As a small business owner, your employees are a crucial factor in your success. How can you provide the training they need to keep their skills up-to-date-without spending a lot of money? Here are 10 tips for employee training on a budget.
- Assess their needs. What do your employees need to learn-both for their current jobs, and to move up in your company? Equally important, what do they want to learn? Employees will be more motivated if they have a say in the training they receive.
- Join the group. Industry associations and trade organizations offer a variety of training options, including conferences, seminars, certifications and more. Take advantage of these learning opportunities.
- Cross-train. Have employees train each other in how to do their jobs. Not only will your staff learn new skills, but you’ll benefit by having backup when one employee is out sick or on vacation.
- Go online. A simple online search will reveal a wide range of online webinars and training courses, many of them free or low-cost. This can be a great way for employees to learn at their own pace and when it’s convenient for their schedules.
- Brown-bag it. Host weekly brown-bag lunches at your business where you or other employees talk about a topic of interest. For instance, the person who handles marketing at your business could explain how your company uses social media and how employees can participate.
- Send them back to school. Community colleges and adult education programs offer lots of courses relevant to your employees, from how to use specific software to accounting and marketing classes.
- Read all about it. Have everyone on staff read a business book on a topic that will help your business. At the end of the month, lead a lunch meeting where everyone discusses the book and what they learned from it.
- Start a mentorship program. Having experienced employees mentor younger ones is not only a good way for novices to learn, but also a great way to ensure the knowledge and experience of older workers is passed on.
- Spread the wealth. Can’t afford to send an entire department to a particular training program or conference? Choose one employee who’s a good presenter. Have that person attend the program, then come back and train the others in what he or she learned.
- Visit the SBDC. Talk to your local SBDC’s Business Advisors to find out about training programs and solutions offered in your area.
Rieva Lesonsky is founder and President of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Before launching her business, she was Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com.to sign up for her free TrendCast reports.