Your staff are the most important asset that your company has, and it is imperative to treat them as such. Investing in training your staff and expanding their skill sets can make huge improvements to your business.
Laying the right foundations
Clearly, the minimum you need to offer staff is the training that will allow them to perform their roles. For example, your administration team will need essential computer skills, and your sales team will need a good understanding of your products and services. There are also certain mandatory requirements, such as health and safety training. But beyond these basics, there are benefits to offering non-essential, or ‘added value’ training to your staff.
A clear advantage to offering ongoing training is that it can give you a competitive edge. For instance, salespeople who have received ongoing training to enhance their verbal communication, phone manner, writing skills and negotiation approach will be at an advantage over those who are only given product training and a script.
Who should receive what training?
When deciding on the particular training to offer staff, the key is to identify any skill gaps and also skill shortages. Essentially, you can do this by defining what you want your business to achieve, identifying the skills and knowledge required to do so, and then examining where existing staff fall short of the required expertise. You can do this in a management brainstorming session. There are also a number of online-based skill assessment tools now available at very low cost.
There is also an argument that investing in widespread training can be beneficial for its own sake, turning your business into a learning oriented organisation, where staff are constantly learning new skills across a range of disciplines and applying these to the business.
How much to invest
How much you spend will depend on the type of training you want to offer. Typically, businesses with less than 100 staff spend an average of less than $600 per employee on training every year. Whilst this may sound like a lot of money, particularly for a small business, it is important to keep in mind that training is one of the most significant factors in retaining staff. Even a modest investment in training may go a long way in increasing employee longevity and reducing the costs of recruiting new staff.
But perhaps the best approach is not to view training as a cost but a business investment that will positively contribute to your bottom line.