Training offers more than just improved skills
For the budget-conscious small business, training isn’t always a priority when it comes to dividing up the company purse.
Many financial directors tend to question the cost of team development when considerations like company promotion and retaining clients are also competing for attention.
But underestimating the value of training can be an unwise choice for SMEs – a lack of training often results in team members themselves feeling undervalued and the benefits of a good training structure are clear.
According to Business Link, the British national business advice service, investing in team members’ skills provides a tangible return across a number of areas.
The organization says that investing in training and development can result in increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction and motivated team members.
Among the various training schemes available, some of the most innovative and effective focus on team members’ personal growth.
Personal growth training encourages team members to develop personally, and then apply their skills in the professional environment.
Such schemes range from supporting a team member in pursuing a work-related interest to teaching them budget management skills.
Dave Koch, president and CEO of Fiber Network Solutions Inc, a US-based Internet provider, has implemented personal growth training in his firm – and reaped the benefits.
Koch uses a program which combines education in goal setting, time management, personal finance and problem solving, as reported by American business journal, Business First.
At the same time, he has invested in team members on an individual level, helping them with difficulties such as their personal budget, with the intention that they then apply the relevant skills to their work, too.
And the result? “To my knowledge, we're the only tier one provider that has a business model that makes money," says Koch.
And the value of personal growth training isn’t restricted to boosting a business’ bottom line.
According to Joan Berry Kalamas, a US-based management expert, personal growth training can lift team morale, improve loyalty and increase retention rates.
“You’re building good relationships and goodwill and extending learning opportunities that your employees wouldn’t normally have,” she says.
Once a small business has decided to invest in training its team members, there are a number of options available.
Online training is one of the most flexible ways for a team to refine its skills.
What is most attractive about Internet-based training is that SMEs can choose from an array of courses, and allow team members to learn at their own pace.
And for those companies’ whose resources may not stretch to engaging outside help, training can also be conducted effectively and sometimes at less cost in-house.
Small business website entrepreneur.com offers some suggestions for starting a training program at your company.
After assessing their current training, SMEs should identify specific training goals, says the site.
This way, companies will avoid spending money on areas in which they already have a training structure.
Firms can also further enhance their training by taking advantage of one of their most important resources – their team members.
“If you have any stand-out employees, enlist their aid in training others,” advises entrepreneur.com.
“And if they are going to be training others, it might help to send them to training themselves.”
In this way, training can become an established operating procedure.
And finally, remember that whatever the nature of the in-house training, simplicity is the key.
“The task may seem overwhelming, but on-the-job training is really 4 steps,” says entrepreneur.com. “Tell, show, do and follow-up.”
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