In-house training programs and workshops have become a norm in large and successful organizations to develop employee skills. Skill development and capability building workshops help increase employee engagement and satisfaction. At the same time, it helps organizations achieve business objectives and goals by creating a skilled workforce to meet the ever evolving needs of the customers and business. While large organizations and MNCs have the resources and budget to plan and implement programs to develop employee skills, small businesses either ignore or struggle to follow suit. Most often SMEs do not understand the importance of investing in skill development programs, while some lack the resources and budget. However if carefully planned, small businesses can work around these constraints and implement skill development strategies for their employees.
Here are few simple tips for small businesses to plan and implement skill development workshops:
- In-house workshops: Teams need to schedule regular in-house workshops where one of the team members, usually the owners or senior staff member, would be the instructor. They would be able to train other employees on key skills required for their business such as sales techniques, effective communication or use of office tools and software. Such workshops would be the starting point and would also serve as an effective medium to increase employee bonding. Teams can schedule these sessions once every fortnight or month to develop employee skills for specific requirements of the business.
- Online Courses: There are multiple online learning platforms available that offer online courses on almost all topics and skills. These include both free and paid courses and cover a wide range of courses including sales and marketing, customer service, software development, management, office productivity, leadership etc. Successful completion of selected courses should be linked to incentives and appraisals to motivate employees.
- External Resources and Workshops: As most successful organizations regularly schedule skill development workshops and have an annual training budget, they hire external resources with the required skills and expertise to train their employees. Hence, there are lots of training companies and even skilled freelancers that small businesses can hire. While this may require some investment, careful selection and negotiation will help hire the best external resources to meet the requirements. The advantage of using skilled external resources is that they bring along years of relevant experience and insights from similar organizations.
- Experts from your Social or Business Network: This is one avenue which most organizations ignore. However, this could offer a large pool of experts at zero investment. Most business owners and professionals are a part of various business groups and forums. They meet multiple industry experts and skilled professionals in such forums who could be invited for a workshop or discussion with employees. Such sessions can be very insightful and informative for the employees as they get to learn from industry leaders and experts.
A combination of these tips will help develop employee skills for small businesses. Along with selection of training resources, careful selection of courses and workshop topics is very important. Contact us for a training needs assessment for your employees.