Technology is in a constant state of flux, with new technologies coming out regularly. As a business, this can be concerning when you have invested money to train your IT staff. To keep employees up-to-date with the latest technologies, organizations need to make efforts to future proof their workforce and their training investment.
Future proofing is the act of anticipating the changes that will come in the IT industry and implementing measures to reduce the shock these changes will induce. One way to future proof is to pursue upskilling for your existing IT team. Upskilling is using organizational resources to teach existing employees new skills that will be needed or useful in the future. To keep your IT and your company relevant, you must make sure your team has the right digital skills to keep pushing the organization forward.
IT managers face many challenges in today’s environment. Not only do they have to cope with technology that is changing rapidly, but they also have to deal with a changing workforce. Many organizations are adopting a workforce with remote workers and employees spread across numerous offices. Additionally, budgets are often limited to providing additional IT training courses and development to existing staff. Despite these challenges, making a conscious effort in future proofing your IT training investment can save the organization money in the long run.
Keeping your employees well trained in the latest techniques and technologies helps your organization keep its competitiveness in the market. If other organizations do not put the same emphasis on future proofing their investments, they will be lacking as the industry changes around them. This will allow your organization to continue moving full steam ahead without falling behind the trends.
There are significant costs involved in hiring new employees. It is estimated that it cost over $4100 to hire a new employee. Therefore, it is more cost-effective to pursue training existing employees in new skills rather than investing in finding and hiring new employees with the existing skill sets your organization requires. Focusing on training existing employees also makes sure that there is a minimum standard of knowledge and that employees have the exact skills that are required.
When an organization opts for training their existing employees and giving them opportunities for professional development, employee engagement often increases. Additionally, employee satisfaction can increase as they feel valued by the organization. Pursuing opportunities to improve their skill set in their spare time may be challenging, so when an employer provides these opportunities employees tend to reciprocate positively.
Giving existing employees the opportunity to continue learning new skills that will keep them competitive in the ever-changing IT industry can help retain employees. This, in turn, helps protect your IT training investment. As an organization, you have already invested heavily in getting your employees at their current level of training. Not only have you provided traditional training, but for many, you have provided years of on-the-job training as well. When an employee leaves, this effort disappears and the process must begin again. Therefore, you want to entice employees to stay with the company to protect the investment you have made in them.
Future proofing your IT training investment requires adopting a culture of continuous learning, encouraging employees to build on their existing skill sets. There are several different ways an organization can do this.
One way is to offer a tuition reimbursement program where the organization pays a certain percentage, if not all, of the tuition for a formal certificate program from a certified institution. However, this can get expensive for the organization. Therefore, another way of encouraging continuous learning amongst employees is to offer in-house training courses as well as webinars. In-house training allows employees to learn new skills in a hands-on manner while webinars allow employees to learn at their own pace when they are available. Webinars are a useful tool for future proofing as they can reach many employees simultaneously, even across numerous office locations.
The whole point of future proofing your investment is to hedge against the stress and shock that will come to your IT department as technology continues to change and business becomes more digital in nature. Starting early can help your employees become well-versed in new technologies quickly, minimizing any impact new technology will bring. In other words, the earlier you start, the more advantage you give yourself. By focusing on future proofing, upskilling, and a culture of continuous learning you can give your organization the strong footing it needs to move into the future.
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