Recently, I sat down with Sam Allert (CEO of Reckon) to pitch some upcoming blog stories, and our conversation took a turn to one of his passions: staff training and education. We ended up deep diving into the topic with small business owners in mind.

Workplace training is often undertaken at the advent of employment. No matter what business you’re in, if you’ve ever hired an employee, you’ve likely given your new inductee on-the-job training to ensure they’re up to speed and apt to perform the functions of their role.

This initial training is basically a necessity but is often performed in an ad-hoc manner then tends to end abruptly, shortly after onboarding. After that, employees are expected to perform the duties demanded by their role and pick up on the job any skills they might lack.

This is a mistake!

So, let’s run through the immense benefits of continued training and the types of training you can offer to become an employer of choice.

Training is an investment, not an expense

Before we examine the myriad of benefits of continuing staff education, let’s dispel the myth that training is an expense.

Depending on your business type, certain modes of staff development may indeed come with a dollar value. But you’ll find that when properly executed, training will produce dividends beyond the sticker price or time taken.

Drawing on an old saying from Henry Ford, Reckon CEO Sam Allert likes to say,

“Why invest the money to train my staff and then they leave? Because it will be way worse if you don’t train your staff and they stay!”

1) Well trained employees will help grow your business

This may sound obvious, but by continuing to train your employees, they will become better and better equipped at what they do in your business.

Your business is only as good as your people, so try to be an active part of making them great. This will flow down into making your business great.

Imagine if every interaction your customers had with your business was a little sub-par. What would that do to your customer loyalty, brand standing, and bottom line? It wouldn’t be positive.

2) It will increase staff morale

If you spend some time and resources training and upskilling your employees, you’ll instill a sense of value in them which leads to higher morale and increased effort on their part.

Employees that feel that they are worth the time their employer has taken to upskill them will inevitably feel more valued and naturally want to produce better work. The effect of this will be increased pride in their position and a sense that they want to perform at their peak in return.

3) Build up your team to take on more responsibility

If you want to build up an employee for a management position or to take on greater responsibilities, training is a must.

When you’re trying to fill a role that demands more responsibilities than your current staff are undertaking, instead of recruiting externally, you should first consider upskilling your existing staff.

Doing so is more cost-effective and will result in having a star manager that knows exactly how to perform the role underneath them – because they used to do it. You can’t hire for that.

When more senior staff fully understand the workflow of junior employees, their efficiencies and ability to manage effectively will be significant. Furthermore, those who are trained and promoted will be much more likely to be retained for longer – nobody likes to stagnate in a role.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

– John F. Kennedy.

4) Educating your employees is fantastic for retention

Speaking of retention: there’s a sage adage that declares it far more expensive to onboard a new employee than to retain one.

According to the Work Institutes’ 2017 retention study,

“it costs as much as 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace them.”

So, crunching the numbers – let’s say your employee was earning $60,000 per year: that means it would cost around $20,000 to replace them, which is not chump change. The ironic thing is, some of the ‘replacement’ costs are directed at training a new hire, so why not pre-empt this eventuation and spend a smaller amount on training and maintaining your current staff member?

Of course, it’s not all about direct costs. It also takes a significant investment of time and energy to hire a new employee and then get them up to speed. Not to mention you may lose customers or intangible connections and knowledge that your exiting employee possessed.

5) Can staff training actually reduce overheads?

You may not realise it, but another case for providing staff education is that well-trained employees are naturally more resourceful and efficient. Let’s say you have a café – a well-trained employee will waste less milk and beans and be more mindful of maximising the use of products and supplies.

6) Increase the consistency of your business

Of course, a well-trained staff member will also execute their role with speed and diligence. Not only will you have a more efficient workplace, but you’ll also have to spend less of your time and energy overseeing tasks.

This also speaks to uniformity. When you have regular training instilled in your business model, all of your employees will be on the same page and doing tasks identically, no matter who is on shift.

7) Become a better business owner

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.”

– Phil Collins.

By training and educating your staff, you too will be learning. You’ll not only learn more about your own employee’s strengths and weaknesses, but you’ll also keep a finger on the pulse when it comes to work processes and tasks.

By teaching others and answering questions, you may notice inefficiencies or better ways of doing things. Your new inductee may even point out better ways of doing things.

A world of opportunities for enriching your workforce

Training doesn’t need to be expensive courses or paid study leave. By just creating a regular calendar of onsite training, you’ll reap massive benefits (not to mention enormous respect from your employees who’ll value your investment as much as you.)

Some of the primary types of training include:

  • On-site training
  • Management training
  • Sales training
  • IT and systems training
  • Mentoring
  • Personal development

Whichever way you go about it, make sure that you pay serious attention to upskilling your staff with the resources you have available.

Always remember – training is an investment, not an expense.