By Gerhard Hartman, Vice President: Medium Business, Sage Africa & Middle East
A highly motivated and skilled workforce is an asset to any company, but building your team’s capabilities and competencies takes time and investment. However, in these volatile times, many companies have had to reduce their training budgets, along with other steps taken to cut costs. This means getting a great return on investment (ROI) from your training spend is more important than ever.
A flexible approach to nurturing talent is key to creating an inclusive Future of Work within your business. Upskilling and reskilling your people is all about knocking down barriers so that everyone can thrive during these times of flexible work and job sharing. Here are some tips to ensure your training delivers bang for your buck:
Create and reuse your own resources
Bringing in external training consultants can be expensive. Consider creating your own internal modules for basic training in company policy, processes, and systems.
Embrace functional training
One of the best ways of nurturing talent is to tailor training to relate specifically to your team’s key performance requirements. From here, you can determine the best way to upskill or reskill employees, whether that’s mentoring and coaching from a manager or external multi-week skills development courses to improve technical knowledge.
Take advantage of your subject matter experts
Your business may have managers or technical experts with deep knowledge and experience to share with your team. Encourage them to share their knowledge through coaching sessions, webinars or on-the-job training. This is an inexpensive way to conduct training and boost your team’s drive and self-confidence.
Put technology to work
In this era of flexible work, your employees have become accustomed to working, collaborating and learning online. In this context, digital learning is a great way to maximise your training budget. Online courses range from formal certifications from local and international institutions to short and affordable courses on platforms like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning to free and high-quality online courses from the likes of Coursera and even some great content on YouTube.
Get employees aligned with the need for ROI
Be clear with your team on what you expect to deliver with training and what you expect from them afterwards. Behavioural objectives should clearly outline what they should know or do by the end of the programme.
Mix it up with multiple approaches
Keeping employees engaged and motivated is essential to driving real value from learning and development initiatives. Mix things up to cater for different learning styles and keep things fresh for your team:
- On-the-job training: training provided to colleagues within the daily work environment.
- Off-the-job training: training provided away from the workplace, generally used in cases where upskilling is required and includes workshops, seminars, and conferences. This is more costly, and effective only if many employees have to be trained within a short timeframe.
- Active learning: trainees play a leading role in learning by exploring issues and situational problems under the guidance of their facilitator. The trainees learn by asking thought-provoking questions, searching for answers, and interpreting various observations made during the process.
Enlist employees to help
Identify members of your team who are passionate about training and recording processes, procedures and other business-critical information. Encourage them to create manuals and handbooks to instruct and guide new and existing team members on technical procedures and corporate policies. You can also ask those who have taken a recent course or attended seminars to share their insights with others.
Training doesn’t have to be time-consuming and expensive. Consider how you can upskill your team to enhance their performance during tough economic times and an age of flexible work. A good training strategy will help harmonise your skills base, thus ensuring your employees feel empowered to work on their own without constant help and supervision from others.
SMB’s in the region strive to become innovative, people companies by transforming how they acquire, engage and manage their people. As your business grows, it is important to keep that entrepreneurial spirit alive, focusing on maintaining productivity, motivation and wellbeing in the workforce to ensure business success.