Training and development can often seem like a daunting task for startups, for whom time, budgets and teams are all more limited than larger corporations. For many, the instinct to prioritise investments that directly affect the business can be overwhelming, and training employees can sometimes take a backseat. In many cases, training is not implemented effectively, or simply neglected altogether.
It is understandable that business owners may have concerns about investing time and resources into training their staff, rather than increasing their leads. However, it is important to remember that training not only creates a far more effective working environment for both employees and managers, but when done correctly, can repay its initial investment in the long run through increased productivity and performance.
The key to any business is its employees, and there are many reasons why continual investment in their development will lead to benefits for your startup.
Skills and process development
It’s expected that the early stages of starting a company will be a stressful and hectic experience, and it is natural to respond to this by rushing through tasks by whatever means necessary. Employees that are not trained in any kind of universal methodology, or are not trained at all, will often turn to their own individual methods in order to complete their tasks. If this works, it can be hard to stop simply making up the rules as you go.
Though this method may seem advantageous at first, as it can create a sense of urgency and creative energy, this is not necessarily true in the long run. Without training, many of your employees may not be acting either appropriately or efficiently for their particular role. In the UK, it is thought that 49% of workers do not feel they possess the correct skills for the jobs they have, whether they are underskilled or overskilled.
Having overskilled employees may sound advantageous at first, but even this soon becomes an inefficient use of labour if other members of staff have gaps in their skill sets. For overskilled employees, there is a danger of these individuals taking on extra work, and carrying the weight of those that have not received adequate training to complete their tasks efficiently. Not only is this not an efficient use of labour – especially for a startup – it can also create tension between co-workers in the long run that can negatively impact the business.
By investing in your employees and training them properly, you are ensuring that every single member of staff possesses the skills that they need, and are setting a valuable precedent that will positively affect your current and future employees.
Ensuring that your employees are fully trained and possess the right skill sets will not only improve efficiency within the workplace; it is also proven to help drastically improve productivity. Good productivity is vital in any business, but for startups – where turning a profit as quickly as possible can determine if a company has a future – this can have a much bigger impact.
Though a lack of productivity can result from a number of factors, including sickness and absenteeism, training and development is a vital tool in ensuring a productive team. In fact, studies have shown that investments into employee education can yield more productive results than investing in upgraded equipment or resources. It is thought that the income per employee is as much as 218% higher at companies offering comprehensive training programs than those without formalised training.
A well-trained employee is an extremely valuable asset to any company, and staff members that are knowledgeable and confident will perform tasks quicker and more effectively. These skills can yield tangible benefits such as an increase in profits, and their drive and creativity will create opportunities for future expansion and growth.
Staff turnover can be a costly and time consuming process for any employer, especially when a business is in its infancy. On average, it is thought that an employer would need to spent the equivalent of six to nine months worth of an employee’s salary in order to train their replacement. For a startup organisation, the cost of staff turnover can have serious financial setbacks, and can even delay business expansion if suitable replacements cannot be found.
In startup culture, there is often a sentiment that new employees should be “thrown in at the deep end”, rather than given the time to learn and cultivate new skills through adequate training programmes. Though encouraging new employees to find their feet on their own alleviates a certain level of responsibility from the employer, this is a major reason for staff turnover in the early stages of employment.
Training is not only vital in ensuring employees feel confident in their job roles; it also ensures that they have the opportunity to progress within their chosen career. Young employees in particular want the reassurance that they have a future in their current employment, and that their employer has the intention of helping them achieve their goals. In fact, research shows that a full 40% of employees who don’t receive the necessary job training will leave their positions within the first year.
In order to help ensure your employees’ next career moves remain within your company, it is important to invest in their future. By giving them the training and skills that they need in order to progress, you’ll increase their contribution towards the business, and retain increasingly valuable assets
While a healthy amount separation between work and life is important, many people also feel the need to connect with their work, their employers and their fellow employees in order to feel content in their jobs. This is especially true of millennials, young people and graduates, 59% of whom would prefer a healthy social environment in the workplace to a high salary. Fostering this sort of environment is not just beneficial to employees, either: cultivating employee satisfaction has positive financial benefits, and can increase productivity by as much as 12%.
Fostering a sense of loyalty and community within a company doesn’t necessarily have a one-size-fits-all approach, especially for businesses that have been established for a long time. Startups however have a unique opportunity to instil positive habits and values from the start of the business, encouraging a sense of staff loyalty and comradery through the training and development process.
By showing your employees that are you actively willing to invest in their education, especially in the early stages, you are allowing them to feel as though they are vital to the future of the company and its success. In a sense, you are helping them to feel as though they are truly part of the company, rather than just a number on a spreadsheet.
Though training may be an obvious solution to some issues with running a business, it is still an asset that startups are quick to neglect, and often the first thing on the scrapheap when time and financial constraints hit. While finding the right strategies for your business can take time and research, it is ultimately an investment that will aid you both financially and logistically, and reap benefits for years to come.
This post was submitted by Thanet Training Centre, a provider of affordable, quality training & meeting facilities in Kent and further afield.