Small businesses often do things because they have to or because it’s the right thing to do. They take this same approach toward employee training. They try to train employees for their jobs, but they often fail to do it well because they don’t have a plan. Consider five reasons why small businesses should connect employee training to business goals.
1. Support business goals – Often a small business is launched from an idea that’s developed in a basement or garage. Eventually, as the idea grows and shows a profit, the owners craft a long-range plan to accomplish their goals.
The success of any business requires excellent, talented employees. But workers cannot do their jobs well and be productive unless they are trained. Business owners and managers need a strategic training plan to provide the knowledge and skills employees need. When writing the plan, think about these questions:
* As a business, what do you want customers and business leaders to know about you?
* What business specialty areas set you apart from competitors?
* Why should a customer consider your business first before others?
* What can customers get from your business vs. competitors?
The training program should coach and teach employees what they need to know to do their job, sell products and serve customers.
2. Be prepared for business opportunities – Sales opportunities often appear when they're least expected. A customer identifies a need and looks for a partner to help them. They hear about your business and ask for help. But they want assistance now. They don’t want to wait months for you to get prepared to provide what they need.
Most small businesses are nimble and can adjust easily to market changes if employees are trained to adapt to new opportunities. One study found that only 12 percent of employees feel that they can apply the skills they’ve learned through training programs for their jobs.
While it’s impossible to predict every growth opportunity, small business owners are wise to identify how their products and services could better meet current customers. Make a list of other industries and customers your business could support. Determine what type of new skills and knowledge employees will need. Then develop training modules to prepare workers for future growth.
3. Cross-train employees – Workers often have unforeseen personal and family problems and need to take time off. Or, sometimes they have an unplanned move for a spouse’s job or to pursue another work opportunities. The smart business owner or manager plans for these surprises.
Develop a list of the skills and knowledge each employee currently possesses, then look for ways to cross train workers for other positions. By preparing for the unexpected, your business won’t suffer hardship if a key team member is gone. And, most employees will appreciate the opportunity to grow and take on new responsibilities, which can impact their job satisfaction and interest in staying with the company.
4. Positive effect on the bottom line – Today’s employees want continuous learning and coaching experiences. They look for employers that provide excellent and consistent training. It’s easy to set up training with an online training software system, like Traineaze. Once the training modules are ready, share the details with employees. Regularly remind workers to take a few minutes to review training programs.
Training should help employees feel comfortable doing their job, answering customers’ questions, and working with other team members on projects. As employees gain knowledge and develop new skills, they'll quickly recognize how they can help the business grow, or identify adaptions to products and services that would better serve customers.
Well-trained employees can make a difference in business' success, and in the end, make a positive impact on the bottom line.
5. Become an employer of choice – People want to work for an employer with a reputation for taking good care of their workers. They want to feel respected and valued for their skills and knowledge and the difference they make to the business. Business owners and managers should continually show employees the value of the training they receive.
Share stories from customers and community members who express appreciation for employees and company’s products. Celebrate employees’ completion of training modules with certificates, a lunch or thank-you coffee break.
These are a few simple ways businesses can show they care, and they go a long ways toward helping the business become an employer of choice where other people want to work.
Learn more tips on developing an employee training plan.