How To Get More From Your Employee Through Training

Maximising Employee Return on Investment (ROI) Through Continuous Training and Development Programmes

Business sustainability largely depends on how we respond to changes that have a direct impact on bottom line performance as well as how we manage our resources through these changes. 

Hence, to a large degree, where your business finds itself tomorrow will depend on how much you are prepared to invest today in staff training and development.  Training and development include any learning opportunity that helps employees improve their skills and overall capacity to deliver quality service. It may or may not be related to their core area of work in the organization, but must improve their capacity to reason, relate, or lead as the case may be.

Your employees are the lifeblood of your business and sustaining their potential to perform means better bottom line results.  20th Century genius Albert Einstein offers some healthy advice in this regard that can be summed up as: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Beyond the obvious reasons, what are the other implications for your business when you make a dedicated investment in maximising employee potentials through training and development?  In this article we examine what we consider to be the reasons why it makes perfect sense to invest in employee training and development programmes.

  1. Training enhances staff performance levels

When your employees undergo training to improve their knowledge and enhance their skills it goes without saying that they will naturally be able to perform better.  This applies to each and every department and covers employees at all levels within the business.  Through training, your employees will automatically acquire a better understanding of your business, the industry at large as well as the function and purpose of the particular jobs that they do.

2.    Cross-training opportunities mean a better understanding of the business

If your business is structured in such a way that you have different departments, creating an environment that embraces collaboration among employees inspires members from different teams to learn from each other.  For instance, when one team is involved in a training session, even if it is a specific initiative, invite others from different teams or areas to also attend.  This will give others the opportunity to learn more about aspects of the business that they previously knew nothing about. 

  • Training minimises staff turnover

While a certain degree of staff turnover is normal for any business and new people who join an organization bring along with them fresh ideas and different perspectives, a high staff turnover rate can be disruptive and costly.  Spending the money on staff training and development as opposed to recruiting new staff is far more cost effective.  Not to mention that when employees realise that you are prepared to invest in their training and development needs they are more likely to feel valued and this means that they are less likely to seek employment elsewhere.

  • Employees who are trained feel more engaged with the business

Benjamin Franklin was quoted to have said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  The same applies to actively engaging with your employees.   It goes without saying that your employees will greatly appreciate any opportunity you give them to learn and grow.  Continuous learning keeps things from becoming staid and boring by helping to stimulate a flow of fresh ideas which in turn ensures that staff are sufficiently motivated.

  • Training helps employees stay abreast of new developments that invariably translate into business growth

Training ensures that employees stay abreast of any new developments within the industry, which, in turn translates into opportunities for business growth.  Staff who are informed of new developments should inform others within the business and keep everyone on the same page.  This will help to sustain a competitive advantage and ultimately improve customer service levels. 

  • Training improves your business bottom line

Engaging with employees through dedicated training programmes helps to improve your business bottom line in that by upskilling your employees, whether it is with a view to enhancing customer service levels or elevating technical knowledge, through training, your employees will naturally become better at their jobs which in turn translates into better bottom line performance.

  • Training enhances the reputation of your business

The perception around a company who cares enough about their employees to invest in staff training and development enhances the reputation of the company.  Staff and customers alike will see the company as one that is good to work for.  This, in turn, not only positively affects the hiring process but also augments sales and boosts the bottom line.
Train Your Team

  • Training upskills employees for promotion

Existing employees are familiar with the day to day running of the business and when it comes to considering promotions and placing individuals into key roles and positions of greater responsibility and influence it is natural to look within the company before hiring from the outside.  Not only does training ensure that employees are more capable, but also helps to identify appropriate talent within the organization.   Managers are then able to determine who should be considered for promotion and gain a better grasp of latent strengths and weaknesses. 

  • Training helps with succession planning

Dedicated staff training and development programmes should be a continuous process.  In terms of succession planning it can help to enhance employee skill levels when considering what types of leaders a company may need in the future, what industry changes and developments are expected to take place that can impact the business or what customers may need in the future.

Helen Fenton, Senior Analyst:  Business Optimization Training Institute (BOTi) www.boti.co.za

Start that Business

A Practical Guide To Start That Small Business

Many people want to start a business or one small business by the side but don’t know how to go about it. What I am sharing is based on practical experience on all the businesses I have started.

Please bear in mind that when you decide to start a business, it does not mean that everything will go as planned. That’s why you must put the necessary things together and ensure you do the best you can.

Here are some simple practical steps I took. Remember that it is a small business that eventually becomes a big corporation or company.

Steps To Starting

  1. Find a need: This is the first step I expect everyone to take. Don’t start a business for starting sake, ensure there is a need you are meeting. Money goes towards those solving a problem. People don’t buy a product they buy solutions per time. As long as it meets a need someone will always buy.
  2. Identify the market: Look for a location where that solution will be in utmost demand and also plan how to reach your customers. It may be door to door, phone calls, email etc. Your goal is to reach more potential customers. That one person said he needs it doesn’t mean it’s in high demand. You must consciously identify the right market, this can be challenging, but it’s doable. You can just conduct a little research or move around within the environment and ask questions. This is a research done on a very low budget by you or one other person to support you. When I started my businesses I moved around looking for suitable locations and where people will definitely need my services. It turned out to be the right market.
  • Design or make the product:  Build your first prototype product, test it and ensure its fine. This could be food or other consumables, accessories or services you want to render. For services, just write out what you want to offer as a service, how you want to offer it  and the benefits to your potential clients, I mean what will make them buy it.
  • Estimate cost: This includes all it will cost you to produce one product. At this stage don’t leave anything out, ensure everything is added, including transportation and other miscellaneous expenses as long as it’s an input to the product or services. This also includes the cost of man hour required to make one product or put the service together. Also estimate at the worst case scenario, the profitability and what your expectations would be. Don’t exaggerate things; this is also where you make your projections on sales or customer recruitment.
  • Identify your competition: Not everyone doing the same thing is your competitor. That you have identified a need does not necessarily mean that everyone will rush to buy, because there might be someone doing the same thing within your environment who has generated a strong customer base and doing the well. Also note that, that there are competitors doesn’t mean you cannot do the same business, you can always improve on what the competitors are doing and do it differently; that is innovation. With a better strategy you can dominate the market.
  • Rent a shop/Office if need be: Some products or services might require that you have a physical location or an office. You must however ensure that this is not a major cost to you. You can rent a shared work space if it’s a service, where you pay stipends monthly without incurring additional cost for maintaining the location. You can also partner with an existing business within your location if you are selling physical product and pay a fraction.
  • Raise the Capital: This is very important. When  you have done everything else,  then realize that you don’t have capital to execute, the business idea remains at the idea stage. The easiest way to raise capital is personal funds, friends and family. It’s always better to raise your own funds no matter how small then you can meet friends and families to help with the rest. But in meeting them you must show them value or give them a part of the product you producing, people always want to see the value in what they are giving. Show them you mean business by ensuring they get a copy or package of the product or service you render. It’s just like inviting someone to launch a product and you give them a copy. There are also government grants or agencies supporting small businesses, look for them and apply.
Billions
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  • Get ready & launch: Assuming you have gathered the required capital, you then start executing with the plan you have. When I mean plan, I am referring to all that you have written in the steps I outlined above. Then open to customers and start selling.
  • Monitor your progress: Most people stop at when they open and think now they have a business. You must monitor and plan how to monitor your progress, One of the mistakes I made earlier when I started out is I took accounting for granted and at a latter day couldn’t reconcile some of my books, especially when the business grew. I had to add additional person to take care of that aspect for me. You must track your sales, income, expense, bills and other things that keep the business moving, including when your team expands.

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To your Success

Lawrence Obi