If you are trying to run a successful business, your employees are your most important asset. However, hiring those employees is only the first step to building the perfect team. No matter how good your new hires are, employee training is still absolutely essential. Employers around the world are continuing to invest record amounts in training, in order to give their team the skills they need to thrive in the workplace and beyond.
Employee training involves multiple strands, including job-specific training and more general training such as security and IT best practice training. All of these are crucial if you want a productive and well-functioning team. However, if you are a small business owner, you might worry that you do not have the resources for effective employee training and development. However, there is no need to panic. Read this essential guide to small business employee training to find out how to give your workers the skills they need to thrive.
1. Map it Out
When considering how to train employees, the most important first step is to have an actionable training plan in place. An employee training plan is essential to provide structure and ensure that you are not wasting anyone’s time. You should prepare a document that lists all of the training that your employees should receive.
This should be structured according to importance and time horizons. A one-year plan which lists what training an employee should have after a certain amount of time working with you is a simple and hugely effective approach.
2. Make Your Employee Training Verifiable
It is important that your employee training programs produce verifiable and transferable results. This means you should stick to training programs that conform to internationally recognized standards wherever possible. If you do this, you can provide training that is easy for others to verify, as they can simply consult a database to see if your employee has actually received the right training.
One good example of this is workplace safety training or HSE training. You can ask your employees to complete an accredited online HSE training course that conforms to WSO standards and adds your employee’s details to a database when they have completed the training. This can then be checked by employers anywhere in the world if they wish to confirm that the individual has received the right training.
3. Existing Employees Make Great Teachers
When it comes to employee training programs for small businesses, it is important to get maximum value for your money and time investment. This is why you should consider bringing existing, more experienced employees on-board to train new ones. Many businesses use more senior employees to conduct training as standard practice.
When it comes to workplace-specific training, who is better placed to deliver it than someone who has worked there for years? Add new employee training to your more senior employees’ work-plan and make sure to properly reward them for taking on this essential task.
4. Training Should be a Regular Occurrence
One of the worst mistakes you can make as a manager is to make training a one-time occurrence. Skills constantly need refreshing and updating, otherwise, they will be lost. If you do not want all of your training efforts to become a massive waste of time, you need to ensure that regular workplace training is available to all.
This can be facilitated with once-monthly all-staff meetings to discuss areas where more training would be useful. You can also put annual training days into the calendar, which is a practice that many of the world’s most successful companies follow.
5. Set Goals and Offer Rewards
The purpose of employee training is to enhance their skills and allow them to deliver better results for your company. This is why it is important to track the progress of all of your team and reward those who excel. All training activities and results should be integrated into your annual performance reviews as a bare minimum.
It is crucial to make sure that all of your training is actually having an impact and is being retained by employees. Rewards systems should also be in place to encourage employees to take their training seriously. These simple steps will pay huge dividends for your company.
6. Cross-Training is Essential
Effective employee training is always holistic. There is no use in building “skills silos” in your company, where all of your employees are only trained in the very specific tasks that pertain to their job title. In order to maximize the flexibility of your team, you should be cross-training them so that everyone has skills that might come in handy if they are needed.
A good example of this is training your cashiers on how to stock shelves or fill out invoices. By enhancing the skillset of your employees, you will have a more agile business that is geared for growth.
7. Use Online Training Courses to Keep Costs Down
There is a lot of training that you will simply not be able to deliver yourself. This could be highly technical product training or it could be HR training. As a small business owner, you might be hesitant to fill this gap with expensive teachers and courses, as this might be beyond your budget.
This is why you should try and integrate online courses into your employee training wherever possible. Online courses do cost money, but they will always cost considerably less than an away-day or the cost of hiring a training consultant. When in doubt, go digital..
8. Listen to What Your Team Needs
Finally, it is crucial that your training is not just a top-down exercise. You should be listening to your team to find out what training they want and need to be better at their jobs. Always make space in your team meetings to discuss training and L&D opportunities.
When employees know that you are listening and are willing to give them the skills they want to excel in their careers, they will be more loyal and productive. This is something you truly cannot put a price tag on.
Build a More Resilient Business in 2021
Understanding the basics of employee training will help you build a more agile and resilient business model in these turbulent times. For more essential guidance on building a better business in 2021, make sure to consult our expertly curated Business guides today.