10 Ways to Upskill Staff More Effectively

by
February 12, 2016
Upskill Staff

It is said that approximately half the assumptions we make about candidates are wrong.

This means that even if we exclusively hire people who we are absolutely certain are perfect employees who cannot put a foot wrong… around 50% of our workforce will still be fault-ridden.

So rather than trying to hire perfection and then sitting back, there’s a lot to be said for hiring a decent workforce, and then investing in the right training and development to make them even better.

Here’s our 10-step list to upskilling staff effectively. Enjoy!

1. Hire Curious People. When recruiting, look for people who have a track record of picking up new skills on the job, and who are self-motivated and love teaching themselves new skills. As long as you make materials available to them – books, guides, etc. – they will learn new skills using their own initiative.

2. Dedicate Down Time to Training. Finding the money to pay for training AND to keep the crucial areas of business packed with staff can be challenging. But if you plan carefully, you can really make your time work. Work out your most quiet business hours, and dedicate these slots to providing staff training for a small groups of staff at a time.

3. Reward Staff for Learning New Skills. It’s one thing finding the time to train staff, but what if there’s no incentive for them to actually learn? Some people will learn independently, but others need a bit of a push. Set up a reward scheme where staff can earn bonuses or pay reviews based on the skills they have, and the new skills they develop.

4. Internal Knowledge Sharing. If you have experts in certain fields, then why not have them run a training course to help other people learn a wider skillset? There is no point in paying for expensive external training if you already have the in-house experts who are willing to share.

5. Create Skill Pioneers. If you can’t afford to send everybody to a training course, why not send just one and have them make plenty of notes, and then pass on what they learned to the rest of your staff via an internal training session?

6. Lunchtime Lectures. Once a week or a month, why not bring an outside expert in a different subject area to come and do an informal ‘lecture’ at lunchtime? You could even put on a free spread – finger food at zero cost always attracts a good few punters, and because it’s on their time, you won’t be losing out on labour.

7. Organise Networking Events. Many companies are willing to send their top experts to speak or run workshops at events because of the networking opportunities it brings them. If you want to bring a lot of top talent together under one roof, this might be the way to do it.

8. Create Competitions. We mentioned earlier about providing incentives and rewards for learning new skills. Well why not turn learning into a competition? The cash rewards will encourage the money-minded, whereas a competition approach will attract those who are competitive. Create a leader board, establish a points system, lay out some rules… the rest should just run itself!

9. Turn Skills Into Documents. Are there a few skills that are only possessed by a select few members of staff? Such as how to operate the photocopier? Or maybe more realistically, how your HR system works? Get them to write a simple guide that will help other people learn to do it – this way, you’re not stuck with a total skill void if they leave your company, or if you’re expanding.

10. Make Use of E-Learning. You don’t have to send your employees away on expensive bricks-and-mortar learning courses. E-Learning platforms take a lot of the overheads (such as travel and accommodation) out of training.

What other tips should we have included here? Leave your ideas in the comments.

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