5. Identify the skills you need
It’s great to have employee-led development plans in place to deliver individualised training. This will benefit your employee engagement and retention. But as a business, you should also be looking at the skills you’re going to need in your business to keep you relevant and to ensure your staff is innovative and creative and able to deliver customer outcomes over the long term.
So the first step is to have a look at the skills that your business will need over the next 12 to 24 months. One way to do that is to have a look at your strategy for this period.
- what are your company goals?
- what’s in your strategy?
- what does that mean in terms of skills you’ll need to develop?
Another way is to take a look at that World Economic Forum report. It splits out the skills needed by country and identifies the top 15 emerging skills that are in high demand in Australia. At Amplify HR we’ve worked with some of our clients to compare the skills on this list with skills that may be needed in their organisation. For example, the top five emerging skills are:
- analytical thinking and innovation
- active learning and learning strategies
- critical thinking and analysis
- leadership and social influence
- technology use, monitoring and control
We take a look at these (and the other 10) with our clients and say, ‘Okay, we want to stay competitive and we know that these are the skills other organisations are focusing on. Are any of these also relevant to us?’ Once you’ve identified the skills you might need you can say ‘Okay, what training and development do we need to foster these skills?’ This could take the form of
- on-the-job learning
- training programs
6. Plan regular training sessions
Once we’ve identified the required skills with our clients, we develop regular training sessions. For example, we may hold a session with staff once every six or eight weeks for two to three hours. Then they have homework in between so you keep the learning ongoing and ensure that it’s iterative, that it’s building on itself.
This is much more effective than sending one person off to a training course. When you’ve got a group of people doing it together, they can talk to each other about it and keep that learning alive within the organisation.
When we do this, we always name the training program so everyone in the organisation knows we’re running a particular program. We also work with our clients to identify who they want to come into the program. Sometimes people will invite particular roles and sometimes it’s open to everybody.
7. Determine the consequences for not attending
It’s important to decide what happens if people sign up for a program, but then don’t attend. There need to be consequences because you want training to be seen as a benefit. Make it clear at the start of that program that the training is about investing in staff and needs to be taken seriously.
Everyone involved with the program needs to commit the time and energy necessary to complete it. If someone is not going to come to some of the sessions, you may need to pull them out of the programme unless they can commit to the session. It’s important to think about these things upfront.
8. Develop the program
Once you’re clear on the skills you need, think about:
- what does the program look like?
- where can we get a facilitator?
- can we have regular sessions?
- who should attend?
- will it be open to everyone or will we invite particular people?
- what happens if somebody doesn’t attend?
You need to consider two upskilling pathways. First, an employee-led development program so people have their own development plans in place. Second, a business-led program where you actively develop the skills you need in your business.
This is an easy thing to do. It’s not very expensive and it develops a culture of ongoing learning and development in your business. This is going to give you fantastic business outcomes, and also help you to retain and attract great people into your business.