How Encouraging Your Employees to Continuously Develop Their Skills Builds Organisational Capability
Building organisational capability requires a change in behaviours, thought processes, and actions. It’s something that can’t be done unless you put the time and effort into encouraging your employees to develop their skills in line with your business priorities.
Why you should encourage your employees to develop their skills in pursuit of building organisational capability
Encouraging your employees to continuously develop their skills is good for your organisation’s overall health in the long-term. We all know that industries change over time, and with that comes change in what skills are useful or needed in the workforce.
This means the capabilities needed to be successful as a business will also change over time to match industry trends. Encouraging skill development within your workforce has a number of benefits to your business, company strategy, and building of organisational capabilities.
- It creates a learning culture. Employees will be more likely to seek out learning for themselves, thus building organisational capability.
- It increases engagement. Having an employer invested in their learning will drive employees’ engagement in their training materials.
- It assists with succession planning activities. You can identify employees who have the right skills and capabilities to be potential leaders. What’s more, employees who actively and enthusiastically seek to improve or learn new skills possess the motivation of emerging leaders.
- It leads to better staff retention. Onboarding is expensive, but taking an active interest in your employee’s professional development encourages them to stay with you longer.
What are the challenges of encouraging employees to develop their skills to build organisational capability?
Of course, simply encouraging your employees to develop their skills is not enough on its own to affect change and build your organisational capabilities. There are a few challenges you might face in trying to encourage continuous skill development in your workforce.
- Lack of clearly defined goals. Your employees need to be clear on what you (and they) want to get out of professional development. Without any goal to work towards, they won’t know what skills to develop, why, or where to start.
- Lack of resources. Employees can’t begin to develop their skills if they aren’t provided the resources they need to learn. Make sure you provide them with the means to start training—whether it’s by providing a learning management system or simply keeping them up to date on the latest courses available on the subject.
- Lack of learning opportunities. There’s no point encouraging learning if your employees are never granted opportunities to actually learn. Remember to provide opportunities for training courses, informal learning, and, most importantly: Time.
If you don’t address these challenges, it will be impossible for your employees to develop the skills needed to meet your organisational capabilities in a meaningful way.
What are the impacts on building organisational capability if you don’t encourage your employees to continuously develop their skills?
Well, for starters: They won’t develop their skills, continuously or otherwise. Not providing your employees with the supportive environment needed to learn will mean a lack of professional development for them, and a lack of met organisational capabilities for you and your company.
The biggest issue to come from lack of skill development will be your business performance. A workforce unversed in the latest skills necessary to keep up with industry trends will fall behind on productivity, affecting your overall business performance. It also means your workplace will be a stressful one, with employees unable to complete their tasks.
It also means your organisation could be open to safety risks. Organisational capabilities aren’t just about skills; they’re also about knowledge of the processes, technologies and systems that allow work to be carried out. If your employees aren’t across the latest standards and protocols, you’ll be opening your business up to security risks and health and safety hazards.
Plus, the expensive stuff: High turnover. Employees want to advance in their careers, but an employer who not only doesn’t provide training opportunities but also seems wholly uninterested in the professional development of their staff is not likely to instil confidence in its workers of upward mobility within the company. Ergo, employees will leave for greener pastures, and you’ll be footing the onboarding bill for their replacements.
And we have to stress that you should be encouraging continuous skill development in your employees. A one-time bout of skill development is useful only once. After that, industry trends move on, technologies change, and those learned capabilities become obsolete once more.
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