By Rayan Omer
It has always been a dream of many people to have more efficiency while conducting business. For example, being able to renew a driver’s license online or getting prescribed medicine in the comfort of their homes.
COVID-19 has turned this dream into a reality with more businesses turning in-person transactions to apps. We see millions of meetings now moved virtually, e.g., Zoom video calls versus in-person. The education system has changed dramatically by featuring classes online.
Small business owners are no exception to this new trend. Employers have been teaching their employees new skills to adapt to their customers’ needs while maintaining the safety precautions required by law. It might be hard to foresee the value of training amid the financial crisis caused by the Coronavirus. Below are a few reasons why training your employees is vital for the success of your business.
Benefits of Training Your Employees:
The world is evolving
Change is the only thing constant. For example, new applications and software are created to make human lives more comfortable. Employees need to be up-to-date with all the necessary skills to adapt to the never-ending evolving world. The old fashioned way of doing business, like marketing in-person, might not work in today’s busy society.
It’s crucial for the success of any running business to attract and retain key-star employees. Generally, employees want to do an excellent job in their positions, thus, training your workers to do better in their assignments is critical to having them in your company or you may risk losing them according to the Shift Disruptive Learning.
When an employer involves their employees in business affairs, they gain experience faster and hone the needed skills to thrive in their jobs. Additionally, by engaging your workers, they will genuinely work on behalf of your company and care for the business as if it’s family. You took the extra step of investing in your employees' educational development. This engagement also makes them feel like they belong in your small business and not just a number.
Now that we know the benefits of training for small businesses, it’s time to figure out how employers can train their employees in the sphere of COVID-19.
Training Your Employees in the Sphere of COVID-19:
Define the plan
Before we start anything in life, we need to know where we want to go. It’s the same situation when we want to learn new skills. Employers need to articulate what expertise their training should include. For instance, are you taking orders online while your workers are not technology-savvy? Do they lack communication skills while business transactions are done over the phone? Know what skills are lacking or need to be addressed in training to have an effective and motivated training for your employees.
Level based training
When it comes to training, there is no one-size-fits-all, especially in a small business where employees are fewer in number. It becomes an advantage to provide skill training based on their level of expertise. Workers have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, a new employee might not be interested in an advanced marketing program for managers whereas a senior-level employee, who is on the path of becoming a manager, will be intrigued by such training.
In the era of the Coronavirus, we have to be flexible and remote in almost everything now. Life, as we know, has shifted 180 degrees. Small business owners need to provide options for different types of training in a unique way. For instance, have skill programs offered through an app, so your workers can learn at their own pace because training on a full workload could be overwhelming to your employees. Additionally, there could be 24-hour development programs that offer those skills during the weekend!
When conducting training on a low budget, employers might need to do the development learning course themselves to save money. But it's hard for owners to know every single detail of the job qualification while running the business. That's why it's essential to let your employees take the course. High-level employees already know the gritty skills needed to thrive in certain positions because they managed the business's internal operation. Having those skilled employees pass on their knowledge and expertise to the new employees will save you money from out-sourcing such training and make sure that it's the right type of skills needed for the company's success.
Soft skills training
Develop employees' interpersonal skills. Studies have shown that soft skills increased employees' happiness, productivity, and overall growth. Those skills might not be as valuable as the technical skills, but nevertheless they play an essential part in business sustainability. For instance, workers who can read a customer's body language or non-verbal communication will increase marketing for the business products, which increases revenue to the company.
Play with job rotation
Learning and personal development programs are better put in use when you rotate employees’ positions. This rotation helps in having all employees understand the different aspects of the company. Additionally, it aids when an employee is absent because other employees can fill in the gap easily, hence they know what to do. The rotation of employees in the small business based on their skill set and interest increases motivation and employee retention, as this circulation allows growth development and personal satisfaction.
While a mentoring program is not a traditional personal development program, it has proven to have great benefits. For example, when you pair mentees with mentors in their field, you create a culture-learning environment in your company. Employees feel valued because you invested in them. Those benefits extend to mentors as well. According to the Journal of Vocational Behavior, mentors had greater satisfaction in their job than non-mentors.
Small business owners must keep track of their training programs. To do this, they must have set goals of what they expect the training to achieve. For example, what sort of skills are needed and how do you measure their progress? If the development program is not working, then it makes sense to try something different.
According to Forbes, conducting performance reviews will enhance tracking the skills course milestones. You can ask employees about their learning progress, what they benefited, and what they think they need. Hence, if an employee is not interested in that skill, then the training will be obsolete.
An effective way to train your workers is by having employees take part in simulating each role scenario. For example, one employee can pretend to be an angry customer while another employee tries to diffuse the situation. This role play is a great learning experience since it takes the theory from the textbooks and puts it into practice. Additionally, the brain memorizes when it’s hands-on knowledge. Benjamin Franklin once said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Especially with Covid-19 and the social distances, online conferences are a very useful training tool. It teaches employees about networking, learning vast knowledge from different industries. The cost of such programs is minimal; you only need a good Internet to start.
Besides the benefits obtained from the learning and development programs to businesses, a Businesswire survey showed that 86% of employees demand such training because they fear their current skills would be futile in the future.
Small business owners know that a happy employee is a productive one, which means it’s good for business. According to Edsurge, there is short term affordable training to help workers succeed in their job duties. For example, there are Boot Camps for high and middle-skilled technology jobs or tech-enabled apprenticeships. For more on those development programs, you can visit Edsurge for more information.
Before embarking on the different types of training programs according to Ondeck, small business owners should choose one skill at a time for employees to master. It’s hard to learn various skills at the same time. Multitasking would not lead to perfection.
Additionally, owners need to build upon the existing skills their workers have. For instance, before advancing the skills, you need to make sure that employees have the basic building blocks to develop on those skills.
There are some types of developments that benefit all employees despite their job roles. Some examples are having communication skills, problem solving, and collaboration. It makes more sense to provide these sort of programs to all employees. To illustrate on immersion training, for instance, when it comes to problem solving, train your workers to use these five simple steps: identify the problem, brainstorm on possible solution, make a decision, implement and monitor the outcome. This type of immersion training helps employees regardless of their job level. For more information on problem solving, please check out Chron.
In summary, the benefits of learning and development are crucial to employees and employers' satisfaction because workers feel more satisfied and confident to do their job better. When you feel good in a job, it's hard to leave and start over, so small business owners can retain their crucial star employees.
Training programs are good for the business because owners are polishing their workers' skills and honing them. Especially with COVID-19, small business owners had to be creative to generate revenue and operate their business in these challenging times. Employers had to develop their employee’s communication skills and technology savviness to thrive in the social distancing era.
There are different ways to provide skills training within your budget, like mentoring and coaching. Let your senior, more experienced employees mentor those who are just starting a new role. Mentoring has proven to benefit both mentees and mentors to feel more purposeful in their roles. Allow employees to rotate with what interests them within your company. This rotation creates knowledge in all different aspects of the business and motivates employees. Additionally, just in case an employee is absent, your business won’t miss a beat because each worker can fit in just fine since they already know what to do.
Lastly, know what skills are needed or missing within your business. You can’t motivate employees to learn if they don’t feel they need this skill. An owner should definitely create an incentive for such personal development courses.
If anything, the Coronavirus has taught us that nothing is permanent. Things can change in a split second. People used to love owning businesses, being their own boss and creating revenue for themselves and their families. But this pandemic has hit small business owners harder than others. Some people were lucky to be still employed and have a salary while business owners didn't have a stable income to pay the mortgage or put food on the table. This blog's silver lining is that employers should invest in their business by providing skill training programs for their employees. Skills enable workers and owners to be versatile in life changes.
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