Published on 2013/10/09

Five Best Practices for Corporate Training in Small Businesses

Five Best Practices for Corporate Training in Small Businesses
Although corporate training is a short-term expense for often cash-strapped small business owners, it can pay off in spades in the long run.

Employees are the heart and soul of a business, and business owners must train and develop them so they can reach their full potential. After all, as an employer, you may spend a fortune on hiring the most promising newcomers, but if not trained properly, even the most talented staff will fail to deliver.

It’s not just about conducting training sessions, either; it’s how they are conducted that makes a difference. So here are some factors you should consider when conducting corporate training programs that can prove immensely beneficial for small businesses.

1. Formulate a good training plan

Formulating the right training plan is fundamental to your success. When you come up with a training program, ensure it answers the following questions:

  • Do my employees really need this particular training session?
  • What should be the mode of training — in-person or online?
  • Will my employees be able to transfer the skills learned during the session?
  • Will the training eventually be useful for the business and help it meet its goals?

It’s critical to ensure a strong training program is in place, one employees look forward to and that is advantageous to the company. If your proposed program doesn’t satisfy these conditions, it could be a waste of time and resources.

2. Begin early

Incorporate training sessions for your employees as soon as they’re on board. Training new employees is a surefire way for them to bond with senior employees and to make them feel they’re also a vital part of the team. By starting training sessions early, you give your employees a chance to immerse themselves in the company’s culture and build an environment supportive of their professional growth.

3. Liven up the training session

Adhere to this strongly if you don’t want the training program to become a drag. Sitting through a session where the trainer appears to be mumbling something from a corner of the room is ineffective. Come up with quizzes and games that’ll snap the employees out of boredom. Tell jokes; use humor. Try to make your session as interactive as possible. Introduce new learning methods and do away with any rusty techniques you’ve been using. Your employees should be energized and stimulated after the session is over, not cursing the trainer and wishing the session had ended sooner.

4. Promote continuous learning

Learning new things can be a challenge, so never cram everything into a single, long session. It can be physically and mentally exhausting to learn new skills all at once. Divide your training into smaller sessions, which will ease the learning process for your employees and help them build a strong skill base. Segmented training also promotes continuous learning, which can be a great asset to employees (and eventually the organization) because it helps them adapt to the ever-evolving business world by introducing new perspectives and skills required to tackle their job more effectively.

5. Go online

Be tech-savvy. Jump onto the IT bandwagon and conduct training sessions online. Web-based training sessions are quickly gaining popularity because they don’t take away employees’ work time and hamper productivity. Online corporate training lets employees learn at their own pace without them having to sit through an instructor-based classroom training. Institutes such as CareerStep offer online corporate training modules that can be customized to fit your business needs. Delivering training anytime and anywhere is sure to keep your employees satisfied and they’ll be eager to lap it all up.

Here are a few points to summarize how beneficial corporate training is to an organization:

  • Training employees shows them you’re genuinely interested in their personal development. If the employer is willing to invest in employees, it urges them to give their best to the organization, which can eventually lead to better productivity, happier customers and higher revenue. Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox Corp., sums it up nicely when she says: “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”

  • Trained employees will make fewer mistakes because of increased proficiency, whereas untrained staff can make serious errors, which can prove costly to any business.

  • Trained personnel are less likely to leave the company, and this reduces turnover. It reduces the cost of hiring and training new employees, thus positively influencing business growth.

Many business owners tend to view employee training as optional — and that can prove very costly to your organization in the long run. The moment you think of corporate training as an expenditure, you’ll neglect it. Think of it as an investment that can prove extremely important for the long-term development of your organization. Train your staff, empower them and reward them — and your business will only soar to new heights.

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Readers Comments

Jeff P 2013/10/09 at 9:18 am

Small businesses should consider investing in professional trainers to run their employee programs. I understand it can be expensive to hire an outsider to conduct staff training, but the trade off is the business gets someone trained in adult education techniques, who can ensure employees are fully prepared to contribute their best to the business. In other words, it can pay off in the end!

Yvonne Laperriere 2013/10/10 at 8:27 am

I’m just musing here. I wonder what kind of support, if any, is offered by any level of government for employee training in small businesses.

I believe the Canadian federal government is considering such a program, which they are calling the Canada Jobs Grant, where the government would match an employer’s contribution to staff training. Granted, the proposal has met with criticism, particularly from small businesses who feel the government is requiring too large a contribution to come from the business that the government later matches. But I can’t help but think their government is onto something with their idea of investing in employee development. Here in the United States, I believe there have been various efforts to introduce a similar program, but not on quite as large a scale.

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