One of the keys to succeeding in business is having employees who are good at their jobs. Many businesses, especially smaller ones, may regard employee training as a needless expense or waste of valuable time.
But employees with limited skills are less productive, while limits to their job potential make them less engaged and less motivated. Low job satisfaction leads to lowered productivity and high turnover rates. How do you counter these negative qualities? Simple. Training them without stretching your budget, and here is how.
- Defining Training Needs and Goals
You can start by assessing your workflows and determining what form of training would benefit your team most, such as soft people skills vs. technical training. It’s also a good idea to evaluate employee performance reviews to gauge overall competency as well as recurring areas needing improvement per individual.
Your investment in training sessions should align with your business goals, such as increasing upsells or improving the customer experience. Seek out the right training modules designed to build on the particular skills your team needs.
- Industry Associations, Conferences, and Seminars
You can find different training opportunities through various industry associations, either through online resources or scheduled events such as seminars. Check with your trade association for affordable alternatives such as webinars or live conferences. These are often staged to address specific topics your team will find helpful.
The advantage of joining one or more trade associations is that there is often zero or very low cost to access their resources. They may even put you in touch with experts who can conduct in-house seminars with your employees at affordable rates.
- Peer-to-Peer In-House Training or Mentoring
It can also be productive to mentor employees lacking in certain skills with senior employees or supervisors. This helps to build a stronger personal relationship while helping new hires progress faster. You can also mentor several employees with a senior team member showing expertise in the desired skillsets. They could form a new business unit, whether for temporary training purposes or as a permanent team.
You should identify both your team’s strengths and weaknesses to organize in-house training strategies. You may have to provide some incentives to motivate selected trainers, but it’s a good investment if they can impart superior abilities to the rest of the team. Sharing and teaching the skills you already have in place is a more cost-efficient way to implement ongoing training.
- Technology-Based Training
Computerized solutions can also provide effective training experiences that may serve a range of needs. Selective, personalized lessons administered over the internet or through in-house applications are convenient and relatively inexpensive, if not free. Videos, computer testing, and online courses can form a training program that leads to faster and better retention of knowledge.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) combine various elements into a rewarding learning experiences. They’re designed with unlimited participation in mind. MOOCs may require a paid fee to join, be offered for free, or as a blend of both depending on the material.
Online training allows people to improve their knowledge and skills from home with all the convenience that remote education provides. Find some appropriate online training resources and encourage your employees to sign up for them. Some of the benefits that online training involves include the ability to log in and learn anytime and from anywhere, proceed at their own pace, and track improvements to performance.
Incorporating MOOCs into your training plans gives your employees quick access to specific training modules that can be re-visited as often as necessary to achieve desired skill levels. Some of these e-Learning platforms are open-source applications that are completely free, such as Moodle. Others like Skill Pill focus on just-in-time principles that emphasize quick, specific lessons or motivational sessions.
This is a form of digital learning that leverages game-like features such as rich graphics, interactive formats, and score-keeping to make lessons more enjoyable. Use of gaming mechanics to improve the learning experience makes employees more likely to engage with and pursue training goals. Navigating graphics and solving problems can enhance logical thinking, motivation, and information retention in an intuitive way that classrooms and streams of text can’t.
Gamification can be an immersive, emotionally connected medium that promotes faster leaning and better information recall. Programs can use familiar gamer concepts such as leaderboards, awards, levels, and chosen avatars to inspire further participation. Score keeping also provides a self-diagnostic aspect to personal progress, often broken down into specific skill or knowledge categories.
- Service Provider Packages
Some large tech companies and other vendors may offer technical training programs through webinars, videos, or study manuals to help customers understand and derive full value from the products they’ve purchased. Some exploration of these company websites, or a simple Google search, may uncover training materials and advice on related topics or cover features in depth. You may also discover resources such as webinars designed for various user roles or departments, such as teaching appropriate lessons for sales or accounting with the same software.
In conclusion, no matter what your industry or business processes, you’ll find it prudent to identify and address the training needs of your staff. The resources you choose to adopt should be relevant to your business objectives, practical and convenient for your employees, and represent a good ROI for your company’s time and costs. Training sessions that are consistent and provide measurable results will improve and sustain employee skillsets.
Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie.