Developing employee skills creates the situation where your business benefits from a more knowledgeable and capable employee, while your employee gains additional skills or qualifications. This can give your employees the chance to further their career and increase their earning potential in the long run.
Training and skills development can assist underperforming employees and be used to encourage talented employees, allowing them to grow within the business. This helps both individual employees and your business achieve full potential.
Some business owners might be apprehensive about training and development because they worry about employees seeking additional responsibility elsewhere. But it’s worth remembering that driven and successful employees have a larger tendency to lose interest and leave their jobs when they aren’t provided opportunities to develop their skills.
Set a training budget
Consider setting up a budget for staff training and development. Include it in your annual budget the same way you’d allocate funds for regular expenses. You can even claim the training costs as a business expense or negotiate more expensive training as part of a salary package with employees.
Draw up a training policy
Your training policy need not be too in depth but it should indicate what kind of training employees need to undergo for their position. Also let them know of any requirements they’ll have to meet in order to benefit from company-sponsored training.
You can require:
- All trainings to be job-related for the business to pay for it.
- Employees to pay 50% of the course fee if the training is useful to the company, but not necessary to their specific job descriptions.
- Employees to reimburse costs (but only if necessary) if they don’t complete or pass the course.
Discuss career goals and opportunities
Make it a point to discuss short and long-term career goals during performance reviews or conversations with employees. You can then decide how to match their goals with any short and long-term opportunities available in your business.
Training in areas that don’t further the short or long-term career goals of your employees will not be embraced as enthusiastically. That is why it’s always better to plan future development to balance both business needs and employee goals.
Identify employee strengths and weaknesses
One of the best ways to decide what sort of training would be appropriate is to collaboratively identify the strengths and weaknesses of each employee for any current and possible roles they might play.
Here’s a step by step guide:
- Identify the skills each employee needs for their job.
- Ask them to identify the skills they have.
- List each employee’s strengths.
- Ask your employee to identify the weaknesses in their skill set.
Be careful not to seem like you’re criticising your employees when identifying their weaknesses. Show them that you’re doing this to find areas where additional training would help them perform current or future roles better.
Agree on training objectives
You can do this by using the information you’ve collected from exploring both career goals and opportunities, and strengths and weaknesses. Identify suitable training options for each employee and collaboratively agree on training objectives with them.
Write down the objectives, then plan out how they will be achieved. Develop timeframes to monitor your achievements.
Monitor progress and request feedback
Monitor progress by reviewing the agreed objectives at least once a year. This allows you to revise training objectives and plans wherever necessary.
Consider scheduling regular meetings to ask staff for feedback. These can be as formal or informal as you’d like. You can choose to have a quick conversation with them asking them to complete a questionnaire or conduct a formal presentation on what they’ve learnt.
- A quick summary of what they’ve learned (the take-home benefits).
- Feedback on whether the training met the employee’s expectations.
- Feedback on whether the training met your business’s objectives.
Always give your employees adequate notice that you’ll be asking for their feedback. This helps you to evaluate courses or training service providers to use, or avoid, in the future.
Don’t forget that as an employee grows within your business, so will your business. This is why you should always consider the development of their skill set in your business plans.