Upskilling and training – who in your team is responsible for it?

By Robert Half on 27 August 2018

In an ever-changing business and recruitment landscape, professional development training isn’t a luxury or just a “nice to have”. It’s a necessity.

Training is mutually beneficial for both you and your employer. Investing in upskilling continuously is important to your employer as it helps their business remain competitive. Whereas for employees like you, it can help you to stay relevant in the industry, adaptable and employable.

However finding the time to do training courses or attend seminars can be a challenge without motivation, especially when trying to balance your daily work schedule.

So who is responsible for driving your continuous upskilling and training? Should you be in control of your own career development, should your employer be investing in your growth, or is the best solution a combination of the two?

Why upskilling and training is your employer’s responsibility

For the employer’s side, they can be responsible for your upskilling and training, as doing so will provide them with significant benefits.

A company is only as good as its employees, so for an employer, a business can only be as good as the resources invested in staff. Simply hiring you because you have the right soft skills, followed by a simple onboarding session when you first join the company isn’t enough.

Industries, processes, regulations and technologies change continuously and therefore your skills can rapidly become antiquated. Regular refresher training is necessary to help keep your skills up-to-date. This will allow you to produce the best results you can for your employer. Better training will lead to better customer service, and ultimately, a stronger bottom-line. This will help your employer remain competitive now and in the future.

If you want to do the best in your role, or progress your career, but don’t have the skills or the opportunities to do so, it can be frustrating. After a while, it may impact your morale and cause you to become disengaged. You may even consider looking for a job elsewhere, where they do provide upskilling and training opportunities.

It’s in your employer’s best interests to ensure this doesn’t happen, and to retain you as a trusted and respected employee. Training is a great way to achieve that. Unfortunately though, many employers can still view training as an expense rather than a beneficial investment, especially with a number of companies implementing cost-cutting methods. Although training can cost time and money, it is important for employers to understand that it is well worth it.

Training can come in many different formats and doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up a lot of time. Some options include classroom-led courses, seminars, peer-to-peer training, mentoring programs, lunchtime learning sessions or job rotation.

Why you should take ownership of your upskilling and training

Did you know that according to Deloitte, companies spend a staggering AUD$130 billion on training worldwide? Whilst it would be great to know that every company offered a wonderful training culture and encouraged you to upskill as much as possible, that is not always the case.

Regardless of whether your employer provides upskilling and training, you should still take responsibility for your own learning. After all, personal development is a journey, not a destination and no-one understands your journey as much as you do yourself - so why would you let someone else be in control of it?

Personal development is more than just working on the talents you already have. It’s about developing new skills, so you become even more valuable to a business. By developing your skills, you may be able to seek new and exciting roles in other areas of the business, or be put forward for promotions, potentially with a better salary. If company restructures are on the horizon, being able to show that you’re a self-learner is a positive quality to possess. And if you’re looking for a new job, the new skills you learn will help give you a competitive advantage over other jobseekers.

Upskilling and training can come in many forms. In addition to the methods outlined in the previous section, you could take a course from your local college, search various online courses to do in your spare time, or research industry conferences. You should regularly read relevant articles online to keep up-to-date with industry news. You can learn by watching videos, signing up for webinars, listening to TED talks, reading books, downloading audiobooks and podcasts. There are also lots of LinkedIn and Facebook Groups you could join, to help meet like-minded people and swap knowledge or ask questions.

Whilst there may be a cost associated with some of these training options, there are lots of free learning opportunities available too. If you do find something you want to study but the cost is too high, try speaking to your employer. If you’re able to demonstrate that there is a direct benefit to them as a result of you completing a course, they may be willing to support you. They may even allow you to take time out to complete a course, or attend a conference, without having to dip into your annual leave.

When it comes to training and development, what matters most is that you allow yourself to grow.

That means taking ownership of your own personal development, whilst reaping the benefits of any upskilling and training opportunities that are provided by your employer.

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