Employee Training: Making the Most Of It

What's the point in training?

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The next time you walk into the office and tell your employees that they’re due to go on a training course, I’m sure you’ll hear at least one subdued groan. Training isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite part of business for obvious reasons. It’s tedious for your employees, and eats into more important tasks you want to be tackling. However, if you want to reach your long-term business goals, ongoing employee training is essential. Here are a few pointers for making sure you get the most out of it.

First of all, leverage your best employees, as they make the best trainers. One of the many perks of being a small business owner is that you start off with a small number of employees, which makes them much easier to manage. When you’re hand-raising people in entry-level jobs, you’ll know who’s best suited to pass on their skills and knowledge. There’s no need to spend a load of capital on outsourcing your training when you’ve already got a wealth of knowledge and experience right there. For example, if you have employees who have been with you for a while and demonstrated great communication skills, appoint them as trainers for that skill, and make them the host for a monthly talk on the subject. As I mentioned before, training isn’t generally that popular, so you may want to offer bonuses or other incentives to make sure you’re getting the most out of these in-house tutors.

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Next, make sure you’re researching changes in your industry, and stacking this against the skills and expertise within your business. If you let the skills at your business become outdated, then your profit margins are sure to suffer. Whatever industry your business is a part of, you can be sure that it’s not static, and there will always be some new technology, practice or convention which you should be looking into. As your business changes with the times, your training should as well. For example, if you’re in the energy sector and you’re looking to branch out into greener, more progressive energy sources, then organize some global renewable energy training. If you want your sales team to start using a more modern CRM system, then set a date for an in-house seminar on it.

Finally, make sure you’re taking generational differences into account. Unless you’re a genius like Mark Zuckerberg, odds are you were fairly old when your business started to take wing. It’s also pretty likely that your workforce is made up of a lot of millennials, who may not have the same outlook on business as you do. Your upper management are probably closer to your age, or somewhere in between. The point I’m getting at here is that a multi-generational workforce can sometimes lead to gaps in training. It’s very important to realize that different age groups are more receptive to different kinds of training. Your older workers may be more comfortable sitting through a good-old seminar, whereas your younger employees will stand to gain more from hands-on, tech-based training.

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