In the past year, organisations were forced to start working remotely and employees had to adapt to new ways of doing things. Companies had to find ways to ensure that their teams were keeping with the times and had to guarantee the upskilling of their employees. This sped up and highlighted the importance of having a multiskilled workforce.

According to Tamarin Duncan, Head of HR at PaySpace — a leader in online payroll and HR software — one way to achieve this is by looking at the skills that a company has now, comparing the resulting list to the skills they need, and then assessing the skills they are lacking. This gives the organisation a clear idea of specific areas where their workforce needs upskilling. It is also important to ensure that their employees have a safe space where they can feel supported and obtain the necessary skills that they might lack.

Duncan mentions one of a few ways upskilling can be implemented is to ensure that an organisation’s workforce has access to LinkedIn learning. This gives the workforce the ability to learn some of the new skills they need to close the gaps.

Head of Training at PaySpace, Chantal Butner, suggested another way in which they can implement upskilling in the workplace. In this instance, enabling upskilling comes in the form of book reviews. PaySpace has an agreement with a renowned speaker who reads copious amounts of business books. Once a month PaySpace hosts an hour-long session where the highlights of these books are discussed and introduced to the colleagues. Through having these sessions, they are still able to learn new valuable information that they can implement immediately, even if they cannot find the time to read the books themselves. This brings valuable knowledge and information to the teams at PaySpace.

Regular assessments should be carried out by companies to ensure that employees fully understand their roles and that they have the necessary skills to fulfil their duties to their best capacity. These assessments should be used to fill skill gaps. Butner believes that “the only way you will enjoy your job is when you understand the product that you are selling fully”. Duncan agrees with her and adds “when an employee makes their job personal, the dedication and commitment comes far more naturally”.

PaySpace creates a multiskilled workforce from the first day of training. According to Butner, they have gone back to basics and instead of only hiring candidates who already have the necessary skills, they recruit graduates with little to no work experience and train them for their respective roles.

These graduates attend virtual training from eight to five every day, and the next morning they must complete online assessments to assess which skills and training they lack from the previous day. This ensures that they develop their skills as planned.

After the theory has been dealt with, the graduates attend two practical assessments. These practical assessments include working on the PaySpace solutions as if they were fully integrated employees. One of the practical assessments involves working in the call centre, which is a shadow process that encourages knowledge transfer from their seniors. After completion of the two practical assessments, five additional days of training are given to ensure that all their required skills are developed.

Duncan believes that a multiskilled workforce will not only benefit a company because of the multitude of skills, but will facilitate teams that are always willing to learn. For any organisation, a multiskilled team is important to stay productive and to ensure deadlines are met. A dexterous workforce also offers an organisation the opportunity to share responsibilities among teams to balance areas where skills are lacking.

Butner concludes, “when an organisation has a multiskilled team, it creates a high-performance culture which leads to a workforce that is able to easily adapt to change and effortlessly take on new challenges”.

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