The back-to-school frenzy has come and gone, and with children and adults of all ages seated in classrooms across America, it’s a great time to think about training your staff.
Even if your training budget is small, you can offer your employees some valuable learning opportunities. Consider these economical options:
- Cross-train your staff. Employees who can perform more than one role within a company make for a very agile and adaptable workforce — and you can cross-train for free. Ask two employees to train each other in order to handle the fundamental tasks of their respective positions. Rotate employees, and create job-shadowing situations.
- Start a mentoring program. Partner more experienced workers with newcomers. The mentor’s role is not only to train the employee in the critical aspects of a job, but also to offer advice on soft skills, such as communication, professionalism, and so on.
- Enlist your in-house experts. Each of your employees possesses special knowledge or skills that they could share with co-workers. Ask the administrative staffer who writes exceptional emails to give others a few tips. Or have your ace cold-caller to role-play conversations with the rest of the team. Or recruit a tech-savvy intern to provide computer or social media insights.
- Capitalize on the training you can afford. Perhaps you can’t bankroll sending your entire team to a seminar or an industry event. But could you afford to send one employee? Require her to take detailed notes and present what she learned to the rest of the group when she returns.
- Host brown-bag lunches. If you can provide lunch, great. If not, ask employees to bring one. Assign a topic that’s relevant to your business, and ask everyone to come prepared to discuss their thoughts about it and how it relates to their particular role in the company.
- Join trade or industry associations. Many professional organizations offer free training seminars, events, and programs to their members. If you can’t find a specific group, consider something like Toastmasters, from which almost everyone can benefit.