Staff training can transform your business
According to a recent survey, a third of employers claim that deficient skills among their staff result in higher operating costs, orders being lost and new product development being delayed.
So how could you take advantage of training: firstly to help prevent damage to your bottom line, and ultimately to really benefit your business?
Beyond the basics
Clearly, the minimum you need to offer staff is the training to make them competent to perform the job. 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 provide a competitive edge. For instance, salespeople who are highly qualified with skills in telephone techniques, writing proposals and negotiating will be at an advantage over those who are only given product training and a script.
When deciding on the particular training to offer staff, the key is to identify any ‘skill gaps’. 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 organisation’. Where staff are constantly learning new skills across a range of disciplines and applying these to the business, you should see greater dynamism, innovation and motivation.
Costs and funding
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 singularly one of the most significant factors in retaining staff. Even a modest investment in training may go a long way to 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.