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How teaching new skills to Utah workers can help businesses

When the coronavirus response began, training employees became a top priority, especially for businesses that had to produce items such as masks or other protective equipment.

Then, as the crisis evolved, companies seemed to go in two different directions: some resorted back to the status quo, while others were still invested in teaching employees new skills. No matter where you fall, there are some who believe that education at work should still top the list.

Utah Business featured an article written by Sarah Danzl, who leads client advocacy and communications at educational tech company Degreed. She points out that companies who have a robust training and development program are helping employees advance while also retaining them.

The pace of change dictates more learning

Danzl cites a stat early in in her article that is quite telling. She notes that in a Degreed survey of employees, 46% of the respondents believed their current skills are becoming obsolete. In addition, six in 10 workers feel a greater need to add new skills.

She believes that all businesses should consider learning programs for employees, as it can be linked directly with a company’s business strategy and create value overall. She used her own company as an example, saying that she and her nine team employees — who are spread out globally — are always working on new skills.

“It’s become ever-more vital during COVID because our business and specialties are changing quickly, “ she writes. “We haven’t seen each other in more than a year, and our team is located around the world.”

Among the techniques that Danzl recommends is to host outside people at your business for mutual learning opportunities.

“At the team level, we host a co-worker from another business unit once a month to learn about their work and team,” Danzl writes. “I recently hosted an outside consultant for a series of weekly meetings in which we brainstormed strategies for becoming more aligned among ourselves and practicing saying ‘no.’ ”

Leading the way in training employees

What Degreed’s leaders do goes beyond what you may expect. Danzl said that the company gives each employee $100 a month to use for some time of educational training. She said that her team members have learned about data science, leadership, critical conversations and SEO as part of this allowance.

And, it is leaders that should be the catalyst for the idea of re-skilling, according to Danzl. She cites a 2019 study by the research company Gartner, which showed that managers who have development programs in place boost employee performance by 25%.

She does note, though, that building a culture where new skills are taught does take time to develop, but there’s no time like the present to get started.

“Getting managers involved is a hurdle, but that is a challenge not a roadblock,” she writes. “If you’re up-skilling all the time, that’s being prepared. Helping people be the most well-rounded they can is how we will stay ahead of disruption.”

Danzl even invoked some time from her past as a Girl Scout, quoting this passage from their handbook: “A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency.”

SBA loans empower Utah businesses

From workplace culture to thoughts of potential expansion, the owners of small businesses have a full plate when it comes to business concerns. First Utah Bank can help small and emerging companies with certain business needs via loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

First Utah Bank is the preferred lender for SBA loans in the state and we have a department dedicated to this type of loan. Our SBA specialists can help you navigate the details of each type, which are an option for business owners where traditional or conventional bank financing is hard to obtain or isn’t available.

Among the approved uses for an SBA loan include:

  • Buying or building an owner-occupied commercial building
  • Adding to working capital (a term loan or line of credit
  • Refinancing debt that is maturing
  • Starting expenses for a franchise or a new business
  • Financing exports
  • Consolidating debt to bring in more money
  • Expanding or refurbishing facilities in order to modernize them
  • Buying an existing business
  • Purchasing inventory or receivables
  • Managing cash flow during peak buying seasons
  • Buying machinery, fixtures and equipment
  • Money for leasehold improvements

As your business in Utah continues to grow, know that you have First Bank Utah on your side to help along the way, whether it’s as an SBA lender or with any other banking need. Find out more about what we have to offer on our website, or call us at 801-308-2265.