The ever-evolving business world is full of consistent advancements, market shifts and new trends that are essential to keep up with, making upskilling a luxury that not all can afford.
So how can businesses with limited budgets provide employees with the chance to learn new skills?
In this article, we will offer guidance on how business owners can upskill their workforce without unnecessary financial burdens.
1. Identify the Skill Gaps First
Before planning or investing, you must understand the playing field to develop a plan of action.
Understand your team’s competencies and look at areas where they lack skills.
This can be done by testing and analysing your team to determine what training is required to move your business forward.
When you’ve completed the analysis, you will be able to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your teams.
This can be used to figure out exactly what kind of tailored programs you can offer to your staff and to avoid wasting resources on training staff in competencies they have already mastered.
2. Leverage Digital Learning Platforms
Another wise and cost-effective option for businesses is to use online and digital learning platforms.
So many courses are now offered online.
These platforms offer various courses, including those specifically designed for businesses like the Bachelor of Business to the Master of Business Administration online.
While online courses also tend to be more cost-effective, they also allow students to study at their own pace and provide more resources than offline systems.
There are platforms that also permit businesses to create customised courses tailored to the skills and knowledge of their organisations.
This ability to tailor your courses makes it easier and more accessible to enhance the skill set of your employees.
3. Utilise In-House Experts in Your Organisation
No one understands your business better than those who work within it daily, therefore tapping into these experts can be advantageous.
It not only saves costs on training, but it also fosters a culture of knowledge sharing within an organisation.
Here are some of the methods that you can use to foster growth through in-house expertise:
Mentoring and Coaching Programs
Implementing mentoring and coaching programs is when experienced staff members spend time training newer, less experienced staff members.
The best thing about it is that it can be relatively cost-effective, but also the knowledge will be precisely detailed to your organisation as those with first-hand knowledge are teaching it.
If it’s possible, you should look at coaching or mentoring programs before you try anything else, as it’s the most efficient way to improve knowledge.
These coaching programs can be strategically developed to offer guidance for career growth or hone in on certain skills lacking in your organisation.
It can be as broad or as detailed as you want it to be, which is the beauty of this method.
Job Rotation and Cross-Training Opportunities
If you’ve already explored mentoring, another great way to improve the skillset of your organisation is to provide job rotation or cross-training opportunities.
This is when you get employees to swap jobs and positions so they can better gain experience first-hand.
It’s not only great as a learning tool, but when you improve the skillset of employees you’ll be able to handle situations when staff leave or have emergencies.
4. Collaborate and Take Advantage of Networks in Your Industry
Another way you can enrich the knowledge base of your networks is by collaborating with outside organisations and networks.
Most niches have outside groups where experts in their respective fields can gather, which is no different for most businesses.
These associations can often open your mind to the wider scope of the industry as well as link you to training resources.
If you’re looking for specific courses, you should consider researching courses offered; generally, they will be relatively inexpensive or discounted for members.
Spend some time to ensure that they align with your needs and are relevant.
If you find the right type of training, it can be beneficial to you and your employees.
Aside from associations, formal and informal networks can offer various insights that can help you develop skills for your niche.
These do require some more participation because you’ll likely need to leverage individuals outside of typical channels.
However the insight shared or opportunities offered may be valuable, so take notice of these steps.
5. Tap Into Government Initiatives That Support Upskilling
Today, many governments are focused on investing in the workforce and have many programs directed at assisting in this.
If you can keep an eye out for particular initiatives and grants funded by the government, you can start lowering the cost of training your employees.
Let’s take a look at some of these initiatives:
Government-Supported Education Programs
When a government sees gaps in the market or skills that the country needs, it usually collaborates with experts to design subsidised programs to fill these gaps.
Most of these programs are subsidised, which makes them more affordable for individuals and businesses.
You should examine opportunities in your field and see if any government initiatives are based in those niches. It can save you a lot in the long run.
Grants for Industry Specific Employee Training
While you can find some courses that are subsidised, another option to consider is looking at grants that are designed to encourage employee training and upskilling in certain industries.
This also happens when expected demand occurs in certain areas, and governments usually jump in to support.
So, no matter whether you need to upgrade skills, develop new ones or acquire general knowledge, you should take some time to discover how they can benefit your business.
Navigating and Maximising Government Programs
If you want to leverage these programs effectively, you will first need to be certain they are relevant and make sure you fill out any paperwork necessary.
Thoroughly research and get familiar with all the requirements before the application, and keep track of deadlines so you don’t miss out on anything.
These could propel your business to the next level, so make sure you do it correctly.
For other options in Australia, we shared understanding the different types of financial services for businesses in Australia
Almost every business out there has room to enhance the skills of its existing staff, and those who haven’t could at least do with some regular updates.
Getting this done in a cost-effective manner might require thinking and resourcefulness, but it is possible.
By identifying where skills are lacking and spending some time searching for resources, you can easily achieve a high level of industry literacy with minimal cash investments.
This is a great way to invest in your company and, when done intelligently, can multiply your productivity and cash flow.
This article is part of our business series. To see more, check out:
How to start a business for under $100
How to make sure your business is making money
Securing your business premise in 5 steps
How to bring more people into your store
Tips to run your warehouse like a tight ship