The power of upskilling: Why small businesses should budget for skills

- February 14, 2024 3 MIN READ


The job market has never been as competitive as it is right now so attracting and retaining top talent, especially marketing talent, has become a Herculean task, especially for small businesses. While the allure of a brand or a particular position might draw candidates in, it’s the commitment to their long-term growth and development that keeps them engaged and loyal writes Suzanne Murphy founder of Exhale Moments.

This is especially true for the Millennial and Gen Z workforce. To stand out as an employer of choice, small businesses must embrace a transformative concept and the allocation of a small budget for upskilling is key.

The Attraction and Retention Imperative:

Attracting and retaining key staff, especially marketing specialists, is not merely about providing a job; it’s about offering a career with a brand they can align with.  In a world where the career trajectory of an employee can change significantly in just a few years, employers must show that they are committed to their team’s ongoing development in the field as much as they are to their brand growth as the two succeed together.

Small Businesses need a big brand vision:

Allocating a budget for upskilling signals that your small business has a big vision for its brand and team. It communicates that you are invested in nurturing your employees’ potential and aligning with their career progression goals. This is particularly significant for the Millennial and Gen Z workforce, which places a high value on personal and professional development, being valued and making an impact.

The Benefits Are Multifaceted:

Enhanced Retention: When employees perceive that their employer is willing to invest in their growth, they are more likely to stay. This boosts retention rates and reduces recruitment costs.

Increased Productivity: Upskilling equips your team with the tools and knowledge to excel in their roles. As they grow, so does the business’s efficiency and productivity.

Innovation and Adaptability: Continuous learning fosters a culture of innovation. Your team stays ahead of industry trends, bringing fresh ideas, creative solutions, and consumer insights to the table.

Here’s how you can get started:

Develop Your Simplified Brand Strategy: This is your roadmap to growth and should include your vision, value proposition, brand values and target customer persona.  From there a marketing strategy will match your brand strategy with the needs, wants and behaviours of your customer and how to reach them, inspire them and engage with them.

Assess the Needs: Now you know your growth roadmap, identify the skills and knowledge areas that your team needs, to implement the strategy.  This should include your current team and would benefit your team and align with your business goals.

Create a Training Plan: Develop a plan for upskilling, which includes workshops, possibly a coach or mentor and access to online learning platforms.

Allocate a Budget: Dedicate a portion of your budget specifically for upskilling. This investment will yield long-term dividends and ensure your strategy is implemented for the best results.

Support Personal Development Plans: Encourage employees to set and pursue their personal development goals. Provide resources and mentorship to help them succeed.

Measure the Impact: Regularly assess the impact of your upskilling initiatives on employee satisfaction, performance, and the overall success of your business.

A Competitive Edge:

In a world where attracting and retaining talent is a competitive battlefield, small businesses can gain a significant advantage by being champions of employee growth and development. A budget allocation for upskilling isn’t just an expense; it’s an investment in your team and your brand’s future success. It transforms your workplace into a hub of innovation and professional growth, and it’s a beacon that attracts the best and brightest to join and stay.

By showing that you value your team’s development, align with their career aspirations, and support their learning and growth, you’ll build a workforce that is not just skilled but deeply committed to your business’s long-term success. In this way, upskilling becomes what sets your small business apart and propels it to new heights.

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Now read this

5 reasons upskilling your staff makes good business sense



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