The Skills Development Act makes it mandatory or employers to train and upskill their employees, not only to perform well within the context of the company, but also to empower them within the broader labour environment.
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5 Ways to Manage Skills Development in the Workplace
Important as skills development is, it can easily fall by the wayside or be implemented ineffectively. Tower Group has compiled five tips that will make it easier for managers and human resources departments to manage skills development.
1. Choose carefully which skills to develop
There are any number of training courses you can send your staff on, and just as many trainers, programmes and subjects. You need to work out which of these would be most beneficial to your staff and business. Many of them will seem attractive but may not relevant, or perhaps a programme that is completely appropriate for your business isn’t necessary because your staff are already skilled to a higher level. Assess the needs of your staff and operations, and then choose your training programme accordingly.
2. Make sure you develop the right skills in the right people
There’s no point sending a warehouse foreman on the verge of retirement to do an advanced course in Microsoft Office, nor would it benefit you to send a mid-level operations employee on a senior management course. These may be obvious and extreme examples but the point is that you need to make sure that the training programmes you choose are the right fit for the staff members you send to take them. Consider each team member’s skills levels, current position and future prospects before you book your courses. Be sure to get everyone’s input as well.
3. Create a structured programme
Don’t allow your training programmes to be rushed and ad hoc – something hastily organised when a certain time of year sneaks up on you. Create a schedule and stick to it. Make sure that staff members know that if they complete one course this year, they will be upgraded the following year. It should be a curriculum of sorts where your staff can see the logical progression from one level to another.
4. Create incentives & tangible outcomes
As your staff perceive the progression of courses in your training programme, it should also be clear how each course can benefit them. Perhaps the completion of a particular course results in a move to a higher pay notch, for example, or a promotion. Accompanying this programme of incentives, there should also be a corresponding list of required outcomes. Anybody can attend a training course, but if a person is required to produce a tangible outcome that demonstrates a measurable increase in skill, he or she is likely to work harder at the upskilling. As a result, both your staff and your business will enjoy more benefits from the training.
5. Create a culture of continuous learning
Let upskilling not just be something that takes place once or twice a year in a boardroom or seminar. Foster an environment of constant learning, curiosity and continuous change, ensuring that your staff make regular, incremental additions to their knowledge and skills base.
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Contact Tower Group for more advice on your training programmes and other HR practices and procedures.