Over 90% of employers say that transferable skills are a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ priority when hiring staff members. In a period where employees are looking to move into new sectors, or take advantage of skills gaps that are opening up, you may benefit from taking on new staff that have transferable skills from other areas.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some common transferable skills that employees may already have and give advice on how to develop these skills to maximise your team’s productivity.
Which transferable skills should you focus on developing?
Adaptability is the key to success. Learning new skills will enhance your team’s employability should they become job seekers, but it runs deeper than that. The more you invest in your employees and their work experience, the more valuable they become to the business. Building their competencies will take time, but it’s sure to please stakeholders.
Encouraging your team to develop their skill-set is a sure-fire way to support your long-term business goals. While there’s a wide range of skills, both niche and broad, that employees may gain, there are some common ones that you shouldn’t overlook. With that in mind, here are some of the top transferable skills:
Most roles require some level of communication, so this is a great area to focus on for development. Even if your new employee has fewer hard skills that are related to their role and your company, this soft skill can be acquired for almost any previous job.
So that your business can run like clockwork, the departments should be able to quickly and effectively share information. Therefore, ensuring that your team can communicate well both verbally and in written correspondence is essential.
Planning and organisation
Planning and organisation are skills that are applicable in the vast majority of roles. If you’re taking on a new employee who may be lacking specialist knowledge, building on these skills can be a quick and easy way to embed them into their role quickly.
Planning can often be overlooked when developing new skills, but it shouldn’t be. Your team members need to plan their own work and keep themselves organised. While managers will often take the lead in this area, you need every staff member to have their finger on the pulse. This skill includes managing calendars and prioritising the most important tasks when the workload gets heavy.
From baristas to bankers, almost anyone who’s making a living will have to work with others. For this reason, your new employees may already be well equipped to excel in this skill area, whatever their background may be.
Whenever you’re building a successful business, a strong team should always be the foundation. While you need your staff members to work well independently, that doesn’t negate them working as part of the larger company. Ensuring that employees can work well across departments is the first step here. You should aim to create an environment in which all of your staff work effectively with one another to achieve goals. Using additional training here to boost cohesiveness can go a long way.
Independent problem solving
Being able to solve problems quickly and easily is the hallmark of a good employee. When it comes to an employee’s day-to-day tasks, it’s rare that a day will pass that doesn’t require at least some problem solving activities.
This is the same across most industries and roles, meaning that new employees will more than likely already have this transferable skill in their arsenal. Independent problem solving is a highly valuable skill. Each employee should have the ability to work by themselves and deal with issues as they arise. Hone employees skills in this area and keep track of how they apply these skills in the workplace.
Many roles require staff to take on some leadership responsibilities. If staff have any managerial experience, but it’s not within the industry they’ve transitioned into, don’t feel as though you can build on that.
Is there room for progression at your workplace? One of the most beneficial transferable skills that employees can gain is leadership or management skills. You can help cultivate this skill in your staff members by giving each of them the chance to take the lead on projects. Mixing up the core responsibilities could make a big difference.
Interpersonal skills are vital if an employee wants to succeed in any workplace. For that reason, it’s likely that a new employee will already have solid skills in this area. However, this can be a little hard to quantify, so speak to your new staff members and see if they have any good examples of using interpersonal skills in the workplace.
These soft skills like these will significantly help them in the world of work. For example, your team will need exceptional listening skills, excellent verbal communication, and great writing skills. You can enhance these soft skills by having employees engage in active listening and communication workshops. The more they practise these critical skills, the better.
What methods are the most effective for developing transferable skills?
As a business developer, ensuring that building on the transferable skills that new employees have can be vital. Fortunately, there are a few approaches you can take that will help you do just that.
Your team can, and should, learn from each other. Chances are, your team members have skills that they can share as they work together. For that reason, it’s important to encourage employee cross-training.
For example, you could try a mentoring approach. If one team member is great with Excel, you could set up a workshop for them to run. Doing so means that they offer skills while also developing their leadership and communication skills. Training employees in soft skills and hard skills can be an excellent strategy that can pay dividends in the long run.
Learning and development courses
Can you see a spark of talent in a specific employee? If so, take the time to offer them a learning and development opportunity. New employees often look for personal development opportunities when looking into potential employers.
Supporting these individuals as they grow professionally will help your business in the long run. You may want to suggest that they take a course online or attend a class in their spare time.
Upskilling is essential to advancement. Offering your staff advancement opportunities is a savvy way to help them grow their skills. For instance, you may want to give a team member additional leadership duties as a trial for stepping up to a managerial role. Consider the ways that you can support your staff and the options you can open up for them.
Developing the transferable skills the new employees bring into your company is one of the best ways to enhance your business.
Now that you’ve got the details on how you can make this work, why not take the next step? For example, you could look into development courses for your team or find other ways to inspire and motivate them towards success.