Employee training is not just for large corporations. Having a knowledgeable and well-trained staff can positively impact productivity, customer service, retention, and revenue for businesses of all sizes.

Many small business owners consider employee training optional, but it is actually an essential part of doing business. Once you hire the best employees for your business, you need to ensure they reach their full potential and contribute positively to your success. Training is more than a business expense: it’s an investment in your company’s future. Failure to provide adequate and effective training can lead to sub-par performance and costly mistakes that can hurt your bottom line.

Effective Training Starts with a Plan

Training new employees starts the day you provide them with an overview of your company’s culture, mission, and values. To provide ongoing job-related and professional development training for your team, you must make it a priority goal for your business and establish a specific plan. You can do this yourself or assign it to an appropriate member of your leadership team.

While you will have the final say over the curriculum your organization uses for training, your managers and supervisors must buy in to the concepts presented and go through the training themselves in order for it to be effective. Without the support and understanding of your company’s leadership, your training runs the risk of having little or no benefit to the rest of your team.

You may also want to give your employees the opportunity to get involved in the planning. Ask them what would help them improve their skills and develop as leaders. They will appreciate the fact that you value their input and are likely to have ideas you haven’t considered.

Identify Goals and Outcomes

To be truly successful, a training program 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 training to meet these objectives. You may also want to identify weak areas where training would prove beneficial, like operating machinery, time management, or employee relations.

When crafting your employee training plan, consider things that will help your team learn from each other and align with your company’s brand values. Something as simple as regularly sharing customer success stories and best practices can go a long way towards helping your team understand what fuels your company’s success.

Invest in Training Resources

Small business owners have options for developing training materials and resources. You will want your training program to be informative, engaging, and beneficial to your employees. However, you will need to weigh factors including cost, time, and quality when it comes to choosing the actual resources you will use.

Many effective tools can be purchased from training companies and, in some cases, customized to suit your business needs. You can also develop your own cost-effective training programs by leveraging technologies that allow you to combine content and develop visuals to build courses. There may be times when the best option is to outsource training to a firm that specializes in a particular area, such as accounting software systems or workplace harassment. You can save valuable time and money by taking advantage of existing materials and resources whenever possible.

Strive for Convenience and Consistency

Effective training is all about making it accessible and establishing a consistent schedule. Rather than squeeze all of your required training into a week at the end of the year, schedule sessions for several hours each week or on set days each month. Being consistent increases the chances that your employees will become committed to ongoing learning and the likelihood that they will retain more information.

It’s also a good idea to limit the time for each session to no more than 60 to 90 minutes. This will simplify scheduling and help prevent employees from experiencing information overload. To increase buy-in, make the training process as convenient for your team as possible. They should not be expected to put in extra hours or travel long distances, so be sure to conduct trainings locally and during regular business hours.

You can increase the odds that your employees will retain what they have learned by giving them opportunities to put knowledge into action. Always enable staff members to debrief before they leave any training session, and schedule follow-up meetings and check-ins to measure the progress they are making. Additional or ongoing training may be necessary to help staff refresh acquired skills or keep pace with industry or market changes.

Fund Your Training with a Working Capital Loan

Small business owners often use working capital funding to purchase training programs or pay 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. Working capital loans can be used for any business expense, which means you can provide the training your team needs, when they need it, without impacting your cash flow.

By equipping your team with the skills and knowledge to become better professionals, an effective training program ultimately benefits your business. Competent and informed employees will be motivated to do what it takes to ensure your success as well as their own.

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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.