We are facing an unprecedented skills shortage in the UK, which means that retaining experienced employees is more important than ever. A recent survey by Indeed, association with the BCC, found that employee training ranks second only to pay as a means of retention. So it’s time to get inventive and develop a staff training and development strategy that puts your business head and shoulders above the rest. Here are five innovative ways to go beyond the basics, and take your training programme to the next level.
Train more than just your employees
The Indeed survey revealed that 25% of companies plan to address the skills shortage through recruitment and training, while a larger portion – 30% – will use contractors as a means to plug the gap.
That said, using contractors and investing in training should not be seen as mutually exclusive. A growing number of businesses over in the US are opting to extend their staff training and development provision to those outside the immediate employee base. This includes contractors, apprentices and even attendees of local schools. It’s a long-sighted view that may require an initial outlay, but could pay dividends in the long run.
According to HRDive.com the benefits are three-fold. Firstly, this strategy creates a potential pipeline of workers both now and in the future. Secondly, it develops marketing channels, and thirdly it contributes to companies’ CSR reputation.
Focus on digital skills
Rapid advancements in digital technologies hold endless possibilities for your business. But digital skills are lacking across a number of industries. While ongoing digital training is par for the course in the tech industry, the need for digital skills has seeped into all of our working lives, from how we use company systems to how we conduct ourselves on social media.
The creative and cultural sector is particularly at risk of falling behind the digital curve, according to a recent report by Creative and Cultural Skills. The industry is characterised by low levels of pay, and therefore often faces difficulty in attracting staff. This, coupled with a lack of staff training and development, has resulted in a third of organisations within the sector reporting skills gaps.
Adding courses such as marketing and communication skills, problem-solving skills and social media skills to your staff training and development programme could help future-proof your business.
Try Virtual Reality
VR is making huge waves in the field of employee training and development. Its ability to recreate almost any situation – from a difficult customer conversation to a fire evacuation – makes it a safe, cost-effective alternative to traditional training. It has been successfully applied in a number of industries, from health to finance, and is proving highly effective when it comes to memory recall. Read more about the benefits of virtual reality here.
Be the whole package
The Indeed survey found that, after remuneration and training, flexible working was another key factor in employee retention. Indeed researcher Tara Sinclair said: “Attitudes to work are changing and salary is no longer the only way employers compete to attract and retain workers. Workers today seek work-life balance – searches for ‘flexible’ jobs on Indeed are at a three-year high, suggesting a growing number of jobseekers start their application with job satisfaction in mind.”
So your employee retention strategy should take a holistic view, looking beyond material benefits and towards a culture of learning, development, flexibility and wellbeing. And while you should expect to see a quick return on investment on your staff learning and development strategy, it’s not just about short term gains. Sinclair added: “A tight labour market – where employer demand for staff is outstripping the supply of workers – places greater emphasis on staff retention, but investing in training should not be viewed as a short-term fix to keep hold of the best talent. Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity for employers of all sizes to unlock the long-term potential in their staff.”
Find a great training company
Of course, carefully selecting a trusted training company to support your staff learning and development plan is key to its success. For a wide variety of courses, delivered by experts, look no further than Knight’s Agency. We’ve got a wide range of training courses on offer, and can provide tailored solutions to meet your needs. Call us on 0207 112 8412 to speak to one of our friendly customer service team, or email us via the form below.