Upskilling your IT team is about more than just providing training; it’s about helping employees grow personally and professionally. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t do an excellent job at this because they focus too much on short-term results instead of investing in the future success of their workforce. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve your team’s skill set. The key is finding ways to get the correct information into the hands of the right people so they can use it effectively.
The following guide provides tips and strategies for improving your company’s ability to train and develop its workforce. We’ll start by looking at why upskilling matters and then dive into specific steps you can take to implement practical skills development programs.
Why Is Upskilling Your IT Team Important?
That technology keeps transforming is no secret. And the sooner you learn about and harness new technologies as they emerge, the more competitive edge you’d gain. For instance, cloud computing is still a relatively new field, but it has already made significant strides in disrupting traditional data centers. Yet, not many organizations have fully embraced cloud services yet. So if you move quickly to upskill your IT team with such a technology ahead of your competitors, you’d be able to reap the benefits before everyone else.
Here are a few more reasons upskilling your IT team is the best decision you can make:
- You gain a competitive advantage. Upskilling your IT team means unlocking their potential to become experts in emerging technologies. This gives you a leg up over your competition, who might not have the same level of expertise**.**
- It helps retain top talent. If you’re struggling to attract and retain talented workers, offering them opportunities to expand their knowledge base could be one way to boost retention rates.
- It boosts productivity. When you upskill your team, you give them the opportunity to work smarter, which ultimately leads to higher levels of productivity.
- It builds stronger teams. To make a strong team, you must give everyone a chance to succeed. One way to do this is to ensure all team members have access to the latest tools and techniques.
How Can You Improve Training Programs for Upskilling Your IT Team?
If you want to upskill your IT staff, there are several things you need to consider first. Here are three key areas where you can begin to improve your training programs:
1. Ensure You Have the Right Tools
Training programs should meet the needs of each employee. That means everyone in your organization should have access to the best training materials, whether online courses, videos, books, or anything in between.
For instance, LinkedIn Learning Hub is an excellent online learning platform that allows employees to complete self-paced courses anytime, anywhere. It also offers a library of valuable content that employees can access from any device. You can buy it for your whole company to enhance their skills in trending technologies like cloud computing, data science, networking, security, and more.
Another invaluable online skills-building hub is Microsoft Learn. It offers IT teams an opportunity to learn at the convenience of their schedules and become certified on various industry-recognized Microsoft certifications. With its vast collection of free resources, including video tutorials, eBooks, and interactive labs, you’ll never run out of ways to keep your team sharp.
2. Focus on What Really Matters
When designing your training program, ensure you focus on what will help your employees perform better. Some of the most common mistakes companies make when creating training programs include:
- Focusing only on technical skills. While it’s true that tech skills are critical to being successful in today’s workplace, it’s equally important to develop soft skills like communication, leadership, and problem-solving. These skills are just as essential as technical ones.
- Not providing enough hands-on experience. Employees often feel uncomfortable taking risks when trying something new. To overcome this fear, provide them with real-world experiences to practice their new skills without risking failure.
Here are a few ways to focus on what really matters while attempting to upskill your IT teams:
- Make sure your training programs are relevant to your business goals. Your training programs should address current trends and challenges within your business. For example, if you’re looking to increase retention rates among your sales team, you might design a course around using social media effectively to boost brand awareness and drive sales.
- Provide opportunities for employees to apply what they’ve learned. When developing your training programs, think about how you can use them to teach employees how to solve problems and resolve conflicts. This will allow them to gain confidence in themselves and others.
3. Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Your employees will not retain information if they don’t understand its importance. Therefore, to create a culture of continuous improvement, you must first identify the gaps in your current training programs. Then, you must work together to design solutions that address these gaps.
The best way to do this is by using a gap analysis tool. Gap analysis tools are designed to help organizations identify gaps between what they’re doing now and what they want to do in the future. Once you have identified the gaps, you can brainstorm ideas for how to fill those gaps.
But besides identifying and filling gaps, you also need to embrace ongoing training and support. As we mentioned earlier, technologies keep changing every often, and the only way to keep up is through continual learning.
You want to partner with a reliable technology solutions provider to help your team stay current on all things digital. For instance, third-party IT experts can provide profound guidance on critical technologies that your in-house team might not have the bandwidth to explore. We’re talking about implementing a functional cloud computing strategy and providing ongoing training on digital transformation, security, and compliance to help teams become more efficient and productive.
Agile IT Is Your Partner in Digital Transformation
IT professionals are highly on-demand; unless you invest in upskilling your team, you could lose out on valuable talent. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you want to invest in the right tools like online learning resources and interactive labs. You also want to focus on what matters by providing relevant training for employees to practice their skills. Last but not least, focus on what really matters - creating a culture of continuous improvement and investing in your people.
Agile Advisor provides strategic cloud guidance and tactical workshops to guide your IT teams in digital transformation, security, and compliance. To find out more about how we can help your team expand and deepen their skill set in the Microsoft cloud, request a quote.