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Business Development & Marketing General

Employee training and development benefits business

an employee training sessionBusiness leaders are not the only people in an organisation who should pay attention to increasing their knowledge and expertise.
Everybody who works for the business is important to its continued success and growth, so a programme of ongoing training and continuous development for employees would be a worthwhile investment for the ambitious business.
It is no secret that the UK is suffering from a skills shortage that is already impacting on the ability of companies to recruit the people they need, especially at a time when employment is at its highest level.
While employers might be worried about the cost of investing in their staff who subsequently leave, they should be more worried about not investing in staff who stay.

What are the benefits of employee training and development?

Recruiting to fill a vacancy can be a costly and lengthy process, assuming that there is even someone out there with the desired skills.
There may be someone in the company already who has the potential do the job with some additional training. It may be that this would not take much longer than the recruitment process, and it would have the added advantage of money spent within the business rather than to an outside service. And it can save on expensive and time-consuming recruitment.
It may less risky training up a known person than gambling on whether a new recruit turns out to have the right qualities and soft skills, in addition to their qualifications, to fit into the organisation’s culture.
Training also brings flexibility through staff being able to do other jobs when colleagues are on holiday or off sick. Having several members of staff who can operate plant and machinery or work in different departments can be highly valuable. It can also bring in house work that might be subcontracted such as equipment maintenance, accounts or marketing.
A training programme brings other benefits, in that it ensures staff can see a way of developing their potential and their careers. At the same time, it will ensure that the capabilities of both organisation and people keep pace with new developments in their sector.
Training can help build employees’ confidence, so that they feel able to tackle unexpected developments, such as a customer complaint, professionally and constructively in a way that enhances the company’s reputation.
Confidence in knowledge and skills means employees can make a greater contribution to the benefit of all as does inviting suggestions for new ideas, products or ways of doing things.
The business that invests in its employees gives them self-respect and shows they are valued.  It is more likely to keep them and to be able to benefit from their motivation and contribution.

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Banks, Lenders & Investors Finance General Turnaround

How long will it take to achieve a properly skilled UK workforce?

Skilled Workers K2 Partners Business Blog

The UK’s skills shortages in key sectors like engineering, construction and technology are well known and becoming more pressing in the context of imminent Brexit with its likely impact on the ability to recruit skilled workers both from within and outside the EU.
This weekend it was announced that technology investor Sherry Coutu is launching a new app to link schoolchildren with local employers — in an effort to tackle the skills crisis that is holding growing companies back.
Around 15,000 fast-growing businesses and 500 students are believed to have already signed up to the free service, named Workfinder, which will help schoolchildren to find work experience and to apply for apprenticeships.
Sherry Coutu is the co-founder of the Scale-Up Institute, chair of the Financial Strategy Advisory Group for the University of Cambridge and Founders4Schools, and is a non-executive director for the London Stock Exchange Group and Zoopla.
To be fair, the UK Government has also produced initiatives, firstly setting a target of achieving three million new apprenticeships by 2020, to be paid for by a levy on businesses with a payroll of more than £3 million starting from April 2017.
On Monday, the Prime Minister also launched a consultation, in the form of a Green Paper, marking a proposed new industrial strategy of Government intervention to provide regionally-targeted support for innovation and skills development through high-quality practical skills training relevant to local business needs. Businesses will be consulted on the proposals and the deadline for responses is April 17.

For a properly skilled UK workforce businesses need to get involved

Upskilling to a properly skilled UK workforce will not happen overnight and it needs real, practical, positive contributions from businesses, as well as Government. This highlights a major reason for the lack of skills, businesses expecting to recruit fully trained employees, although they may have a point.
Take this example from London, where a survey from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) revealed that more than a third of London businesses cited the cost, an estimated £15,000 to £24,000 per year, as a disincentive to taking on apprentices, nor had the HR capacity to handle them.
There is also plenty of anecdotal local evidence of the difficulties young people have each year in finding work experience placements.
As automation eliminates more and more blue collar jobs, increasing the need for more highly-skilled workers, we would argue that sitting back and waiting for “someone else” to do something is no longer good enough.
While it is undeniable that businesses cannot grow if they cannot find the skilled people they need, consultations take time the UK doesn’t have.  Businesses can speed things up by being pro-active in encouraging and enthusing young people via work experience and by offering good-quality training now.
And Government needs to play its part by providing appropriate incentives and support as well as understanding that their imposition of a minimum wage promotes automation. We voted for them.

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Business Development & Marketing Finance General

Why do so many SMEs fall short when taking on new employees?

man contemplatingIn the next in our series of August business ideas to ponder at leisure we’re looking at recruitment, induction and staff loyalty.
Generally, employers hope to recruit employees who are already trained, qualified or competent for a position on the grounds that they will become productive more quickly once they start.
However, for some time there has also been complaint from employers that they find new recruits, including graduates, to be weak in basic literacy and numeracy, or people skills, and over time that they are not as loyal or committed as expected.
While recruiting experienced staff is viewed as ideal, most companies want to pay as little as possible and end up employing inexperienced staff.

Training, induction and loyalty

In our view the inexperience of staff is linked to whether or not they are valued. There are however solutions.
Firstly, why not consider taking on people who are younger and less set in their attitudes and investing in training them, not only in skills but also in the business’ ethos and work culture?
Secondly, leaving aside the skills problem for a moment, how much of the loyalty problem is due to an inadequate and often far too short induction process?  Often SMEs pay little attention to these essential underpinnings.
Perhaps they do not really value their employees, nor do they value the time and investment needed to make employees feel truly valued.
This is often characterised by a failure to induct new recruits or even to provide proper support to existing employees. All too often staff feel they are competing with colleagues rather than collaborating with them for their collective benefit.
Arguably paying attention to welcoming, training and helping newcomers to the workforce to settle in will help to make them feel valued and encourage a level of loyalty to the company that has shown an interest in their development and given them a chance.
Lastly, on the subject of loyalty, employers often complain that after they have invested money in training staff who then leave for a better opportunity.  In our view seeing this as money wasted is a too narrow viewpoint, particularly post Brexit. The goodwill generally endures.
If, as seems likely, recruitment from overseas post Brexit becomes severely limited and bureaucratic it has already been said that for the UK to be competitive it needs to upskill its workforce. The lack of home grown skills has been an issue in the UK for some time and the situation will only become more urgent, so investing in the workforce is something every business and employer should consider contributing to for everyone’s eventual benefit sooner rather than later.