As small businesses continue to struggle with the cost of doing business in today’s economy, an often overlooked and under-valued aspect of profitability is how prepared your employees are for success.
That’s right, I said “your employees.” Many companies go through a rigorous process of strategizing, planning, advertising and hiring staff only to let them languish in mediocre productivity due to the lack of a viable development plan. Staff development is a critical element of business success. In fact, it should be a primary part of the organization’s core objectives. However, many times employee training and development receives the least investment and is usually the first in line when budgets are cut. It reminds me of the farmer who owns a $100,000 tractor but seldom gets it tuned-up.
Your employees are the engine that drives company success. They must be kept tuned up and prepared to run at peak efficiency. What makes so little sense is that many business leaders fail to give training its appropriate level of respect. When a company’s expectation is growth, training new employees is critical. However, even if an organization is forced to cut back or downsize it has to be aware of the fact that the remaining staff will be required to do more with less. Thus, the importance of staff training is heightened in either situation and must be given its rightful level of value.
Benefits of staff training
The most obvious benefit of staff training and development is providing a constantly evolving tool kit for employee success. Learning new technology, product and process education, cross-training and creating employee career ladders motivate staff, inspire creativity and increase productivity. The frequency, quality and methods of employee training provided are often reflected in key productivity indicators such as revenue per employee (RPE), employee turnover and, ultimately, company profitability.
In addition, companies often attempt to save training dollars by taking their best salesperson and turning them into the trainer of salespeople. This is not a recommended strategy and most often creates more problems than it solves. Unfortunately, the skills required to train sales people is totally different than the skills required to be one. Small businesses must have a mindset that includes professional staff training and development as a key company objective. Don’t take short cuts in this vital area.
Here are four (4) keys to staff training and development success for small businesses:
- Create a consistent and well-funded employee training and development strategy. Make training a key component of your strategic plan. View training as an important budgetary line item and stick to it. Do not cut training at the first sign of financial distress.
- Find and utilize a training and development expert in the field of expertise you are seeking to improve. Be clear about expectations and measure results.
- Involve your employees. Seek out their opinions when possible and provide them with the tools they need to be successful. Unfortunately, executive management does not always know what employees need and seldom ask.
- Outsourcing training when possible. Outsourcing is often the most cost effective method of achieving the developmental goal. Outsourcing prevents re-inventing the wheel, provides the specific expertise needed and relieves internal staff of overburdening tasks.
Back Office Support Solutions provides a full range or Employee and Management Development Programs in the areas of: Leadership, Productivity, Strategic Planning, Regulatory Compliance and Process Improvement. Call 619-363-3009 now for a no-cost consultation or visit us at: backofficesupportsolutions.com.
This article was written by Ricardo H. Correia, Human resources Manager for Back Office Support Solutions (BOSS)