On the surface, upskilling can seem like a way to stay competitive and make your employees better at what they do. In reality, there is so much more to it than simply filling gaps in your team’s skillsets. 

Without it, you would be looking at unmotivated and ineffective workers. It is really an opportunity to provide developmental pathways and chances for growth within the company while ensuring that all employees remain engaged and aware within their own roles. 

Once you learn how to upskill effectively you can boost their careers and expect a lot more back in return. It will help them remain engaged in the business and positive about new experiences and opportunities to come. 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – engaged employees work effectively. Not only will it benefit them, but you’ll retain top talent and improve onboarding significantly. This article will give you some tips and tricks on how to carry out this journey and give your employees the best start to the new year. 

What Is Upskilling?

At a base level, this simply means teaching your employees a new skill. However, we like to look at it on a more long term basis. It is a method of facilitating continuous learning and development that focuses not only on learning new skills and ways of approaching problems – but builds upon the skills you already have.

See, by applying both of these factors together, we can begin creating a more well-rounded team who are experts in their own niche. When we start throwing in multiple training courses for all different things, it can be easy to lose focus. Implementing new skills alongside the ones we use daily will help engage the employees and provide a purpose for their development. 

As the business world adjusts and consumers change their habits, we need to be able to keep up with this demand. Understanding how to upskill offers you a prime opportunity as a business owner to keep your team in line with new goals and at a level of understanding where they know what is expected of them. 

This Isn’t A New Thing…

While training and development have been part of business forever, the way we approach it has changed over the years. But why does it seem so important all of a sudden?

Significant advances in technology and competition in almost every industry have meant that we are now required to rethink the customer journey and strategies we have in place for buying and selling. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our services and simplify the ways in which our customers use them.

As a result, it is more important than ever that our employees’ training matches these fast-paced adjustments and can help provide our businesses with the answers we need. It also means that traditional roles are morphing into something new. Instead of teaching your team how to work as a production line with narrow margins for change, learning how to upskill effectively is your ticket to prepare a new workforce to fill these new positions. 

1. Understand Where Gaps Lie

I know we said it’s not all about filling skill gaps, but understanding where these are in the first place will help you approach training and development in a way that will benefit everyone. This step isn’t only to find out where you could be making improvements in the business, but it also gives you a chance to communicate with your employees and find out what they want to learn. 

From here, you can ensure each person is being given the opportunity to develop their own careers and remain focussed on their role. Similarly, it will give you direction to decide who needs to be on certain courses. If you come across a gap within departments it will be more effective to tackle the problem as a team, rather than placing individuals through the process alone. 

2. Bite-Sized Chunks

When your team is already working at full capacity with tight schedules and targets to hit – throwing a week of formal training into the mix isn’t going to go down well. Instead, try breaking it down into short lessons or even video content where possible. This will allow them to fit it in amongst the tasks they should be completing each day. Especially in the age of remote working, online training and continuous learning can be beneficial. 

Not only does this make the development more accessible, but it will reduce the risk of overwhelming your staff. There can come times where they feel they are learning too many new things at once and it becomes hard to follow or remember. Also, throwing too much at them can make people feel disheartened – they can feel as though you don’t trust the ways in which they do things. 

3. Allocate Time During The Workday

Some businesses will expect any personal development to be done outside of work hours. When it is outside of their role and decided upon by the individual – this is understandable. However, when it benefits your business directly and you are asking them to complete certain tasks, it becomes part of their job. This means the training should take place within their working hours

This will help keep the upskilling effective as they are far more likely to retain information and understand how to apply it to their job. This could be done by allocating certain days during the week to carry out their training, hours within the day or even certain hours to be used at their own discretion. This will depend on how your business runs and how much time your employees feel they have to spare. 

4. Make It Real-Life

A huge part of how to upskill effectively is realising that as you learn new things, it is important to apply those in real life. This is how people remember processes and when we begin to see those lightbulb moments. If you are giving them ways to develop that will benefit them and align with the business, they should be implementing their new skills almost immediately. 

As a manager or business owner, try to make the effort to understand the development process even if you’re not going through it yourself. This way, you can delegate tasks or make a point of implementing new methods and processes that will allow your employees to utilise their skills. This will also help with employee engagement and retention as they get a clearer picture of why they’re doing these courses. 

5. Become A Mentor

Adopting a culture of learning within your organisation and taking the step to become a mentor ensures that there is always an opportunity for upskilling throughout the day. Whether it be a simple task or a favour for the manager – your employees will be willing to learn and will trust your confidence in them to learn how to do it correctly. Alongside this, they will expect feedback, so be ready to provide constructive notes that can be used to better their performance in the long run. 

How To Upskill Effectively

When this ideal is implemented into a business, we begin to see a much more cohesive atmosphere. Leaders become more approachable and employees become more effective. Many people get worried that it will lead to unnecessary questions and people not working to their own initiative. In reality, we see the opposite. With regular opportunities to learn – they can apply skills to their own work and solve problems in new ways. 

How To Upskill Effectively With Azimuth

We have worked with many different organisations to increase their team’s knowledge and provide opportunities for them to grow within the business. The focus is never entirely on one party or the other, but on being able to benefit each as a unit. When you invest the time in developing your employees, they will inadvertently pay you back with advocacy for your brand and productive workers

However, you have to make sure each piece of information is able to be retained. This means being conscious of your team’s workload, deadlines and ability to apply these new skills to their roles. Understanding where the gaps in departments lie and adopting a culture of continuous development will help you ensure this happens.

If you’re looking for the most efficient and effective way to approach upskilling, our team can work with you to produce bespoke courses and methods that can be implemented within your business. This way, you can be totally satisfied that everything being taught remains in line with your goals as well as those of your employees. 

To kick off the new year with new opportunities, speak to one of our dedicated Azimuth experts today and implement your own, tailored approach. You can reach us at enquiries@azimuth.eu.com or call 01483 24 33 81. 

We will be more than happy to discuss how we can help you and with over 20 years of experience across a range of industries, we have the innovative, proven tools that can help you unlock the true potential of yourself – and your business. What are you waiting for?

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