Why is now a great time to think about upskilling your team?

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 5/11/2020 10:00:00 AM

November is one of the most popular months for owners and senior people to put individual learning plans in place for 2021. Upskilling yourself has never been more important in these tough times: upskilling your people… equally so.

why is now a great time to think about upskilling your team?

Why now? The majority of service providers are wrapping up their programmes and workshops for the year – understandably, the appetite for upskilling wanes as the appetite for the Kiwi summer holiday increases. Providers are also publishing and promoting their dates and calendars for the year ahead right now, so owners and leaders can start planning and booking spots for 2021.

Perhaps more importantly, the events of 2020 have created a dire need for upskilling. COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for capability training in two ways; shining a light on the pre-existing need for upskilling within an organisation, and highlighting new and enforced skills gaps as people leave the business, forcing ‘unqualified’ people to step into emergency roles they haven’t been trained for or don’t have the necessary skillset to accomplish successfully.

That’s why now is the perfect opportunity to think about who in your team needs upskilling, and in which areas. Upskilling improves employee retention and boosts workplace morale, productivity and customer satisfaction. Moreover, it fosters a culture of learning and company-wide self-improvement.

Capability building reassures owners that they are moving in the right direction to future-proof their business – by having the right people in the right positions, each possessing the right skills to work effectively and confidently. Upskilling also empowers owners to shape their own future and hopefully negate their own recession.

What’s more, the upskilled worker stands out from the crowd in the labour market. A recent survey by Hays Recruitment established that 77% of employers were more likely to shortlist a qualified candidate who regularly upskills.

‘Employers told us that continuous upskilling shows a candidate is proactive, takes their development seriously, is genuinely interested in their field and is willing to put in the effort to stay up-to-date.’

And it’s not technical skills and qualifications employers are looking for, but soft skills. The most in-demand skill required is ‘communication’, followed by ‘adaptability’ and ‘innovation’ (which includes critical thinking and self-learning subsets). Coding was nominated most important by just 6% of employers.

‘Developing and enhancing human skills and capabilities through education, learning and meaningful work are key drivers of economic success, of individual well-being and societal cohesion,’ according to the ‘Reskilling Revolution’ report, recently published by the World Economic Forum (2020).

Further, businesses that train employees on the job and bring in apprentices can access government incentives and funding, which is another commonsense reason to upskill staff – the same report puts New Zealand first in the world for adopting job retention schemes and praises the country for its focus on ‘preserving the retention of staff by businesses through wage compensation schemes as well as tax or payment deferrals.’

Elsewhere, financial comparison website Finder states that one in four New Zealanders are planning to upskill in the next six to 12 months: ‘In the shadow of COVID, 25% of Kiwis are looking to upskill because of the fear of unemployment.’ (New Zealand Herald).

The current climate dictates that many businesses have to be more structured than ever before, and be prepared to stay lean. Icehouse coach Michaela Vodanovich explains that owners are motivated to develop winning and workable business models with a clear and well-defined strategy behind them.

‘Business owners need to understand that their recruitment strategy needs to be 12 months a year, not just when somebody hands in their resignation. The level of talent is getting thinner and thinner, particularly outside of Auckland and good profitable growth requires great people,’ she says.

For information on how capability building programmes, workshops and advisory can help your business, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs


Topics: The Icehouse, Michaela Vodanovich, Workshops, Upskilling, Upskill, Capability Building, Programmes