But no matter the size of their organizations, all managers should properly encourage their staff to hone their skills.
And for good reason: there are numerous ingenious ways to get training at relatively low cost. By seizing this opportunity, you highlight your employees’ work and stimulate their motivation and engagement.
How to Invest in Staff Training
1. Create a Library
Here at Agendrix, we have a bookcase containing a baker’s dozen books anyone can borrow, including biographies of inspiring people, business non-fiction and self-development books.
More books are added from time to time, according to the staff’s interests. It’s really easy to do, and it doesn’t cost much. A team member even challenged himself to read 100 books in 10 years. He reached his goal a few months ago, too. We know who to ask for book recommendations!
2. Encourage Self-Training
Suggest interesting articles, videos and podcasts for your staff to go through at work. Encourage them to take a few minutes every week to learn something new. You can also suggest self-development books and podcasts: professional skills aren’t everything.
This practice is well-established here at Agendrix. We often share interesting resources among ourselves. This way, we get to discover and learn new things every day.
3. Reimburse Training Costs
If your budget allows it, reimburse part (or all) of the training costs incurred by your staff on their own time. This is a way of encouraging their professional development while promoting their accountability.
You can also avail yourself of governmental workforce development programs to fund specific courses. Government often offers a number of incentives for SMEs to invest in staff training.
4. Opt for Mentoring
Mentoring is a simple way of promoting staff development. Pair up experienced employees with newcomers to provide the latter with professional (and perhaps personal) assistance. As an added bonus, this is sure to strengthen your employees’ relationships.
During a mentoring session, you can go over scenarios, for example. Like in a role-playing game, you can simulate realistic situations employees might face. This will let them put their skills into practice and benefit from your feedback afterwards.
Mentoring can be formal or informal. The idea is to promote knowledge-sharing within your team.
5. Invite Speakers
A few times a year, invite speakers to come discuss topics of importance to your business and employees. This can be during work hours, or even during a team activity. It’s a good opportunity for the team to exchange views on various subjects.
You could also encourage employees to attend a conference outside working hours. Such events are offered by various organizations, with some universities even hosting public conferences given by renowned experts.
6. Create Learning Tools
Staff training is—and should remain—an ongoing process. Most businesses are constantly evolving and go through frequent changes. Keeping staff up to speed is critical.
Are you releasing a new product? Be sure to present it in detail to your team. For especially important or complex points, you’d do well to create a document they can refer to. This is exactly what we do for feature releases; otherwise, it would be too difficult to properly answer enquiries and promote our products.
Bulletin boards, for instance, are great for information sharing. They can be digital (a news feed, perhaps) or physical. Either way, always make sure employees always have access to all the information they need to do their jobs.
Continuing Training as a Springboard for Promising Employees
With proper training, your staff can aspire to grow and develop within your organization. By being mindful of their respective ambitions, you can truly optimize their potential and promote their professional advancement. They will also become much more versatile and satisfied with their work.