Of all the areas you need to invest in as a small business owner, building the most capable team should be a top priority. Think about where your company would be if your team lacked the skills and knowledge to help your company fulfill its customer promise, compete or bring new products and services to an evolving market.
Hiring the right people from the outset is paramount to your success. Training is equally important. Employees need to constantly upgrade their professional knowledge and skills whether they are in IT, marketing or customer relations to keep your business moving ahead. Also training sends a message to your employees that you care about their career development.
Some training can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to control your costs and still provide your team with the training they need. Online training courses, as an example, enable employees to learn at their own pace right in your office without having to travel across town or another city.
TC Computer is an IT consulting company serving credit unions in Texas and Louisiana. Its technicians constantly need to train to keep up to date on the latest technology to meet customer needs. Online webinars provide a time-saving and cost effective alternative to sending technicians offsite for training.
To make the experience comfortable and convenient for technicians who might have to spend as much as a half a day watching a training video on their computer and listening with a headset, TC Computer purchased Plantronics Voyager PRO UC Bluetooth wireless headsets. The headsets, which connect to PC and mobile phones, enable TC Computer technicians to move around freely — get up and stretch if they need to — while the videos are running. They also can conveniently put the training video on pause to go to the break room to get a cup of coffee without having to remove their audio equipment.
Here are some other suggestions to keep down training costs:
- Join associations: Industry associations offer training programs for their members, which may include seminars and conferences as well as online training.
- Cultivate internal trainers: If someone in your organization has particularly strong communication and interaction skills, make them the trainers. Send them to classes so they can come back and share what they learned.
- Brown bag lunches: Invite in professionals from your industry to a brown bag lunch to talk to your group. You may even choose someone on your own team who has a special skill or experience to share with the group.
- Create a mentoring program: Provide the less experienced employees with a mentor from within the organization. The mentor is responsible for helping that person develop skills and knowledge to advance professionally.
There will be times because of a specific training need when you need to bring in a professional trainer or send your team to classes. Still training, while it is always an investment, doesn’t have to break your small business bank.