If you have big goals for your small business this year, it is important to remember that you’re unlikely to hit all (or even many) of them if your team is not up to scratch in all areas, including customer service, productivity, sales, teamwork, and more.
If you want to get the best out of your employees, it pays to organize some training in the various topics that either need to be improved or which you really want to focus on for 2017. However, you also don’t want to waste your time and/or money on running programs which aren’t useful or which produce results.
To ensure your training is worthwhile, read on for some helpful tips you can follow today.
Know Your Needs and Goals Upfront
One of the first things you should do when it comes to training your staff members is work out what your needs and goals are upfront. If your business is like most, you won’t have unlimited cash available to spend on a training program, or unlimited hours for it to be executed either. As a result, you need to really be clear on which skills are most necessary for the team to learn now and for the future.
Work out what training is likely to give you the biggest “bang for your buck” results wise, by thinking about how it will be beneficial to the workers and the company in general. Keep in mind too that you will have both short-term and long-term goals that need to be catered to.
When it comes to training, don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself. There are plenty of top instructors and materials out there you can utilize to get the best results possible for your investment. From specialist human resources training programs run by PEO firms and the like, to guest speakers and other individuals who focus just on one particular area, you won’t have to go far to find options.
While you might at first worry about using your budget to bring in trainers, keep in mind that using those people who specialize in a training area can make a huge difference to the success of the sessions. In fact, they can actually end up being much more economical long term, because you don’t have to conduct training sessions multiple times to try and get staff members up to speed.
Trainers who are accomplished at their work can ensure that teams come away from each session with the exact knowledge and skills that they need. Just make sure that you do your research up front, to choose the right people and firms.
Use Both Online and In-Person Training Options
Another way to make your employee training effective is to use both online and in-person solutions. Both options have benefits, so you’ll find results are better if you combine the two. Online training, for instance, can be taken at a person’s own pace. This allows workers to review information how they’d like, and means they don’t get rushed through complicated topics with no time to take a moment and process what they have just learned, or to “connect the dots” between the theory and how it can be applied practically in their job.
Online training can be reviewed at the time of day that suits best for each person too, which allows people to study when they’re feeling most alert and engaged. Online training can also be reviewed over and over again, which is immensely helpful, particularly for complex information.
In-person training, on the other hand, is typically beneficial because personnel can ask trainers questions directly, at the time, which can help to ensure they understand the information clearly. In-person training tends to lead to better retention of information too.
By incorporating both options, you will enable employees to get a more comprehensive understanding of the information, plus also give them a reference to turn to later when they need a refresher on something.
Make Training Hands-On and Contextualized
Lastly, in order to get the best results possible out of your programs, it pays to incorporate hands-on training time for workers. Provide employees with the opportunity to use and experiment with their new skills as they go, so that they can apply what they’re learning straight away. If needed, this can be done in a controlled environment.
Letting people learn by experiencing or feeling helps them to build confidence, learn from mistakes, and translate new skills to their day-to-day tasks straight away. This not only increases understanding and retention, but also speeds up the overall learning process.
Wherever possible, also try to give your team a context for the training and development they’re undertaking. Explain why the new or enhanced skill, or the new information, is necessary for their job and for the company, so that they everyone can see the link between the training and the practical application. Don’t forget to link in to the firm’s goals and business plan too, to really help people see the relevance and thereby feel more motivated to learn.
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