As digital technology is expanding and becoming more sophisticated, our reliance is growing and the skills needed to use this technology also becomes more and more important. However, this ever-growing need for digital skills is being met with a skills gap preventing us from utilising the technology efficiently.
Digital skills were once limited explicitly to IT and online roles; however, due to most workforces working from home, these skills have become universal to nearly all roles.
Having a basic understanding of programs such as Microsoft Office once made you a competitive candidate. However, these days, having a more in-depth understanding of these programs and specific knowledge in, for example, autoCAD or Adobe Photoshop is desirable.
Upskilling your team can be beneficial in many aspects. The main advantage being you can select specific skills to improve or work on within your team. In terms of investment, upskilling the team you have is much cheaper than employing new team members. There are, however, many other advantages – it increases productivity and morale, while also improving retention rates. Employees really value working for a company that creates opportunities for them to learn, improve their skillset and grow professionally.
Here are some ideas to help you upskill your team.
1. Identify the gaps
Having a clear understanding of where your team could improve their skills is key to finding the best solution and learning opportunities. Sitting down as a group or with individuals can encourage discussion around what each person can bring to the table and clarify areas that need improvement.
2. Encourage individual learning
All employees will have a different set of skills they want to develop, so use this as a chance to promote self-directed learning. Make sure you provide each individual with the tools they’ll need, this doesn’t just need to be in the area they chose but can also be more universal skills, such as time management and organisation.
3. Retain your best talent
A key element of upskilling is making sure it is carried out at all levels of the organisation, from the new staff to those who have been in their role for years, investing in your staff can be invaluable.
4. Set goals using PDPs
Setting goals for your team to upskill is a great way to make sure they complete training programmes. This can be laid out in the format of PDPs (Personal Development Plans). Having PDPs in place can help track and manage the upskilling process while fostering continuous improvement and ensuring everyone is hitting their PDP targets year on year.
5. Allocate time for training
It is very easy for anyone to say that they ‘don’t have time’ to upskill, but by allocating a few days a year, you can make sure there is time to hone and improve your team’s skills.