How upskilling your current IT team may benefit the work place
As we rapidly approach the conclusion of another decade, we are fortunate enough to bear witness to the many ways in which technology is reshaping and disrupting the way we do things in society. However, this paradigm shift brings threats of its own with it, and we have already seen a massive spike in cybercrime as a key threat for both the public and private sectors in recent years. This IT landscape, characterised by evolving unpredictability, requires IT professionals who have the necessary skills to deal with the demands of the current digital environment while also maintaining foresight into the future and ensuring their skills adapt accordingly.
As a business owner or someone in a leadership position, the incentive to upskill your IT staff is greater than ever: you give yourself the best possible support now, future-proofing the business at the same time, while simultaneously investing in your staff – which means they are more likely to remain loyal to your organisation as time progresses. In the rest of this article, we are going to look at 7 of the benefits to upskilling your IT team for the workplace of today and the future.
One of the most obvious advantages to upskilling your IT team is the net increase in productivity it will yield in the department as a result of better training, more efficient processes or new tools and software. Furthermore, in such a dynamic industry, upskilling ensures that your staff are up-to-date with the latest and most productive systems or skill-sets – and it also removes the need for them to teach themselves the new methods, which could be distracting and time-consuming.
Concentration of skills within the business
When your team has a multitude of skills within a field as occupationally varied as IT, it lessens the need for your business to rely on external experts or professionals when unique challenges arise. For example, if one of your IT professionals were to complete the Development Professional course at the IT Certification Academy, they would be ready to deal with any problems that pop-up pertaining to the company’s website, eliminating the need for the support of another web developer.
Simply put, when you invest in your people, they feel valued – and they are more likely to value you and the opportunity you provide as an employer in return. The fact that you, as a leader, choose to focus on the development of your employees will make them feel like you see potential in them, and they are more likely to remain loyal to you to develop that potential. Additionally, the mere fact that they are able to develop their skills on the company’s time and money will incentivise them to stay as they will see a clearly outlined future path for themselves within the business.
The correlation between happy employees and happy customers is becoming clearer. When employee engagement – the emotional commitment people have to their employees, which loyal employees exhibit – is high, more conscious effort is put into all facets of their work output which ultimately affects the customer experience. In essence, satisfied employees deliver satisfactory levels of service to your customers, increasing the loyalty of both groups to the company.
Training your current employees with new, better skills is far more financially prudent than hiring a new employee to fill a new role. The costs of training a new employee, familiarising them with company processes and integrating them into the rest of the workforce are incredibly high – for example, this study estimated that the average cost of replacing a midrange position in the US is around 20% of that position’s annual salary. In a job paying R360 000 a year, that’s R72 000 – and this figure doesn’t take into account the losses in productivity that occur while the new trainee adapts to the demands of the job and company culture.
A report by Gallup highlighted how millennials consider the growth potential of their positions as a key priority when hunting for jobs – sometimes, even more so than the salary of the position. As a business, reverse-engineering this insight leads to the conclusion that offering jobs with clear-cut opportunities for progression and promotion is a fool-proof way to attract (and retain) some of the best talent in the field. By emphasising the role a new employee will play, now and in the future, you give them something to stick around for. For example, offering a new staff member the opportunity to study the Networking Elite course after 2 years of employment would attract and retain many job-seekers who value learning opportunities.
We’ve already touched upon the volatile nature of the IT industry in the introduction, as well as new and emerging threats like hacks – which cost SA businesses an average of R36 million per incident and are permanently reshaping the roles and responsibilities of IT departments. By continuously investing in your IT staff, you will ensure they are sufficiently equipped to deal with the multitude of challenges and threats that arise on a daily basis, while also ensuring that your digital systems and processes are always running at the highest possible efficiencies.
The perks of upskilling your IT department include happy customers, loyal, talented employees that want to be working at your business and an organisation that remains current and modern with the latest digital and software innovations. As technology continues to evolve, upskilling will become less of an advantageous opportunity to exploit and more of a mandatory investment to ensure your business is meeting customer expectations and industry standards – getting a head-start now is essential if you want to stay ahead of your competitors.