While people are breaking out the deep cleaning sprays and scrub brushes to get in a little spring cleaning, you might consider a similar process for your business. You know, while we’re all in the mood.

We don’t mean cleaning all the windows and organizing cluttered spaces, though that’s always nice. We’re referring to tidying up your recordkeeping and digital spaces, revamping your customer experience and priming some important aspects of your business to reach this year’s goals.

That might also mean refreshing your process for training new employees and looking at how to provide continuing education for your current staff. We’ve got some tips about all of this below, and if a little extra help with bookkeeping would free up time for things like that, give us a call: 218-623-6050.

And now, a bit of business spring cleaning:

The TCG Accounting Team’s
“Real World” Business Strategy Note
Upskilling and Reskilling Your Staff
“Teaching is the highest form of understanding.” – Aristotle

The business world changes quickly. Remember way back when the only folks who needed to know typing were secretaries? These days, you must be from another planet if you don’t know how to type. 

Your company can only benefit by upskilling or reskilling your employees – or both. This saves you money, improves retention and recruiting, and boosts productivity… when done right.

Let’s see how:

What’s in it for you, and for them:

One major reason why employees quit their jobs is they see no progress with their current employer. So, they’re bound to appreciate a path that allows them to hone their skills or learn new ones. This shows them you’re invested in them, which makes them more interested and engaged, not to mention more productive. 

And you won’t have to shell out for the costs of continuously outsourcing work, nor for continually hiring. The cost of replacing an employee who leaves a company is about a third of their annual salary, sometimes much more. If you do need new employees, they’re also easier to find if you have a system in place for upskilling. In fact, almost all participants recently told surveys that they thought job training is important, so we know people really do care about this area.

What if I invest all this training in someone and they leave for a better job? They might — that’s always the risk that comes with running any company. Think of it like any other business risk: The right person you want on your team won’t  jump ship the second you’ve given them something.

So, how do you start?

Team effort

Start by securing buy-in from your senior employees, specifically on the skill gaps of your staff. What could the whole team do better or faster, and how do you teach them what they need to know? 

Survey employees about what they feel they’re lacking and where they need to improve. You’ll also get a sense from this survey of which employees might do the most for your organization with a little extra training!

This learning has to be a management-down effort. Employees can’t feel they’re the only ones being asked to learn. With input from your senior staff, reassess jobs and job descriptions to see which skills would be needed now from a manager or employee if they were applying for their job today.

Two sides of the same coin

The distinction between upskilling and reskilling is the difference between improving existing skills and teaching new ones.

Upskilling: Some learnable new skills can naturally expand on what a worker already does. For instance, programmers can learn more languages or more about keeping IT networks running. Marketing folks can always use a course on the latest SEO standards, recommended platforms and best practices. Are your sales folks up to date on your CRM system? What are the gaps between your people’s skills today and when they started? What about where they are now and should be tomorrow? A major part of formal upskilling is never assuming your staff will just pick these skills up on their own.

Reskilling: This involves teaching employees the skills for an entirely new occupation. For instance, your HR professional moves into sales, or your tech people become office managers. Usually, you reskill employees who are looking to change the direction of their careers, or even climb the company ladder. That’s going to take a few one-on-ones after any staff survey. Aptitude and attitude are important. 

Stretch opportunities for your employees. An employee doing work outside their experience and normal job description, with your support, can give you a great idea of their capability to attack new challenges. 

A few more points on that: 

  • Train yourself to look for aptitude. If you think you’ve got administrative assistants with leadership ability, have them run a few meetings and see how they do. Have an IT person who’s exceptional with people? Give them a stint in customer service. You’ll find out quickly who’s looking for change and who appreciates something new on the job. 
  • Where do you get the teachers? Outside sources, such as the local community college or business school, or online learning can all potentially be budget-friendly. Don’t forget about your own management: Assess what they can convey and who’s willing to be a mentor, or even just lead a few classes in your conference room. 
  • Usually, learning – and teaching – opportunities only improve camaraderie and morale in your company. 

Follow up and stay ahead

Survey employees who took you up on getting upskilled or reskilled. What did they learn? What could have been done better? Teaching is a learning process, too. 

And stay on top of your industry’s trends and what you may all have to learn tomorrow. 

Running a business is a constant learning process in and of itself. We’re here to be a support to you, no matter what you need to improve your company.

In your corner,

The TCG Accounting Team