If your business is anything like the majority of UK companies, your workforce probably consists mostly of younger employees. However, these are kept in line by a range of older workers who have been with the firm for a long time, and are therefore able to share their expertise and skills.
Maturity, therefore, can be a valuable asset for a business. However, it is one that is certain to go away at some point as your older employees leave to advance their career or retire. Ideally, you will want most of your workforce to be older, but this is not possible. Most new workers will be younger and need to learn the ropes of your industry.
With this in mind, the future of many companies is uncertain. When all your older workers have moved on or retired, will your remaining workforce be capable of keeping the business going at its current rate of efficiency? If not, you will need to take steps to make sure you don't lose out in a few years' time.
The best solution for this is to make sure your younger workers are trained up as much as possible. This is the opinion of Drew Leitch, managing director of MDT International, who wrote in The Scotsman today (September 3rd) that "industry leaders have a responsibility to equip new recruits with training".
Mr Leitch explained that even among young employees coming from apprenticeships, there is a lack of certain skills. He said: "New industry entrants need training in areas beyond their immediate expertise to equip them with key skills like leadership, communication and negotiation.
"Teachers are equipping our children with the skills to live full and successful lives. It is our duty as employers and parents to ensure the workplace delivers the training they need to be fulfilled at work."
Out-of-office training can often be the best tool at your disposal to give your younger employees the experience you need. If you don't have the facilities to train them up at your own workplace, your best option is going to be to find another venue.
Neglecting this aspect of running a business can be dangerous. Your employees will naturally rely on each other, but you might find that some lean a little bit too much on the expertise of those that have been with the company for a long time. When these older employees leave, the rest of your workforce might find they are not as good at their jobs as you previously thought.
Leadership, communication and negotiation are the three skills Mr Leitch highlighted, partly because these are some of the most neglected. They don't immediately come to mind when thinking of the training your workforce needs because they are not directly related to many businesses.
However, these are the kind of general skills that every company should cultivate among its workforce in order to perform at its absolute best. Training your younger employees up in these skills can really help you prepare for the future.