Do you run a sports equipment business, collaborating with local manufacturers to sell various sporting goods online? Or perhaps, you run a sports facility with dedicated spaces for football, basketball, archery, and other popular sports? Either way, upskilling your business will help you maximize profits, reach out to new customers and boost brand awareness. But how can you achieve this goal without splurging thousands of dollars?
Before we dive deeper, let’s break down what upskilling is all about. Upskilling is training existing employees to enrich your company with innovative and in-demand skills. Recruitment and selection are time-consuming and expensive processes that most small businesses and startups cannot afford.
In contrast, an affordable and sustainable HR management strategy is upskilling your employees with marketable and industry-relevant skills.
Let’s dive into some affordable and innovative ways to upskill your sports company without further ado.
Encourage Personal Growth & Professional Development
Based on Maslow’s theory on the hierarchy of needs, the desire for self-actualization and intellectual development outweigh all human needs.
Business leaders must leverage their employees’ desire for self-actualization to boost productivity and efficiency. Employers who encourage personal growth and professional development provide the intrinsic motivation employees need to excel and improve.
Organizations that reward their employees for continual learning and academic advancement enjoy remarkable upskilling advantages. The idea is to incentivize personal and professional growth by rewarding employees who pursue higher education and training programs. Such a strategy wouldn’t cost a penny, but it demands mentorship and guiding employees towards meaningful and impactful outlets.
Suppose your marketing department needs leadership skills, advanced digital marketing practices, and original creativity. In that case, consider steering your marketing personnel toward a master’s program specializing in sports marketing to upskill the department. Sports management and marketing are burgeoning academic and career pathways, allowing sports enthusiasts to harness their passion into marketable skills.
Encouraging employees to develop core competencies by pursuing degree programs in sports and athletic management is a highly pragmatic strategy. It will enrich your sports company with relevant skills to manage core operations, such as marketing, supply chain management, and relation-building. The accessibility and flexibility of e-learning programs make this strategy realistically achievable as full-time professionals can balance their jobs and academic pursuits.
Assessing & Addressing Skill Gaps
You cannot upskill your company without identifying and analyzing the skill gaps creating disadvantages for your business.
What skills does your sports company need to leverage emerging technologies and adopt industry trends? Which skillsets can help your company improve customer handling, retention, and buying experiences? Do free resources, coaching, and online certifications align with your upskilling strategy?
Entrepreneurs need to think hard and devise a research-driven upskilling strategy to ensure affordability and positive outcomes.
Start by assessing the skill shortages within each department and craft a plan to overcome these issues.
Suppose you can’t afford to hire financial analysts and need to adopt digitally savvy accounting solutions. In that case, training your accountant through online certifications and on-the-job training is a viable upskilling solution.
Here’s another scenario: your digital marketing strategy is sub-par, resulting in low SEO rankings and website visibility. You can overcome this issue by mandating employees to undertake courses and certifications from the Google Digital Workshop. Google provides a broad host of free-of-charge digital marketing certifications and workshops with in-person and online coaching.
The Grow with Google platform is highly advantageous for small businesses looking to upskill without investing their resources.
Creating Managerial Teams for Coaching & Training
Experience and exposure teach us much more than hours spent bending over textbooks and reading academic papers. Scholarly pursuits are imperative in professional development, but they cannot undermine the significance of mentorship. Businesses can leverage the impact of mentorship to train their employees and elevate their skillsets.
The idea is to form a team of managers and seasoned employees, entrusting them with the coaching and training of young professionals. Each manager can take a group of employees under their wings, monitoring their activities and suggesting improvements. This collaborative learning approach will allow young, inexperienced professionals to benefit from the mentorship of their seasoned, highly-qualified peers.
Managers can guide their mentees toward training opportunities, professional development resources, and skill-based learning avenues.
Scheduling regular brainstorming meetings is another compelling idea for collaborative learning and growth. Staff-led committees and forums are popular strategies to encourage job shadowing and mentorship relations.
Sports companies can also host panel discussions and workshops by inviting pro bono coaches, analysts, and industry experts. It’s wise to create an employee-led committee to encourage inclusivity and allow employees to take control of their professional growth.
Design In-House Training Programs & Workshops
Employers who encourage professional development and provide their employees with learning resources generate goodwill with their workforce. This goodwill set the stage for promising collaborations between the management and employees to design in-house training programs and workshops.
Entrepreneurs can collaborate with managers to design training and professional development programs to address skill shortages. Then, the company must target industry experts, connect with renowned pro bono coaches and build affiliations with universities and sports brands. The goal is to create a panel of collaborators to educate, inspire and encourage employees through training programs and coaching.
Sports companies need to learn the art of leveraging goodwill and building mutually-beneficial relations with industry partners and like-minded associates. Leveraging the power of social media promotion is also crucial to facilitating collaborations with prominent coaches and sports mentors.
Companies can collaborate with universities, community colleges, and e-learning platforms to strike cost-effective deals.
For instance, collaborating with an e-learning platform will enable your employees to pursue certifications and degree programs at reduced costs. But how would an e-learning platform or college benefit from collaborating with a sports company? There are many advantages, for instance, providing feedback on the institution’s skill-based learning programs. Companies can also help e-learning platforms and institutions gain recommendations and referrals from various industries.
Have you considered creating a problem-solving team to encourage on-the-job learning? Action learning has emerged as a promising upskilling strategy for businesses that don’t want to fund training and workshops. The idea is to encourage teams to solve business problems by pooling their talents and skills. Managers can create problem-solving workgroups and promote cognitive development by encouraging employees to develop expertise with research.
Creating new opportunities to learn and grow is another cost-free strategy for upskilling and training young employees. Businesses can encourage learning and improvement by entrusting employees with challenging projects that push them outside their comfort zones.