Up-skilling your SME employees
Priya Wadhwa
10X People

Up-skilling your SME employees

Train your team without hurting your wallet.

The world is evolving faster than ever before. The top skills required to do the job last year, are no longer enough to keep up with technology and the world. Learn why it’s important to train your employees and how you can do so in a cost-effective manner.

CFO: What happens if we invest in developing people and they leave us?

CEO: What happens if we don't and they stay ?

In the current economic climate, many organisations struggle with the financial expenses of training people with the risk of having them leave. With a vast number of highly skilled and qualified people in the job market, it can be easy to simply hire talent at low costs and let them go once there is someone else available who is more qualified and shows more expertise. However, these actions can have a number of negative consequences on your reputation as well as the bottom line; from cost of on-boarding, settling period and inconsistency in work quality, to an increase in talent retention costs with the reputation of high exit-rates and low benefits.

With the tax-free earnings market in the GCC attracting western expats, and the Asian community willing to take up the same jobs for lower salaries, there is never a lack of talent available. But if you understand the basics of long-term economics of hiring people, then you will know that it is more economical to hire and train people to do better work than have a high talent turnover rate. There is a reason why large corporates such as HSBC, Citibank, Bupa, Etisalat et al have dedicated HR Training and Development managers whose sole responsibility is to build and offer programmes to train employees. They also set aside budgets for every department, so that employees can go for workshops held by highly specialised organisations.

Upskilling and reskilling employees are a worthwhile investment on many accounts. Below are the benefits you can reap once you offer training opportunities and encourage your employees to partake in them:

1. Improved employee performance

With stronger understanding of the latest market trends and learnings, your employees will not only perform better but also help your company become a stronger competitor in the industry. The increased overall performance of the employee will also boost their confidence and morale, leading them to represent your company better.

2. Improved employee satisfaction and reduced turnover

When you invest in your employees, they feel valued and cared for by your company. This not only increases their motivation to stay with you in the long run, but also boosts the morale of your employees. With a more positive and content atmosphere in the office, the performance and productivity improve, along with your bottom line results.

3. Addressing company weaknesses

When you start your company, you have a specific skill-set. However, as you grow and the market changes, you may find yourself lacking certain key capabilities that are required to stay on top of your game. Training provides opportunities for your employees to learn new skills and bridge the gap or weakness you’re facing. This helps you as well as them to keep up with the market needs and stay relevant.

4. Instilling a learning culture

Providing training opportunities within teams will build a culture of learning. When employees experience the benefits of such programmes, they’re more likely to engage in activities and go for programmes separately by themselves to learn more, polish their skills and thereby bring better expertise to work.

5. Enhanced company reputation

Increased employee satisfaction and performance will inevitably lead them to talk positively about your company, colleagues and work. This has a number of benefits, such as more clients wanting to work with happier employees, talented individuals preferring to work for your company, better talent retention, and of course all of these ultimately increase your revenue and profits, and help you grow in the market.

As you can see, there is a strong case for training your people to keep up with the market and help them brush up their skills. However, for smaller businesses and start-ups offering year-round development opportunities can be quite expensive. So the question is: how do you offer such opportunities while keeping costs low? Following are some some tips that may help:

1. Make it a responsibility of the manager: Managers can be great at training teams as they have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Plus, they can impart more experience based learning in the field, which is far better than theories on an online course.

2. Co-working spaces: If you’re small, working in a co-working space can help your employees engage with others in the field and learn what’s latest in the market as well as be able to hone their skills with help of other specialists on the floor.

3. Cross-train your employees: One of the greatest benefits of this is that you can improve business continuity even if one of your key people is unavailable. Employees who have a better understanding of their colleagues’ work are more understanding and flexible in terms of expectations and delivery, leading to a more collaborative working environment.

Training your employees is never a waste of resources. In fact, it has many short-term and long-term benefits that help your company grow. To stay relevant to the market and keep up with the latest technology and practices, it is vital to keep learning and experimenting. Lead your team to take advantage of training opportunities and innovate in how you offer them to keep costs low.

After all, you do not want people with irrelevant skills that are unaware of the changing market needs to lead your company, do you?