Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
28 Oct 2010

How to get the most from your workforce - building blocks

28 Oct 2010 • by Changeboard Team

Understanding your business needs and objectives

Having a clear business plan and setting out business objectives and activity is an imperative action for companies in order to understand the direction of the business. Only by setting out the direction of the business, understanding what a business needs and where it needs to get to, and how you can get there can you achieve an alignment of skills of the workforce to fulfil business objectives.

An effective and strategically aligned training, skills or development policy is one of the best tools a business can have and it's important that companies analyse business needs and invest wisely in staff development to ensure they receive a maximum return on their investment.

Know what skills are available in your workforce

By conducting a skills audit you can create a clear picture of what your workforce capabilities are and thus create a successful strategy for your business. By identifying the actual and optimum skills profile of the company, a business can then analyse where the skills of the workforce lie.

Identifying and addressing the current skills and knowledge of the workforce enables a targeted approach to personal development and training.

Evaluate the current performance of your workforce

Imagine you have a team of 8, each of whom you pay £20,000 per year. If they are only performing at 70% of their potential that's £48,000 in wasted salary before you even begin looking at the wider impact on the bottom line.

Lack of knowledge, low motivation and morale can all contribute to a person’s performance however, you are more likely to hold onto your staff and motivate them if you train them and show them worth. The investment in people is the biggest investment you will make and by evaluating the current performance of your workforce you can calculate how much value you could potentially add to your business through investment to improve staff performance. 

Find whats missing and fill the gaps

You need to understand the gaps before you can fill them and this is no easy task. The larger the workforce, the more difficult it is to manage the skills of the whole workforce but by knowing what skills you need to achieve your business objectives will allow you to analyse what is missing and provide flexible cost-effective solutions.

Assessments and objectives allow businesses to assess whether individuals have the skills to achieve their objectives and fulfil their job role. Strategic skills management software can help businesses to do a better job, to focus its energy and to ensure that employees are working toward the same goals. It does this by allowing managers to define job roles, assess the gaps, define the common problem areas, prioritise training needs and define the return on investment relative to the required training investment.

Invest in the skills of your workforce

Employee development is not only vital in improving the operation of a business, but also helps retain key staff.
However many people fear change or the cost of change is too high and often. Companies would rather do nothing, yet the cost of recruitment generally far exceeds that of developing existing employees so it is important that individuals have the flexibility and have multiple skills-sets, which are transferable across a business.

Transferable skills are essential traits of a business able to respond to market changes plus staff will be able to sustain their value. Skills will allow companies to exploit new technologies, new markets and increase opportunities and the greater investment in skills training and qualifications will help bridge the widening skills gap, both within the UK and with our international competitors. It's imperative that we invest the time, effort and money in our people and by investing in the skills of the workforce and make those skills transferable to allow people to become multi specialists.

Benefits of vocational learning

Vocational learning is a fantastic way for employees to learn and develop new skills and for employers; they are one of the most cost-effective ways to train the workforce. As work-based training programmes are tailored to meet the needs of the company they in turn help improve the productivity and profitability of a business as well as being a great way to fill skills gaps in existing workforce. They also ensure that future workforce generations are equipped with the right skills and qualifications to meet current and future business needs.

Increasing productivity & achieving bottom line

Investing in the right specific training can help companies by increasing productivity, reducing operating costs and improving staff morale. It can aid research and development, all of which will help to gain competitive advantage in the global market.

By analysing employee performance and highlighting the key areas in the business where improvements will be most beneficial, companies can then look to deliver the greatest impact to their bottom line.

The future

Companies need to think ahead to the future and what’s around the corner.
Transferring knowledge between employees and capturing the skills and experiences of the older workforce is the first step to improving productivity.

This in turn will help your company embrace new technology and new markets and ultimately new opportunities as well as ensure continued investment in the skills of the existing workforce.