3 quick pointers for identifying the skills your business needs to grow

Chris Danks
Digital Marketing Executive | Business West
17th November 2015

In business it can be easy to keep your mind focused on the day-to-day because you’re too busy to plan for the future. But if there’s one thing you don’t want to let slide it’s your staff development

As one of your most valuable assets, supporting your employees by providing opportunities for training and development will pay dividends, improving productivity and motivation. Which means you’ll end up with a more engaged and loyal work force. 

1. Review business aims

Before deciding on training requirements it’s crucial to appreciate the strategic aims and needs of the business. Doing so ensures training delivers relevant business benefits.

If your business plan identifies a weakness in customer service, you may work to train customer-facing employees. If ‘online’ has become a strategic goal for the future, you may need to train your web, IT and marketing people, and potentially your management team, who might require training in order to navigate the ever-changing online world.

Ask yourself: Where is your business going, and what additional skills are needed to get there? 

2. Review employee needs

Your employees might identify specific training needs which could help to both develop themselves as individuals and push your business forward. In such cases it’s valuable to listen and act.

Reviews may form part of regular performance monitoring and personal development planning. Talk to employees about what skills development they feel would make them better at their jobs, and why. This helps to connect personal development and strategic business need, so that you can make plans for training that create benefits for both the employee and the business.

Ask employees: What additional skills could help to push themselves and your business forward?

3. Review training options

Think about training options within the context of the skills gaps to be filled and the people to be trained.

  • Workshops - Training groups of employees together, led by an expert trainer/facilitator.
  • Seminars - Employees attend in-house or external seminars organised by training specialists.
  • Job shadowing - One employee observing or working with another whilst they do their job.
  • e-Learning - Learning online using written, audio or video content and interactive tools or tests.
  • Distance learning - Educational training courses suited to training at home or work.
  • Study leave - Allowing employees leave to undertake training fully or partly funded by business.
  • Out-of-hours - Evening or weekend classes undertaken by employee, funded by business.
  • Coaching and mentoring - Close relationship between trainer and trainee to get the best from both.

Ask: What training method can best deliver the skills your business needs, and best suit your people? 

Having the opportunity to learn new skills through regular training is a big motivation for staff and could be the key to sparking creative thinking.

So if you take anything away from this article it should be this: training isn’t a luxury, it’s essential for the success of your business.


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