How to empower staff for the long-term

31st January 2017 Industry Training Solutions Workplace Training

empowered employees

Empowerment - “The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights” Oxford English Dictionary

As highlighted by Entrepreneur Magazine, empowering your employees makes a difference not only to the individual, but also to your company. More to the point, empowerment is what can turn a languishing long-standing employee into an exemplar of high performance and professionalism.

This leaves one seemingly simple question – how? How do you as an employer empower those members of your staff who have been in your employ longer than most? Recognition of prior learning (or RPL) and upskilling are often overlooked answers to this question.

It’s about the employee

Before we go any further, it is essential that you remember that the beginning and end point here is the employee. In’s opinion, “As management, your employees trust you to make decisions that will positively impact them, but likewise, it is important that employees feel empowered to also make those important business decisions.

The feeling of importance and trust leads to better and more productive work.”

While you are improving their capacity to deliver on KPIs and efficiency expectations, upskilling your staff via RPL is very much about their confidence and motivation in themselves and as an employee.

What is Recognition of Prior Learning?

The Queensland Government defines RPL as such:

“Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is about the skills and knowledge you've gained through work and life experiences.

For example, working in an office could help you get a certificate in business administration. Working on a farm could count towards a qualification in agriculture or mechanics. Working as a volunteer with teenagers may get you a certificate in youth work. RPL applies for both paid and unpaid work.”

In short, whatever your business or industry, it is possible for your employees to potentially attain a relevant qualification in line with the work they have done with you. The extent and type of work will impact this, but it is nevertheless a possibility. Furthermore, as stated before, this could also come from unpaid work that has been done alongside their role or for fun outside of work. While many would see this as a solution focused on the individual, it is just as applicable as a whole business solution; consider the broader, long-term advantages of upskilling staff en mass is superb.

What does it do for the staff member?

Clear path for progression

PayScale, a leading global source of employment data, has discovered that clear plans and paths for progression can make considerable difference in the motivation and satisfaction felt by an employee. And as has been made clear, making upskilling through RPL a component of plans ensures that all staff, new and old, can see that their hard work will pay off.

Reaffirms current role

Whether they have been in the role for months or for years, providing staff with new skills is of great benefit. Upskilling provides each employee the opportunity to reaffirm their capacity to carry out their current role at higher level of efficiency. Furthermore, as state by WorkReady, new skills will also increase their capacity to handle a wider variety of tasks, making their role feel ‘fresh’.

What does it do for you as a business?

New skillsets within the team (at minimal cost)

Upskilling your staff results in employees with new diversified skills sets – giving you greater agility in and around industry changes. Best of all, you can attain this heightened agility at a lower cost courtesy of RPL – which can reduce the overall training cost per staff member considerably  (depending on qualification, prior experience and training provider).

Duty of Care

As we have established so far, RPL can extend beyond the individual and help teams as a whole. In terms of group RPL, it is possible to qualify and reskill an entire team of professionals to a) adapt to changes in the industry, or b) prepare them for new roles during restructuring, buyouts or redundancies. This element of care strengthens your HR position internally and externally, while also ensuring your staff can remain gainfully employed whether they continue with or not.

Establishing New Benchmarks

With empowered staff, equipped with new skills, you can readily establish new benchmarks for both your business and (if you feel so bold) your industry. The Federal Government’s own Productivity Commission has championed the impact training can have on innovation and growth in the workplace. This is your chance to seize upon changes in technology, industry expectations, consumer culture and more.

If you’re ready to empower your employees through upskilling and recognition of prior learning, contact TAFE Queensland today. Our training professionals talk you through a training proposal that matches the needs of your hard working team.

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