Training: Secret to business success?
Market economics indicates that the thin line between success and failure of a business entire depends on how efficiently, the overheads, especially the largest cost, i.e. manpower is managed. It is therefore no surprise that organizations today expect their employees to be at their productive best and are working with them to instill self-service analyics when it comes to self-service visual discovery.
Consider Star Health and Allied Insurance - a leading player in the Indian private insurance sector which was facing a tough time generating reports around claims and product development. The primary challenge was the dependence on an external vendor which made the analytics and reporting process slower, and costlier. After deliberations with multiple stakeholders, Star Health adopted a new solution personifying self-service analytics, offering the ability to generate reports internally without vendor dependency. Today over 400 employees interact and view the reports generated inhouse leading to reduction in report generation time to one tenth of original and also this has also reduced its expenses considerably.
Data and analytics plays a crucial role in making accurate, informed and timely decisions. Professional networking giant, LinkedIn recently published their annual list of the most sought-after skills employers are looking for in 2017. Amongst the skills noted, it was great to see data analytics take the spotlight, with statistical analysis and data mining holding strong again this year at #2, and for the first time ever – data presentations, which is visualizing data, making the list in the #8 spot.
A rising economy, rapid urbanization, proliferating bandwidth connectivity along with digitization initiatives like Digital India are leading an upsurge in the amount of data being generated by business. Considering the push to boost innovation across industries – in particular, through better understanding of data - it’s no surprise that the demand for data analytics skills is as high as ever.
So what does this mean for the future of employment?
It’s a reminder that, in today’s competitive business environment, talent retention and career progression go hand in hand with business success. Indeed, people are an organisation’s most valued asset. a comprehensive training or fast-track development programme is indeed the way to instill an engaged and thriving workforce.
When it comes to training, organisations should ensure they are offering the latest technology and most relevant skills. Looking at the LinkedIn results, and specifically at stastical analysis and data mining, there are a number of ways to train and equip employees in this area.
Here are four key points I’ve found helpful for fostering employee development and improving staff retention:
Employees with adaptable and collaborative working environments tend to be more productive and efficient with their work. The same thought can be applied to internal training through providing cross-department opportunities. For example, bringing the marketing team alongside the sales team to learn about latest negotiation techniques. Or sharing new technology tools across departments so that teams understand the ultimate benefits to the business.
This allows employees to improve their proficiency levels within their role and outside of their current responsibilities. Additionally, it can motivate employees to learn how processes work throughout the business, from start to finish and how they contribute to the final results.
Source external experts to come into the office and deliver a workshop on a current industry trend. You might not always have the people available internally; which is why looking beyond the four walls of your office provides a great opportunity to explore new and diverse subjects.
In our company, we have monthly meetings where we bring together the entire APAC business. During these meetings, we invite a diverse range of external experts – from business partners to NGOs, sharing key learnings and presenting examples of how data analytics is supporting their work. Employees walk away with a fresh perspective that helps them tackle challenges and develop new ideas.
It’s no secret that small businesses don’t have a lot of resources to pour huge sums of funding into training. In-person training will always remain a preferable method of employee training; however online solutions via videos, webinars and whitepapers are an effective way of up-skilling employees.
Take data analytics skills as an example. There are a number of online training videos and courses that allow empoloyees to learn at their own pace, and then apply that learing to their day to day work.
Some great resources are online learning platforms such as Simplilearn, Lynda.com and Pluralsight which offer a number of tech and data analytics courses and at varying levels of expertise.
When resources are tight, it’s important for employers to be flexible in their approach to training. This means being aware of the latest online training tools and giving options to employees so they can learn at their own pace and at a time when it’s convenient.
Keep training relevant
This may seem obvious but providing training that is relevant to not just the role but to the broader industry landscape is vital for the continuing success of your business. Matching skills and jobs has become a high-priority for many businesses which now recognise that skills are a critical asset for employee motivation and retention.
What does this mean for employers? Ensure you are aware of what’s happening in your industry – the latest trends, research and developments – so that you bring bigger picture thinking to the kind of training you offer. With this perspective, you’ll be well placed to offer the most relevant training to employees.
There will always be new competitors and innovations popping up. The latest LinkedIn report shows us that, to stay ahead, employers should be asking if they are skilling up employees with the most relevant and consistent training. To those that think of training as a ‘nice to have’ incentive, think again. In today’s business environment, ignoring the development of important skills now could mean losing out tomorrow.