In a start-up, the issue of employee training either comes up very late or not at all as you are building the business. Development and learning takes the backseat as the focus is on attracting customers and developing your product or service. This is why startups usually go for skilled talent who are already trained, but you will eventually need to focus on how to handle employee training in your small business.
A good number of owners of most startups have come to regret the fact that they did not put more focus on developing a learning culture early on. Start-ups grapple with limited time and resources but still must find ways to train and develop their employees. Even with a limited budget there are ways you can judiciously develop your staff.
Microlearning today is offering small businesses the chance to approach employee training in a whole new way. This includes the use of audio/visual content, personalized for every employee to do at their pace, which is very different from the traditional employee training programs. The courses are short and usually specific to employees and niches. With all kinds of microlearning programs and strategies out there, you can definitely begin your business and right away incorporate micro learning strategies.
Even without access to traditional corporate training programs, employees can still be trained at the beginning of the business. This includes encouraging them to share the most interesting information, topics, trends, books and new tools, among others, related to their daily duties monthly with the rest of the team. Perhaps the business can formalize this by ensuring a few employees have spoken about various topics of choice every month at a lunch and learn activity for your entire team.
The start-up’s blog is a wonderful resource to encourage learning among employees beyond being a perfect lead generator. Encourage your staff to keep contributing to the organization’s blog to showcase their understanding and expertise in a specific field. This also has the effect of increasing employee buy-in and employee engagement. Apart from ensuring the employees perfect their brand ambassador qualities, you also encourage them to learn more about the topic and add value in the posts.
Free Online Courses
In about every niche there are free online courses. Rather than wait for months or years until the “right” time to invest in employee training, you might want to encourage employees to make the most of these free resources relevant to the work they are doing. Perhaps creating a target of two online courses annually is a great idea. For employees who have completed the course, a special appreciation should be acknowledged.
Bring Speakers from Outside
There are so many motivational speakers and successful people in your industry ready to offer free talks or speak for a modest fee. Dedicate two hours a month to bringing in outside speakers to inform your team.
Competitions can help employees blend and develop together. Quizzes and other challenges can be scheduled every six months relating to the industry with a few prizes given to the winners. Competitions are not just educational but also a lot of fun.
Employee training might not be a concern while you are just starting but a learning culture can be created right from the beginning. If you encourage it as a habit, training does not have to be a class-based, dull affair.
Brigg Patten writes in the business and tech spaces. He’s a fan of podcasts, bokeh and smooth jazz. His time is mostly spent learning the piano and watching his Golden Retriever Julian chase a stick. Follow him on Twitter @BriggPatten.