Employee development is pivotal for business success

ActionCOACH discusses the benefits upskilling your employees can have on business success, but why it needs to be strategically handled.
It’s a commonly held belief that improving the skillset of your employees ultimately results in a loss for the employer, as skilled employees – now, more attractive to higher paying employers – flock for greener pastures. That there’s no sense investing in employees – a potentially costly endeavour – if they abandon ship at a moment’s notice. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re looking to improve your business’s bottom line, then offering your employees the right training is exactly what you need to do.
For the most part, staff retention comes down to a sense of purpose, team morale and job satisfaction – none of which is satisfied in a stifling, go nowhere environment. Bored with a lack of progress or stimulation and otherwise unchallenged, your employees may very well leave. Can you blame them?
People want to feel like they’re growing; it’s a natural inclination. It’s why you feel so compelled to grow your business, after all. The key is to provide the right sorts of tools and opportunity for growth, while also offering a leadership and company culture worth investing in. Even the most skilled employees will stick around if they believe they have something worth learning, or find themselves in a culture and workplace worth contributing to.
It’s all about balance, which is why if you’re only going to take one thing away from this blog, it’s this: training and education is a privilege to be earned; it is not a right. With a business to worry about, you should not frivolously spend your resources on skills transfer or general upskilling. You need to be strategic about how you provision training, and expect the most from your employees before any training begins. That’s why onboarding is so critical.
The goal of a written, structured induction is to let your employees know what is expected of them in the near future, as well as broadly speaking. It should not only begin the transference of the tools necessary to deliver at the right performance levels, but establish a sense of culture and an acceptable work ethic. A thriving culture worth caring about is a home for the foreseeable future, and not just an avenue for the employee to grow and move on.
Once they’ve proved themselves worthy of development and growth, it’s up to you to enhance their abilities. It may not be their right, but they will expect it. A good way to do so is to focus skills enhancement on an employee’s weaknesses, rather than appealing to their strengths and interests. For the most part, employees will naturally seek out educational opportunities in the fields that interest them, but by improving on their weaknesses, you will generate huge ROI through improved performance. It also means much less time will be spent putting out fires or having to solve problems. That’s the sort of balance you should aim to achieve.
Crucially, there are a number of cost-effective upskilling avenues that improve performance without requiring much expenditure. One-on-one mentoring and seminars or webinars grant employees the opportunity to learn and grow, but don’t require formal programs, or even cost you, the employer. You might also want to try offering special or “stretch” assignments – tasks that go beyond an employee’s current skillset – to willing employees. It combats stagnation, drives growth and, crucially, keeps employees contributing to the bottom line. In essence, it’s about continual development, while never taking away from productivity.
Upskilling your staff is vital to keeping them engaged, which keeps them working for you, and not for your competitor. Take skills transference seriously if you desire business longevity.
Franchise Enquiries – Pieter Scholtz / Harry Welby-Cooke – pieterscholtz@actioncoach.com / harrywelbycooke@actioncoach.com.
Harry Welby-Cooke is the Co-Master Licensee for ActionCOACH in Southern Africa. The fastest growing and largest business coaching company globally. Harry developed ActionCOACH across South Africa which now boasts 30 franchisees. He is also a certified, leading Business and Executive Coach. He has successfully assisted countless business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills.www.actioncoach.co.za / 0861 226224.