You have heard and probably said yourself that the people on our team are our most important asset. What have you done lately to invest in them? Do you have a clear development plan in place? Plans help both near-term success and long-term retention of employees. They need to include both short term 0-24 month investments as well as a rolling 2+ year plan. The plans must align to the business and employee needs with clear measurements.

Below are a few methods to develop your team and a template to track the budget and success.

1)    OJT (On the Job Training) – On the job training tends to have the greatest impact for direct skills. It consists of demonstrating a task, allowing the employee to perform the task and providing feedback until they have success on their own. One rather large mistake many people make is assuming “telling” is training. Unless the “trainer” has seen them perform the task satisfactorily, they are not trained. A big benefit of on the job training is the immediate relevance to job performance and high level of retention.

2)    Training classes and certifications – Sometimes it is better to attend a training class for speed and/or to gain skills not already within the organization. Some professional certifications have it as a requirement. This category also includes training focused on eliminating workplace harassment for managers and employees.

For skills related to performing a duty, it is important that the training take place as close to the time the new skills will be needed. The retention drop off rate is debated by training professionals. Some reference Hermann Ebbinghaus’s study in the late 19th century that indicates ~70 percent drop off in 24 hours if a person does not make a conscious effort to retain the information. The key for any course is relevance and the persons interest in the subject.

3)    Mentoring / coaching / job shadowing – Typically a person that is not the persons direct manager can act as coach and mentor. It may be a peer, manager on a different team, or an external consultant. The key is a person that connects with the individual they are mentoring and provides candid feedback. They need to be able to tell a person what they need to hear and not necessarily what they want to hear. Job shadowing allows a person to experience a day in the life of a person performing a role that they aspire to. This combination can be one of the most effective ways to grow an employee into their next role.

Think through

Spend the time and money to invest in your team and reap the dividends. Develop a plan that helps the business near term as well as develops your team to the next level preparing for growth and taking on additional responsibilities. Discuss and clearly identify the expected outcome and benefits of the training. Small business – keep learning and growing!

Tell me about how you are developing yourself and your team.

Small Business

About the Author:

Gregory Woloszczuk is an Entrepreneur and experienced tech executive that helps small business owners grow their top and bottom line. Gregory believes in straight talk and helping others see things they need to see but may not want to with a focus on taking responsibly for one’s own business. He and his wife, Maureen, started GMW Carolina in 2006.
Gregory has been fortunate to have been part of building teams for companies that went through hyper-growth as well as his own company. He also has experience in working through economic downturns and taking responsibility to fix what is in his control. The focus has always been working with partners, customers, and building a successful business channel. His range of experience includes marketing, sales, support, training, and operations. Gregory holds an MBA from Nichols College.