The digital disruption is here: How to upskill your staff

- May 24, 2018 3 MIN READ

In our connected world where digital transformation is changing the way we do business, it can be easy for small business owners to fall behind in the wave of disruption. Here’s why upskilling your staff (and yourself) in emerging design and technology skills is important.

We live in a brave new business world of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), where skills in User Experience Design (UX) are essential to drive brand engagement. If your business hopes to have any chance of cut through, employing staff with diverse skill sets should be a priority.

Just as diversity across gender, sexual orientation and age enables a business to grow, so too does employing staff with a range of digital skill sets. The more skills your staff have, the better equipped your business is to face this exciting age of digital disruption.

Upskilling aids growth

Many small businesses fail to have a structure in place to facilitate staff growth. A simple questionnaire, staff meeting or even a casual conversation around the water cooler can help you identify skill gaps. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure your staff receive the training they need, whether that be technical or soft communication skills.

A recent South Australian study suggests upskilling your staff benefits both the business and the workforce. Acquiring new skills provides your team with the opportunity to grow in their role and take on new responsibilities.

From Growth Marketing, to User Experience Design and Augmented Reality Design, the digital literacy required for each role will vary from business to business. As the end of the financial year approaches, there’s no better time to invest in staff training and reap the dividends at tax time.

A skilled staff is a happy staff

Digital disruption is impacting businesses nationwide. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses need to keep up with the right training to bridge the skills gap and empower staff with the right training and knowledge. Recent government data suggests many professions are suffering from an increasing skills deficit, with a particular focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills.

 As CEO of Virgin Australia Richard Branson famously said,“if you take care of your employees, they will take care of you and your clients.” Investing in your staff’s professional skills can aid employee retention rates and create a more productive and happier workplace.

Staff who complete training usually return to work eager to pass on their knowledge. This transference of skills is vital for your business, it energises and revitalises your workplace. Investing in training to fill skills gaps also ensures your business is ready to embrace change. It creates a more agile and responsive workforce and helps your business maintain its edge. However, ensuring your staff have the skills they need is just one part of this process.

Train for tomorrow, not today

As digital natives join the workforce there is also an assumption that new hires will have an inbuilt understanding of how to navigate the tech landscape. Whilst many claim to be social media savvy, a solid understanding of growth and user experience design is a rarity. A quick scan on LinkedIn job boards, reveals tech, analytics, digital and programming skills are in high demand.

As a business leader, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of focusing only on the current skills gaps. It can be beneficial to consider what technical and professional skills your business will require in the near future. A small investment in your staff’s learning now will benefit your business’ future immensely. 

The training you want or the training you need?

It’s important to make sure employee training is aligned with your business’ goals – don’t underestimate the importance of employee buy-in, so don’t immediately reject a request for training if it seems to be a little leftfield. Try to balance the personal and professional and never forget that someone’s hobby may actually be a great additional skill set for your business.

Finally, don’t forget about yourself! A business’ culture leads from its head and the same goes for its attitude to technology and training. If you don’t see value in upskilling your own capabilities, than your employees won’t either. Make sure to include yourself on training days and identify your own skills gaps and seek to get training too.

Have you identified a skills gap in your employees or yourself? Academy Xi offers a range of workshops, team training, part-time and full-time courses that will get your team future-focused.

Academy Xi is offering 20 percent off for KBB readers until June 30See the course on offer here and sign up today to futureproof your business.