Sunday 07, May 2017 by Jessica Combes

Upskill rather than downsize in a challenging economic climate


In today’s challenging global economic climate, businesses around the world, and here in the UAE, are having to make some tough decisions, where downsizing and reducing staff costs is often seen as the best short-term solution, according to Hazel Jackson, CEO of Dubai-based Biz Group.


However, training and upskilling staff rather than reducing numbers can be a more cost-effective solution in the long term. Opportunities to develop their skill sets is something employees, particularly in the UAE, are receptive to, according to a 2016 YouGov survey, which revealed that 51 per cent of the UAE’s workforce believe training and heightened learning opportunities are key to their futures and their desire to remain with an organisation.


“Investing in people and training staff can strengthen a company’s ability to face down tough financial challenges and put it in a stronger position when the market recovers. Providing staff with on-the-job training broadens individual skill sets, enhances essential product and industry knowledge whilst improving leadership skills within an organisation,” said Jackson.


Strong leadership skills are crucial in the ever-evolving UAE business landscape and Biz Group specialises in tailoring training to improve the technique of key decision makers.


Customer service and sales training are also common requests we receive from businesses in the UAE. Our programmes are designed to help organisations improve the front line of their business,” added Jackson.


However, while training has many benefits for firms it has become something of a buzzword in the 21st century business environment with many companies believing they are being progressive just by hosting training sessions without knowing exactly what they want to achieve from it. Organisations thinking of implementing in-house training must first fully understand exactly what they want, what is the endgame of the training and have a realistic view on their return on investment (ROI), according to Patti Phillips, CEO and President of the ROI Institute, during a recent Trends Breakfast in Dubai. Phillips was in Dubai to advise on how firms can calculate the ROI on training they provide for their staff.


According to a report by the Engagement Institute, disengaged workers cost businesses in the US between $450 billion and $550 billion annually, while only a third of employees worldwide are fully engaged in their work, which highlights the need to identify the right training.


Clarify the ‘why’. Training for training’s sake does not pay off. Training with a purpose does. That purpose should be aligned with the business needs. Then they should address the performance gaps, identify solutions, determine learning needs, and the best way to implement the programme.  Too often, someone decides on a programme before even knowing the problem or opportunity,” Phillips said.


Mention the word training and many employees might look on in horror at the thought of hours, days and weeks in a training room. But as world continues to evolve at a rapid pace, training professionals have had to adapt.


Biz Group has crafted a range of more concise training modules, and with Ramadan on the horizon and shorter working hours, it could be time to invest in people.


From sessions in Culture and Engagement, Leadership, Motivation and Feedback and more, the bite-sized four-hour sessions will provide organisations with an opportunity to grow and develop teams to maintain high levels of productivity despite shorter hours.




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