6 Ways Upskilling Staff Benefits Your Small Business

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Kiran Virk

Kiran Virk, Head of Talent Acquisition

(Last updated )

The pandemic has brought upskilling into sharp focus. Over the past year, we’ve all learnt new digital tools to be able to connect and collaborate remotely.

Many employers have taken their small businesses online to increase sales and reach out to customers during lockdowns. Even without a pressing cause like a pandemic, upskilling should be a part of your company culture.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling means learning new skills through training or education. When you upskill your workforce, you provide them opportunities to acquire new skills that’ll help them either perform their current job more efficiently or fill in a position with more responsibilities.

What are the advantages of upskilling employees?

Upskilling benefits both employers and employees. It helps:

Save costs

When you train existing employees to take on larger roles, you save the time and resources spent on recruiting and training new staff. Also, when your employees have additional skills, you no longer need to bring in specialists for a particular task or project.

Keep your business competitive

A workforce with an advanced skill set in line with the latest trends and developments in your industry will give you an edge over your competitors.

Increase team productivity

Employees with advanced skills will perform tasks with greater efficiency. This increases your workforce’s overall productivity and morale.

Keep clients happy

When your staff feels motivated, it’ll reflect in their output. An engaged workforce will provide better service to your customers.

Retain employees

Upskilling improves employee engagement and job satisfaction. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers them growth opportunities and cares about their future.

Attract talent

Upskilling opportunities will be an additional perk that’ll draw good applicants to your organization. Being perceived as a company that promotes employee growth will also boost your brand image.

What should I keep in mind when creating an upskilling strategy?

To ensure that your upskilling plan is effective, we recommend that you:

Assess the skill gaps in your company

Ask yourself what skills or technological know-how would help your business grow. What skills/roles would you need qualified staff for going forward? Would your employees benefit from learning more hard skills or would a soft skills training help them do their jobs better?

For e.g., if you’re new to the e-commerce space, your staff would gain from training in areas such as digital marketing.

Consider available training options

Based on your review of the areas where upskilling may be needed, you can then think about the available training sources. Is there a professional organization in your industry that offers recognized educational courses in the skills you’re seeking?

There are also accredited online courses covering a variety of subjects that your employees could sign up for and then study at their own pace.

If the skill you’re looking to provide can be covered over a few workshops, you may want to consider inviting an expert to hold training sessions.

Another source could be your senior staff who could mentor junior employees.

Customize the upskilling plan for each employee

Unless it’s a tool or software that your company is upgrading to, you’ll need to draw up individual upskilling targets for every employee. These would depend on their current skills, their job profile, the skill gap they are looking to cover and their career goals.

Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.

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