It is vital for businesses to ensure that their workforce remains up-to-date with the skills and knowledge required for them to compete in the marketplace. Training and development is an essential part of human resources, of attracting talent and of managing employees. It allows the existing pool of staff to be improved and for individuals to be trained for more demanding roles as they are required.
Why should a small business train and develop their staff?
- Keep up with changes in the industry: as the market changes, industry practice evolves to keep pace. Ensuring that staff are kept informed on the state of the industry and market is vital if a business wants to stay competitive. In addition, when industry regulations change, business practices need to be updated to remain legal.
- Utilising the most advanced technologies: as new technologies and processes are innovated, staff require training to utilise them effectively. Regular training sessions are routinely used in businesses to ensure that staff are comfortable with new technology and software features which will help them be productive in their role.
- Beating competitors: while meeting the bare minimum requirements is necessarily from a regulatory point of view, successful businesses aspire to be exemplary in their field. This means analysing competitor’s practices and providing training to stay ahead of the pack.
- Filling skill gaps: generally speaking, it is cheaper to train an existing employee to perform extra functions than it is to hire a new employee. By identifying skill gaps early, businesses are able to develop their existing workforce to fill them before they become an issue.
- Maintaining minimum standards and diligence: ongoing training can also be used to ensure skills and knowledge is retained, and to ensure that long serving staff members are still performing their role diligently.
- Developing and advancing the workforce: as a business grows and develops, it is good practice for them to continually advance their existing employees’ skills. Existing employees have a relationship with the business, have proven loyalty to it and have inside knowledge of it’s culture and practices. This makes them far more valuable than new hires.
- Raise morale: when staff are offering ongoing training, they typically feel more invested and engaged in the business and report higher levels of job satisfaction. This leads to a better, happier workforce and has been demonstrated to directly increase productivity and profitability.
- Create advancement pathways: by creating a clearly defined pathway to advance between roles, businesses offer an incentive to individuals to engage with training programs. Individuals who want to earn more and handle a more interesting role are likely to follow these pathways and be motivated to learn, as it translates into a direct reward.
- Attracting talent: advancement opportunities and access to training are one of the key considerations of ambitious job-seekers. To attract the best talent, businesses often offer subsidised or free access to prestigious training programs, and rewards for completing them.
Developing skills of existing staff is a vital part of ongoing organisational effectiveness. Without ongoing training, businesses become outdated, their staff become demotivated and their culture suffers.