In light of the current skills shortage in the UK labour market increasing numbers of employers are focusing their attention on training the staff they currently have, as opposed to looking to bring in readymade candidates. Upskilling staff in this manner can be a great way to fill a position of need and, despite the initial financial outlay, could end up paying dividends for employers in the future.
It will be a useful idea for employers to outline their initial commitment to training in a workplace policy. Training and succession policies can help can reaffirm a company’s approach to upskilling staff and act as a useful source of information for anyone who would like to know more about the options available to them.
Policies can be used to detail any ‘fast track’ or ‘leadership programmes’ that organisations may wish to run. These programmes are typically aimed at lower or mid-level employees who show a certain level of promise, often giving them access to specific training that improves their progression opportunities.
To be truly effective in training staff, employers will also need to have an appropriate procedure in place to determine what type of training is required. It will be important to review the current workforce and conduct a learning needs analysis to make note of any areas of weakness. If there are areas that can be improved upon then training efforts will need to be tailored accordingly. At the same time, employers should use performance reviews and informal catch-ups with staff to determine where additional training may enhance their capabilities at work.
To make the most out of training, employers must ensure opportunities are made available to all relevant staff. Employers need to be especially careful of falling into the trap of assuming that older employees will be less inclined to undergo training than their younger colleagues, as denying access to training on this basis could lead to claims of discrimination.
Despite the clear advantages of training current staff, employers can often be discouraged by the cost, especially when it comes to paying for expensive industry-accredited qualifications. However, to combat this employers could choose to introduce training agreements which will allow employers to recoup part of any training cost if the employee leaves the business within an agreed upon time. In order to be reasonable, these agreements tend to include a sliding scale, which means the longer an employee stays with the business the less money they will have to pay back.
Ultimately, when it comes to arranging training for current employees it is important to get things right to avoid any wasted investment. Therefore, employers will need to implement measures to guarantee training adds value to the employee, and the organisation, whilst also ensuring steps are in place to recoup any costs if the employee decides to leave the business soon after the training is complete.