Having knowledgeable, well-trained employees has a positive impact on productivity, customer service, and revenue for businesses of all sizes. However, many small business owners consider employee development to be an option, rather than essential, to their business growth. Unfortunately, failure to provide adequate and effective training can lead to sub-par performance, costly mistakes, and employee retention issues, all of which can hurt your bottom line.

Research has shown that seven out of 10 workers say job-related training and development opportunities directly influence their decision to stay with a company. Yet, according to another study, 74% of employees surveyed felt they were not achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.

Employee development is more than a business expense, it’s an investment in your company’s future. Budgeting and planning for staff education and training is a must for small business owners who want to improve efficiency, retain top talent, and establish and maintain a company culture that is inspiring, challenging, and rewarding.

Identify Goals and Outcomes

To be truly successful, an employee development initiative must begin with clear goals and measurable outcomes. Define your company’s short- and long-term goals, such as increasing productivity or enhancing customer service, and identify education and training opportunities to meet these objectives. You may also want to identify weak areas where targeted training would prove beneficial, like operating machinery, time management, or employee relations.

When planning your employee development efforts, include opportunities that will allow your team to better understand and embrace your company’s mission and brand. Something as simple as regularly sharing customer success stories and best practices can go a long way towards helping your team align with the values that fuel your company’s success.

Invest in Quality Training Tools and Resources

Your training program should be informative, engaging, and beneficial to your employees. However, you also need to weigh factors including time, quality, and cost when considering the wide variety of tools, resources, and opportunities that are available.

Working capital financing is a viable option for small businesses looking to cover the costs associated with purchasing training programs, attending workshops, and hiring outside professionals to provide education and expertise. Summit Financial Resources offers working capital loans that involve using your accounts receivable and other assets as collateral. We can mix and match from a variety of product options, including invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing. Funds can be used for any business expense, which means you can provide the breadth and depth of professional development your team needs, when they need it, without impacting your cash flow.
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Include a Variety of Development Options

There are numerous ways to provide training for your team. Mix things up by looking for opportunities to create customized programs to suit employee schedules, responsibilities, and learning styles as well as your budget. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

  • Send employees to seminars or bring in consultants who can provide training that is in line with the newest standards or innovations in your industry. This will equip your team with the skills and knowledge to become better professionals and make your business more competitive.
  • Develop your own training programs by leveraging technologies that allow you to combine content and develop visuals to build courses, or save time by purchasing existing tools from training companies whenever possible.
  • Outsource training to a firm that specializes in a particular area, such as accounting software systems or workplace harassment.
  • Investigate local colleges and community organizations that may offer affordable professional classes in the evenings or during the workday.
  • Budget time and money for select individuals or teams to attend industry-related conferences, seminars, and workshops. This will not only help staff learn new skills and gather ideas, but it will provide opportunities to build confidence, foster camaraderie, and develop relationships that may benefit your business.

Launch an Employee-Led Education Initiative

One of the best ways for employees to learn is from each other. Launching an employee-led education initiative will empower your staff to take charge of their own professional development and inspire them to share their knowledge, skills, and experiences with their coworkers.

Allow employees to determine the structure of the program and submit their own topics for consideration. Make sure that all staff are given the opportunity to contribute and that information is provided by a range of departments and individuals.

A lunch-and-learn program is a great way to encourage employees to take time away from their desks during lunch breaks and put that time to good use. In addition to providing a setting for specific training programs, lunch-and-learns can be ideal for introducing new products or services, announcing upcoming company changes, or having an open dialogue about issues related to diversity, inclusion, and making your workplace a safe space.

Allocate time for cross-training so workers in different departments can exchange information about their job responsibilities. This will help staff gain a better understanding of how the business operates and discuss ways they can work together to be more productive. Informed and engaged employees are naturally motivated to ensure your company’s success – as well as their own.

Working Capital Financing is a few clicks away.

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Summit Financial Resources specializes in working capital financing for small to medium-sized businesses that need increased cash flow. We provide working capital financing through invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing.