Ask a Coach: Training and Up Skilling your staff more affordably

Our problem is associated with up skilling our staff. It is definitely something that appeals to the team leaders in our business, however we are finding that this is becoming a very time consuming and costly way to improve processes and keep our employees smiling. –Mick, marketing, SA

As up skilling employees quickly gains momentum as an effective staff retention tool, employee training is increasingly being seen as an investment rather than an expense.

Unfortunately, traditional training and development often seems out of reach for many businesses with options such as courses and conferences quickly draining the budget.

With a little flexibility and creativity, every business can have access to high-quality training without the budget pain. Here are Recruitment Coach’s top tips for cost-effective training/development:

1.    Train on the essentials first

Work out which training is optional and which is essential by first completing a simple training needs analysis to ensure your investment gets results.

Take a look at your business goals and performance requirements and identify which skills are needed to achieve those objectives. Anonymous staff surveys can be an excellent tool for identifying staff training needs or underlying problems that require additional training.

Depending on your business focus, updates on specific technical skills or management/leadership may be the first point for improvement.

2.    Look at more cost-effective options of formal training

External training courses and conferences can quickly eat into your training and development budget. Consider shorter courses such as breakfast/evening seminars as a cost-effective option of training and development, as they are usually inexpensive and don’t use up much of the work day.

When you have a larger group to train (5+), in-house half-day workshops or seminars are also extremely cost-effective, even when presented by an external facilitator.

If you do send an employee to a conference or external training course, be sure to leverage their new knowledge by asking them to share their key learnings with other staff through an information session or report to multiply the benefits from training expenses.

3.    Consider informal training methods to refresh skills and keep the workforce up to date

Show your staff that you value their development, simply by offering informal internal training programs, such as:

Learning @ Lunch: Why not maximise the work day and use the lunch break as a learning session?

Create a simple, voluntary program, where management can train staff on short topics, such as market trends, technology, or improving soft skills such as communication or time management.

Morning Meets: Share the training responsibility among your workforce and allow your staff to share their knowledge in short morning tea meetings.

Monthly morning meets can be a great tool to show employees that their skills are valued in your business, as well as to share information and knowledge, without the costs associated with more formal training.

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