, and although they can’t offer all the benefits of attending in person, they are still a highly cost-effective way of upskilling staff, requiring only an internet connection.

4. Special or “stretch” assignments

When a role is no longer challenging, job satisfaction can suffer. A “stretch” assignment is simply a task or project that is beyond an employee’s current knowledge or skills, and can be an excellent way to help combat stagnation. It could simply involve putting the staff member in a role that falls slightly outside their comfort zone, such as leading a team. As they adapt to the new situation, they will learn and grow from the experience.

5. Make learning part of the workplace culture

Most skills will eventually become obsolete, which means ‘front loading’ those skills at the start of a career tends to be much less effective than a continuous program of ongoing skill development and renewal. Information technology is a good example: a recent study found that IT workers must now spend around 10 hours a week on upskilling to stay current. For this reason, upskilling staff has benefits that stretch far beyond just more satisfied and productive staff – it is often essential to the long-term success, and survival, of the business.

Whatever your industry, skilled staff will always be crucial to your business longevity – whether you have one or 100 employees, or even if you’re a sole trader. If you and your staff keep your skills current, you’ll be able to stay ahead of industry changes and continue moving forward.

Upskilling your staff is a crucial step to keeping them engaged. Learn other ways to engage your workforce.

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