Nearly one-third of team turnover is due to “unsupportive leadership and a lack of development opportunities.” This statistic, gleaned from Work Institute’s 2018 Retention Report, says a lot. It speaks to the fact that for many employees, professional growth is important.
At Truevo, we invest in training and development. Our superwoman, Joelle Merheb helps us to do this by identifying skill set gaps and ensuring that those gaps are filled by people who already work for Truevo. She is also responsible for administering leadership promotion programs in the form of psychometric testing and coaching, with a particular focus on employees who show an aptitude for leadership.
We chatted to Joelle about training and development in the context of a small business, with regards to both employees and business owners themselves. Here’s what she had to say:
In the context of a small business, how important is it to invest in training and development?
“As a small business owner, you may not yet have considered the strong correlation between staff retention and the availability of training and development opportunities, but there is a proven link. According to one study, over 70% of candidates changed jobs after not receiving career advancement opportunities in the form of training and development. Employees in small businesses are no different. The majority of staff are invested in furthering their careers in some way, upskilling themselves, climbing the corporate ladder and reaching their goals of better remuneration, more responsibility and better prospects.
It is very important to invest in training employees. As Richard Branson said, “take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.”
Small businesses might focus on other priorities, and budgets might not be allocated to training employees, but that can be a missed opportunity. By growing employees, you are growing your business. One of the biggest mistakes that employees or even managers tend to make, is to hold onto knowledge, thinking that it’s guaranteeing their value within the company. I’ve found that this is not the case. Letting go of knowledge by sharing it with others, teaching them, training them and getting them up to speed, allows the person to focus on other new responsibilities, and grow their career.
Training is the responsibility of the whole company, not just a dedicated person or a team. It’s a mindset and a culture where people can hold each other accountable for growth.”
What are some simple ways that entrepreneurs can upskill themselves?
- Offer opportunities for continuous feedback and act on them. Your employees are sources of valuable, inside information. They might detect opportunities or even threats before you do. They might have amazing ideas, so why not offer them the chance to contribute? They will feel more involved and this will motivate them to keep contributing to making the business grow.
- Stay on top of what’s happening in your industry. You can do this by attending seminars, taking training, maybe hiring an executive coach or even reading books. Don’t fall into the trap of, “I am too busy” or, “there is no time for that,” or even worse, “If I get my staff trained, I’ll be okay.” In a position of leadership, actions speak louder than words, so lead by example.
- Take improvisation workshops. This might seem strange I know, but improv classes give entrepreneurs the space to practice interpersonal skills, get in touch with their creativity and think outside of the box.
What are some of the biggest challenges that small business owners face when it comes to being upskilled and upskilling their staff?
“The biggest challenges can be external, such as budget, time, deadlines and so on, and there can be internal challenges as well, and those are more difficult to overcome as they need a level of awareness and a will to change.
When talking about budget, or time or deadlines, we are talking about external pressures that might stop us from upskilling our team in a specific time or period. Being aware of these hurdles and working towards allocating more budget or time for training is a way to solve these external challenges.
When talking about internal challenges, we focus on the individual (any employee no matter which position they occupy), and what is stopping them from being upskilled. We ask questions like, “is there a problem with the training topic or training material? Is it a lack of motivation that is getting the employee to lose interest and not focus during training? Is it a culture problem where learning isn’t much encouraged? Or is the employee facing a personal blocker? If so, then what is it and how can we support them?” There are many questions that can be asked here and what matters is getting to the root cause of it and fixing it.
Personally I don’t encourage managers to sign up their employees for specific training just because the training is available. Have a discussion first and understand where the skills gap is and set a plan on how to get there. And if you’re reading this as an employee, ask for the training you need.”
P.S. Want a payments solution that does what it says it will do? Get Truevo. We can’t wait to connect with you.