Many small business owners don’t prioritise training, and it’s easy to see why. Training involves costs in terms of time and money which can place a strain on a small organisation. Employees miss time at work and either have to be replaced or don’t get their work done.
You might be paying them for hours you can’t bill out to a client which you otherwise perhaps might be doing. Venues cost money (especially as in a small office it is likely that meeting rooms and similar are hard to come by), and external trainers charge fees.
There are ways to reduce the costs of training, but actually although most business owners do have a general sense that training is a Good Thing, thinking about what the benefits to the business actually are can be quite convincing when considering whether investing in developing staff is a good business decision.
Yes improving staff performance in one way or another is both the main impetus for training, and hopefully the most significant benefit. But what does improved performance actually mean, and how does it benefit your business?
It means giving your team the skills and knowledge required to carry out their role to the best of their ability which means increased productivity, fewer mistakes and improved quality. All of which have an impact on your bottom line and gives you a competitive advantage.
It means enabling employees to take on additional responsibilities, making the team more flexible and efficient, able to cover for each other.
In turn it means that internal promotion in the event of staff leaving or new roles coming up is far more likely to happen, and to be successful when it does, saving you the recruitment costs and lost productivity that usually comes with external appointments.
It means addressing weaknesses in the team and in individual employees quickly and effectively, bringing the performance of the team to a higher level overall. Addressing weaknesses with effective training reduces the likelihood of a need for going through procedures for managing poor performance, which can drain management time and have a negative impact on the team.
It makes life easier for your managers, reducing the amount of time they need to spend supervising, correcting mistakes and dealing with poor performance, enabling them to spend more time concentrating on activities which will take your business to the next level.
Staff who are being developed feel valued and motivated and become engaged in their job and invested in their employer. This means improved rates of retention, which keeps valuable knowledge and skills in your business, and saves enormously on time and money involved in recruitment and training new staff.
Engaged employees go the extra mile, putting in extra hours at busy times, and being more willing to be flexible when necessary, both of which can be a lifesaver in a small business.
Having a reputation as a business which invests in its staff, and places value on high quality training for employees pays dividends. It improves your attractiveness as a potential employer and increases the pool of high quality candidates available to you when recruiting.
It also enhances your reputation among customers and potential customers. They may not only feel reassured as to quality of product or service they will receive, but may also prefer dealing with an organisation who values its employees for ethical reasons.
Reduced legal vulnerability
Disputes or legal action can have a severe impact on a small business and good quality training can help avoid these. Your business may need to comply with industry regulations in terms of quality, production methods or health and safety, and ensuring all relevant staff are fully trained in these is essential.
Regardless of specific industry requirements, good quality health and safety training can reduce the likelihood of expensive legal claims in terms of possible personal injury claims by staff or even customers.
Training in awareness of diversity/equality, bullying and harassment and similar workplace issues will reduce the likelihood of expensive claims in this area, while good management training will reduce the risk of constructive dismissal claims from staff who are being poorly managed.
If you’d like advice on any aspect of training in your business, please get in touch.