Getting and keeping top-notch employees has become more difficult than ever. As an employer, you may need to work a little harder to attract the right people, and then mold them into the staff your organization needs. That is where staff education and training comes in.
Why Provide Staff Education?
There are many good reasons to offer thorough training and extra educational opportunities to your employees. Here are a few of the biggest benefits.
To ensure redundancy.
When each staff member is in a knowledge silo, meaning that they are the only person who knows how to execute key functions, your company or organization can find itself in serious difficulties if that staff member quits, has to take a sudden leave of absence or has some other sort of emergency. Training employees in the duties of other staff members is essential to providing the flexibility you need in times of crisis, staff losses or sudden growth.
Better trained and more competent staff can serve your clients and customers more efficiently and with more positive outcomes. Errors are reduced, which also helps your bottom line. Having truly knowledgeable staff can give you an edge over your competition because customers definitely notice and appreciate good service.
Improved staff attraction and retention.
Employees that are better prepared feel more confident and less stressed. When employees feel supported by management and given the tools to advance into higher positions, it builds loyalty as well. Yes, there is always the possibility that an employee will use your staff training to leverage themselves into a new position elsewhere, but in general, providing free educational opportunities to staff is the type of perk that attracts good prospects and keeps them with you.
Types of Education You Should Be Offering Employees
Staff education starts with a thorough orientation process that ensures that new employees know all the basics of how your organization is run. Be sure to review your orientation process from time to time to see if it could use updating or include any new protocols. Automate as much of this process as possible, but make sure the documents, videos or any other materials can be easily updated as needed. Have someone available to answer the questions of new hires. It can be overwhelming to be a new employee, so offer one-on-one human support to ensure that new staff feel confident to hit the ground running.
You need to ensure that at a bare minimum, all essential tasks can be covered by at least two members of your staff in case one employee becomes unavailable. But the more staff members that you can train to know how to handle important functions, the better. Keep a detailed manual of all the most essential company knowledge with information on how to involve IT support if anyone is ever locked out of programs due to missing passwords and the like.
Key staff should also write up a detailed document of all their duties and how and when they are carried out. These documents should all be stored in a centralized location where they can be easily retrieved if an employee is ever suddenly out of the office and unreachable. These documents should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.
Every organization can benefit from the perspectives of industry experts outside the company. Consider bringing in a speaker who can update staff on the current state of your field and help you plan for the future. Allow your staff to ask questions and brainstorm about what they can be doing to grow the company and adapt to new trends.
Job-Specific Training and Education
If you have a staff member that has an interest in taking on more responsibilities, offer to pay for the training they will need to effectively assume their new role. It could involve management and leadership courses, skills training in video editing software, web design, accounting, and so on.
Get ideas from your employees. If you let your staff know that you are open to sponsoring their continuing education, they may come to you with great ideas. A marketing intern may have an idea about using social media to leverage product sales and may ask to take an online course in Pinterest marketing. A new salesman may realize they could benefit from better presentation skills and may want to take a class in creating professional visual presentations. And so on.
Other educational opportunities you could offer:
- Assisting staff to get their professional licensing;
- Covering the costs of conferences and weekend workshops;
- Subscribing to a service like LinkedIn Learning so that staff can study any topics they think might be beneficial;
- Hosting in-house seminars and classes.
Employee training pays dividends to your organization. Consider making ongoing education a priority for staff retention and growth.