Even the best employers in the world only have selection processes that are around 50% reliable – according to studies – which means that about half of the assumptions we make about candidates are wrong. This means that the person you hire will never be a perfect fit and will always be a work in progress – and if you want to get the best out of your new hires and employees you’ll need to upskill them.
1. Let them teach themselves.
Hire curious people, with initiative and with a track record for teaching themselves new things. Give them access to books and resources and these kind of people will teach themselves everything they need to know.
2. Allocate training time.
In the early days your business might not be cash rich, making it hard to find external training. Why not allocate paid training time which can be taken during quieter business periods? Better that they are learning than twiddling their thumbs.
3. Give bonuses or pay rises.
when employees learn a new skill. Identify competency levels, certificates etc.. that you want employees to attain and give them a bonus for reaching it. This will encourage them to self teach and also increase their effectiveness.
4. Share the knowledge.
Find staff in your organisations with high skills in a particular area and have then do mentoring or training of other staff with low skills in an area. Incentivize staff with a small gift of recognition for completing a successful training session.
5. Create trainers.
Rather than send 5 people on an expensive course, send one person with excellent communication skills and then have them come back and share what they have learned with the rest of the staff.
6. Lunchtime Lectures.
Have a very releaxed lunchtime lecture, perhaps once a month where an expert gives a presentation or update on their specialist area. Lay on a nice buffet to draw in attendees so they can lunch and learn.
7. Use Clients/Suppliers as Trainers.
Many of your clients may be highly experienced senior professionals and they may be prepared to come in to your office and deliver expert training to your staff as a means of networking and improving business relationships.
8. Turn learning into a competition.
Set learning goals and assign points and badges as people reach certain levels of competency. Make sure this is shown in a leaderboard to help create a sense of competition and reward those who get to the top of leaderboard first.
9. Encourage documentation.
One of the biggest barriers to learning in small businesses has to be lack of documentation. One person retains all the knowledge in their head and does not have the time or ability to teach others. Encourage staff to document processes, procedures and techniques so others can learn from their documentation.
10. Make use of elearning.
While traditional classroom training can be effective, there can be a huge amount of time away from the business, however, much of what is taught in the classroom can be delivered via elearning and be consumed flexibly in bite size chunks at a time to suit.