There’s no skirting around the issue, we all have a limited budget within which we have to operate! And whether you are a large business that’s been going for years or a tiny business operating out of your garage the budget will never be enough for you to get what you want. Even if you are a large business that is doing quite well under the circumstances, there are always things you need to improve and so you need to make the most of the one infinite resource you have, your employees! The fact of the matter is that every employee you have is a valuable resource, not just there to fulfill a particular role! You can make a lot more of their skills if you let them spread their wings a little. And while it’s difficult to develop our employees on a cheap budget, it’s usually a temptation is to send them on training courses, which aren’t only expensive, but also take precious time out of your day to day business dealings and will impact on productivity. So how can you nurture and develop your employees without denting a hole in your budget?
The Notion Of The Mentor
This is a very difficult one to implement because people’s duties are spread quite thin in every organization now. But in having a mentor who is experienced within the industry (not necessarily within your organization) is a useful tool to share experiences, insights, and can help your staff progress at a decent rate. By the same token, a coach that can come in and deliver workshops with your staff on varying subjects, from customer service to marketing tactics (or general common sense issues like productivity) is something that doesn’t eat away at your time so much. So you can up-skill your staff and get them back to work quickly.
The great benefit of the Internet is that there is so much free information out there. The downside to having access to so much information is that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin, so it makes more sense for you to tailor your online learning capabilities with your staff by using E-Learning courses or facilities that help your team to train remotely on topics that are beneficial for your business. The most obvious advantage of remote learning is that it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your business time and on that rare occasion where a staff member is stuck for something to do, they can make the most of these online courses. The benefit of online learning now is that it is tailored for people that need to digest information quickly. There are plenty of videos that are around 10 minutes in length which condenses is the information in easy to learn chunks which is better than your staff members plowing through dense textbooks.
Applying The Information Learned
The important thing about learning information is knowing how best to apply it in real life scenarios, which can be difficult (unless you plan on giving your staff exams)! One of the best ways to apply what someone has learned is to workshop it, or to starts a learning and recap session for your staff members once in a while. A lot of startup companies make the most of a “lunch and learn” session on a weekly or monthly basis, where individual team members share their knowledge with everybody else. The goal would be for every single team member to give an informal presentation on a particular aspect of the business which is their skill set. So it serves the purpose of getting that staff member to apply what they have learned, but also to encourage debate and discussion among the staff members which also helps to solidify working relationships. The point of the sessions is not to be a boring PowerPoint presentation but to encourage a dialogue to help every person in the business to develop their overall skill set. If you’re a good manager, you have hired people who are skilled at one specific thing. But it’s the sessions where you can help them to build on their existing qualities which will improve your business infinitely, especially when it comes to working as a team. Many startups can suffer if there is a break in the chain. For example, if a staff member is off ill, so by having other people acquire an overall knowledge of the company it keeps the business running smoothly.
This is a training technique that has grown very popular over the past few years. The idea is that the younger employees mentor the more senior colleagues. This is shown to work in an organization with a diverse range of staff members, and the benefits are twofold. Firstly, by using a younger employee who is relatively inexperienced in comparison to the old-hand you are giving them a bit more confidence. And secondly, at the same time, you are giving the more experienced employees new skills they haven’t been able to learn before and are keeping them up to date which benefits your business. Doing this is a great combination of bringing younger and more inexperienced members of staff something to get their teeth into while also rounding off the skills of the more senior members.
Learning on the job doesn’t have to require sending your colleagues to a week long course in the middle of nowhere. Between every single member of staff, you have the skills needed to keep the organization productive and cutting edge. If you have done your job correctly at the hiring stage, you have taken people on board that is able to contribute something unique to your business. So once you employ the right learning methods, it should be plain sailing. So as each member of staff learns a little bit more from each other as well as the right resources you are creating a solid team that will enable your business to take off.