The typical small business can only hire a limited number of employees, so they have to maximize the potential of each staff member. You can help ensure that your employees are consistently improving by developing a training program.

These types of offerings can help generate the following improvements to your company and its culture:

  • A greater degree of employee engagement
  • More innovative thinking
  • A stronger sense of teamwork
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Enhanced recruitment opportunities

It's important to avoid looking at training only in terms of the costs involved. Instead, says Sean Pomeroy in Business 2 Community, you should "think of it as an investment that can prove extremely valuable for the long-term success and growth of your organization."

Here are some tips for developing a training program to help benefit your business and your employees:

1. Think Long Term

By tying your company's goals to the training program, you can tailor a series of classes or presentations that fully align with your goals and growth strategies.

You should think of the program in terms of career development. Employees are more likely to stick around if they get promoted or receive learning opportunities on-site. In fact, according to Deloitte University Press, more than two-thirds of millennials believe it's their employer's job to offer accelerated development opportunities in an effort to retain employees. These well-trained employees also provide a good ROI for the business owner.

2. Get Input From Your Employees

Rather than doing all the "heavy lifting" of designing a training program by yourself, you can invite your employees to offer ideas based on their specific needs and challenges. You can ask for feedback on which subjects employees feel they need more education, and be flexible in the structure of classes and workshops so employees feel like they're receiving valuable information but not falling behind in their job responsibilities.

3. Encourage Employees to Serve as Trainers

Provided it doesn't impose an undue burden, you can ask some of your stronger performers to offer training for their co-workers. If an employee has strong communications skills, Small Business Trends recommends that you allow this team member to host a monthly seminar on a relevant subject on which he or she is particularly knowledgeable. After all, other members of your team may be more attentive to someone they know and trust than they would be to outsourced trainers. Consider offering your workers incentives to lead these trainings and ensure these new job responsibilities are included in any applicable job descriptions.

4. Explore Mentoring as a Learning Opportunity

For small businesses with limited budgets, mentoring is a cost-effective method of training. First, you should assess the willingness of senior employees to serve in this mentor role and consider whether the mentee is open to this relationship. If the response is favorable, your next concern should be to make sure that the proposed mentor and mentee know each other and are comfortable together. You also want to ensure the relationship makes sense from a strategic standpoint. What does the mentee have to gain from the mentor? Then, you can ask them to can ask them to work together to develop goals, consider where and how frequently they meet, and figure out the best ways they can work together.

Successful training programs can help you to retain your current employees and attract new ones.

Tags: Employee Development Business Strategy Training