The dangers of letting staff training fall through the cracks

SME owners sometimes fail to realise that their few staff members often have a bigger impact on the success (and failure) of business than they would in a larger organisation. Staff training, performance review, and measurement, therefore, should be considered as crucial as sales and delivery. They are intertwined. Making sales or delivering customer service poorly undermines the investment in staff, which will often be the SME’s largest cost to bear. Also, too many SMEs don’t have the clearly defined staff training in place that bigger companies do. The simplest way to start this is from day one of the recruitment process. Before hiring expensive management consultants and bringing in training companies an SME owner can follow a few very simple steps, which will set them on the right course. Unlike larger organisations, staff retention in a small business is absolutely crucial, not least because of the cost but the productivity time, so training leads to greater performance and happier employees, who are likely to stay longer if they are best equipped to do their jobs properly.

Simple steps SME owners can take to deal with staff training:

  1. Making training a priority as part of the job role. It has to be equally as important as compliance, reporting on progress and delivery. This needs to be a defined part of the recruitment process and instilled from day one.
  2. Mapping out for each individual member of staff what should be their standard of performance so they know what they’re aiming for from this outset “this is what success will look like”.
  3. Performance review, and recognition of meeting those goals is crucial. A reminder to staff of what they’re doing right acts as a motivator and catalyst for further improvements.
  4. MOST importantly, focus on the strengths rather than the weakness of the individual. Larger businesses have the luxury of doing both. When you’re an SME you hire staff members because they bring something crucial to the table so find a way of supporting what they do well and strengthen.”