What’s a Skill Development Program?
A skill development program is, well, exactly what it sounds like! It’s a program within any organization that’s created to help employees continually develop and sharpen their skills. From beginning to end, a well-built skills development program helps to personalize coaching across their organization, detecting specific skill gaps within each of their reps.
Let’s take a step back, though, and start with the first half of that phrase. What is skill development all by itself? It may be easier to understand with some examples. Skill development is relevant and applicable to both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are the ones that you can learn on YouTube or in a book, or typically in your job’s onboarding. Hard skills include things like Excel, coding, accounting, yoga, and web design. They’re skills that can be improved with hands-on practice! Soft skills are the ones that are a bit harder to measure. Think communication skills, teamwork, time management, stress management—things that are more rooted in personality traits. Don’t worry, though, these skills can be improved too! Now that you know the different types of skill development, let’s talk about why companies need a skill development program.
Why Do Companies Need a Skill Development Program?
Implementing a skill development program at your organization may sound like a huge hurdle. Rolling out a new process, investing in the right software or program, getting everyone onboarded, introductory meetings—phew, that can be a lot of work!. But there are quite a few benefits of skill development that we think you’ll find are extremely worth it.
1. Your products and services change often.
As your organization changes its offerings, so should your reps’ selling and service strategies. Adapting to change, finding new ways to connect with the customer, and staying sharp in deal-closing conversations are all skills that need to be continually worked on. Not only are your products or services changing often, but so are the hard skills that your industry may be built on. From 30,000 feet, the success of your reps and therefore, your bottom line, all comes back to the importance of skill training.
2. Your organization is in an extremely competitive industry.
In the words of Marty Wolf from Big Fat Liar, “This is Hollywood, baby. It’s a dog-eat-dog town. We got cats eatin’ cats. We got fish munchin’ fish.” Sometimes, you may feel like this depending on the industry that you’re in. Coming from the B2B software space, we hear ya. While this may be true, are you still wondering how this translates to the importance of skill training? It all boils down to employees needing to stay sharp. Their soft and hard skill buckets need to not only stay full, but they need to be filled with the freshest water out there, otherwise, it’s easy to fall behind. Not to mention, employees know when they are or aren’t being invested in by their employer. If they think they can learn more, work their way up, and fill their skill buckets faster elsewhere, they’ll make the move quicker than you can say ‘skill development program.’
3. Employees want to feel valued.
If you’ve made it this far and are still asking yourself, “What is the importance of skill development training?” then consider this: Your employees are hungry to grow. They chose you just like you chose them, and they’re eager to learn more, challenge themselves, and develop their skills as an employee. If your sales team is crushing it and closing deal after deal, kudos! That’s hard to do. You and your team have found something that works for your product, industry, and customer. This seems like a good time to revert back to #1 and #2 in this section. Staying on top of the industry means staying ahead. Integrating a skill development program into your organization means providing additional training and development opportunities for your employees before they ask for it, before you fall behind, and before you stop crushing it.