For any small business to truly become successful, it must be run by a strong team. Each member of the team should know their role and be able to efficiently and effectively accomplish their given tasks. In order for management to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding responsibilities and the standards for how those tasks are carried out, it may be necessary to provide training opportunities.
Location, Location, Location
The face of today’s business world has changed dramatically from what it used to be. Employees no longer have to report to one physical location for work. Instead, many employees work remotely. In light of this reality, it is important to note that in-house meetings are not the only way to conduct training sessions. Individual meetings or conference calls can be set up through Skype, Hangouts or Slack.
Because industries also change at a breakneck pace, small business owners need to take it upon themselves to always stay on top of what’s new and how they can equip their employees to be competitive in the marketplace. For this reason, staff training should be a continuous process. For true progress to be achieved, training sessions must be done regularly and with constant input from management.
Here are some ways that you can conduct staff training in small businesses, whether you are working together in an office or working remotely from each other. Each point will also be accompanied by a chart of advantages and disadvantages.
#1 Online Training Courses
By far, this is one of the most convenient methods of training. Online courses have become very popular in the last few years, and for good reason. Major universities like Stanford and Yale, and business professionals from all over the world provide sessions in a variety of topics to the general public for free or at highly discounted rates.
Utilizing such courses encourages employees to educate themselves about innovative strategies or to learn new skills that may be helpful for the growth of the small business. Employees are able to access the training portal from the comfort of their home, while management is able to keep track of each person’s progress and performance.
Because small businesses typically lack the resources to create an entire training program of their own, many turn to free and paid online training sites like Coursera, Udemy, and CBT Nuggets. In some cases employees can also receive certification from these online courses, which is an incentive for both the employees – if your company offers raises for additional certifications – and your business.
- The fact that the courses are online makes it very convenient for employees.
- Courses can be retaken or replayed.
- Employees can take the courses at their own pace.
- Some courses are not what you expect them to be or the instructors aren’t very good.
- Without an internet connection, you won’t be able to move forward with the training course.
- If certain sessions are live, employees must make themselves available at that specific time.
There are many online training options available for your business to use. Take advantage of the opportunity to have an expert train your staff!
#2 Seminars or Workshops
Every year, various training seminars happen across the world. It used to be that companies would either select certain staff members or send their whole team to attend these conferences. For small businesses, it’s highly advantageous to let your employees attend seminars at least once a year, but catering for transportation, accommodation, food, registration fees, and any books or materials that your employees might require after the training can get pretty pricey.
Webinars, online seminars, are the modern alternative to expensive trips. Basically, you can record yourself going over company policies or giving a step-by-step rundown of how to do a particular task, and then you put it online. Your employees can register for the webinar and access your video whenever they need to, or you can record your webinar live and interact with your staff.
- Employers can get direct feedback from employees.
- It’s an easy way to ensure that everyone is abreast of new company policies or expectations.
- Employers can have guest speakers and instructors conduct webinars for their staff.
- Creating the presentation for the webinar may be time consuming.
- Not everyone may have a reliable internet connection.
- Staff will miss out on the opportunity to network with others like they can at seminars.
Whereas with a larger business, only a group of representatives would be sent to a seminar and then report back to everyone else what they learned, with webinars you can reach everyone at once!
#3 Employees as Trainers
One of the best things about having a small business is that you usually have a small number of employees to train. As your small business progresses, you and your employees also progress. Your employees may even develop new strategies and techniques for tackling problems and increasing productivity. Eventually, the business grows and new recruits are needed.
In such cases, there’s no need to call for professional help when need to train your new staff. You have in-house experts of your own that can do the job. There’s no one better to train a new staff member than someone who has already been there and done that. And there’s no better way to invest in your employees and reinforce the idea that they are the backbone of the business.
- Employees may participate more since they know and are comfortable with the person conducting the training.
- Trainers are familiar with the systems and how the company works.
- Examples used during the seminar or workshop may be real events that have transpired, which make them more relatable to the participants.
- Not everyone who is an expert on a topic is good at teaching others.
- The trainer may have a heavy workload that keeps them from being available to help others.
- If trainers utilize a lecture format, the participants may not be able to retain all the information.
Be sure not forget to give incentives or rewards to your hardworking employees. This will motivate all of your employees to keep on learning and striving to do their best in their fields.
~ S. Wasike, Team Tuxedo Impressions LLC™