5 Solutions to Upskill Your Leadership Team

BY Syretta Williams
2/4/2021 - HVAC Employment

When I think of training and development of employees, my mind immediately goes to how much of an employee benefit it is to do so. Wrap your mind around that for a moment…do you consider training and development as an employee benefit? If not, consider more deeply what I am about to share with you, that can not only help your organization upskill its current leadership team but also help you to build your bench for leaders to come.

In a recent article that was shared with me, 3 Reasons Providing Employee Education Can Be Better Than a Pay Raise for Distribution Professionals by mdm.com, it points out that according to Gallup, 87% of millennials rate professional or career growth and development opportunities as important to them in a job. That struck me because as a millennial myself, I thought about how important career and development is always at the top of my mind when I am researching my next organization to join. I scour their websites looking for a mention of employee development or tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit because it sends an immediate signal that the organization cares about their employee’s growth and shows their support openly.

During interviews I tend to ask, “What does your organization do to support the growth and development of its employees?”, followed by more probing questions to determine if they have a true process in place or if what I read on the website was simply a carrot to dangle in front candidates. Gauging the level of commitment that organizations make to employees training and development is an interview “must have” for me because it helps me learn if that organization is one that I am willing to invest my time and career with because they are equally invested in helping me grow the skills I am bringing with me and beyond for years to come.

When I kick off HARDI workshops such as those in the Branch Manager Certification Program, I share our HARDI mission and my personal mission statement for training and development referencing these two quotes from Harvey S. Firestone and Zig Ziglar, respectively:

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” and “There’s only one thing worse than training your staff and having them leave, that’s not training them and having them stay.”

I always start off the workshops in this manner because I want to set the stage for the participants to understand that

  • HARDI supports their development by providing resources for each participant to join us in our continued efforts of making distribution the channel of choice
  • their organization and leadership is also supporting their training and development by investing in them to participate and
  • when they complete the program, the charge is on them to pay it forward and train their employees when they return to their branches so that their whole branch can benefit from being developed and create more long-term employees.

The mdm.com article echoes my sentiments by further explaining that when training and development is presented as an employee benefit it can lead to:

  • Career advancement within the organization
  • Organizations see a ROI by meeting five-year-goals or seeing millions of dollars in company savings within months after their employees graduated with expanded skillsets and
  • Employee Retention

These benefits of training employees are not rocket science when you boil it down: show people that you care about them, value them and they are more likely to want to work for you, compensation is only one portion of the reason employees work and oftentimes is not a top motivator at all. Creating a culture of learning, engagement and trust with your employees however is not quite that simple. Figuring out where to start can be challenging. Here are some solutions that HARDI can help you with so that you can upskill your current leadership team and build your bench, taking your B to A players.


Organizational Challenge

HARDI Solution

Lack of clear visibility to your current leadership team’s skill level

Implement a 360 Leadership Performance Assessment program to uncover how leaders fair in 12 competency areas to help identify skill gaps.


The best time of year to do this is during annual performance assessments when development plans are prepared.

Unsure of what resources are available to close the skill gaps

Based on the identified skill gaps from the 360 assessment, each leader can be provided with customized training plans to help close their skill gaps with courses in HEAT.U or other resources.

Uncertain of how to make the training “stick” so that leadership teams practices what they learned and are held accountable

Brainstorm with HARDI for ideas on stretch assignments, rewards and recognition programs to implement at our organization with benchmarks and goals to keep the leadership team accountable.

Unclear as to what tools are useful to build team cohesion while the leader is learning and developing their newly acquired skills

While the Predictive Index is primarily used as a hiring tool to help find the right fit, it also has the capacity to help build teams, develop leaders, improve productivity and drive revenue.

Understanding that succession planning is a good idea but are unsure of how to implement the plan or train the next in line for the “next level”

It is always better to train employees before they get into a role vs promoting them first and then trying to train them on the job. 


Succession planning combined with career pathing, training and development needs for each stop on the path is key. 


Identifying your Emerging Leaders is a good place to start followed by additional training and support to ensure leadership is continuously clear of what they want out of their careers.


At your organization, you may be facing some or all these training and development challenges and may be overwhelmed as to how the switch can be flipped. Do not worry, HARDI is here to help no matter what your obstacles are. Together we can formulate a solution so that your organization can reap the benefits of investing in its employees. To get started, contact me and let’s have a conversation about what you want to tackle first.

For additional assistance on our leadership development programs, contact Syretta Williams.

Syretta-01Syretta Williams
Manager of Training & HR Solutions