A view to upskill

Business Leader Columnist Feature - Rob PerksWith the UK currently seeing record levels of employment, there is a real dearth of candidates to fill vacancies.

It’s no wonder then that most businesses are now citing difficulty with recruiting suitably skilled staff as the main thing holding them back from growing their business.

And while, of course, high levels of employment is a good thing, it can make finding the right person for your business a real struggle.

Enticing people away from their current employers is expensive and difficult as they will look to hang onto good people by countering any financial incentive used to entice them away.

It’s the reason why upskilling your staff is so important to business success.

Training and developing your people is motivational for them and encourages them to stay with you and offer a better experience to your customers through increased knowledge and skills.

And while bringing new blood in from time to time keeps the business fresh with new ideas and approaches, developing and promoting your staff to better paid positions motivates both them and other colleagues who can see there are opportunities for progression.

How can your business upskill?

Make sure you have a training plan in place, which can include anything from formal training courses and programmes to on the job training from more experienced staff.

This plan should sit alongside the main strategic plan for the business and sets out what skills will be needed for the business to achieve its strategic aims and objectives.

It will then break down into job roles and describe how any skill gaps will be closed.

Rising the ranks

Getting staff from the ‘shop floor’ to senior management can be difficult, and staff can sometimes be promoted beyond their ability which leads to problems for both the business and the staff member.

However, a combination of training, skills development and on the job appraisals and coaching can bring someone right up through an organisation.

Continuous dialogue between the line manager and the staff member is essential to ensure progress is being made and support, particularly around management of people, is the key to making this happen successfully.

The challenges

Firstly, account must be taken of where staff are in their development and an assessment of their capability and desire to increase their skill set.

If they don’t have the capability and desire, changes in personnel may be necessary. If they do, then finding the right training and method of delivery is the next challenge.

This is likely to mean that time will be needed to undertake the training and SMEs often feel they can’t make that time available. It will, however, be essential if the business is to move forward.


There are a number of fully funded training programmes available to business leaders and their staff.

We can direct businesses to any funded programmes available and help take them through this process and for more information visit www.inspirebiz.co.uk or on 01225 355553.