When starting a new business, there’s a good chance that employee IT training falls close to the bottom of the list of priorities. You have so many other things to worry about, and you trust your team to know what they are doing — after all, you hired them for your expertise — that you don’t have the time or resources to invest in formal training.
Successful entrepreneurs will tell you, though, that this isn’t a good long-term strategy. When your employees don’t have the knowledge and skills they need to fully meet your company’s IT needs, several things can happen that will negatively affect your company’s ability to grow and thrive. And just as importantly, not providing training also affects your employees’ ability to grow and improve, leading to dissatisfaction and costly turnover. In either case, the results are detrimental to your business, leading to one inescapable conclusion: You need to invest in training.
5 Reasons Why Training Matters
You might be thinking at this point, “But I do train my employees. They all learn how to use the systems we have in place from day one.” However, a valuable training program goes well beyond simply showing employees what they need to do to get their jobs done each day. Training gives them skills they can use to do their jobs better, and accomplish more for your company. With this in mind, here are a few good reasons to invest in training.
1. Training frees up your time. If you have to spend every day spoon-feeding your employees information they need to do their jobs, or putting out fires because no one knows how to handle problems as they come up, that’s time you aren’t spending doing other important tasks.
2. Training saves money. When your team has the knowledge and skills they need to manage your IT needs on their own, you do not have to spend money hiring outside contractors to do the work. Training also helps prevent costly errors, ensures that your network remains secure and operational, and reduces downtime, all of which can affect your business’s bottom line.
3. Training increases innovation. Giving your employees the tools they need to better manage your network, without having to struggle or muddle through complex tasks, can free up their time to work on more innovative projects. Training helps your employees identify efficiencies and better processes, giving them to chance to focus on higher-value projects that aren’t simply administrative.
4. Training creates an atmosphere of excellence. IT training gives your team the tools they need to feel more confident in their work, and creates an overall atmosphere that is focused on excellence and high performance. As individuals become more skilled in their work, and the business grows along with them, the whole team is likely to become more inspired and commit to increased performance as well. Offering training sends the message that you value ongoing learning and improvement, and that you value your teams’ contributions to the business.
5. Training improves employee satisfaction. Research has shown that employees, especially millennials, value the chance to learn and opportunities for personal growth as much as or more than any other benefit. When you offer your employees training options and opportunities, they are likely to be more engaged, more satisfied, more productive, and more loyal to your company, helping to keep your turnover rate low and costs down.
Training on a Shoestring
Even if you aren’t questioning the value of training (which you shouldn’t be at this point) you may be wondering if your startup can actually afford training. Some training options are expensive; sending your employees off to an intensive training program, offering tuition reimbursement, or hiring a trainer to come in and work with your employees may not be feasible at this point. However, those are not your only options.
Self-directed training is an effective and viable option for many startups. For example, consider subscribing to an on-demand video library that your employees can access for computer training online when needed; they can choose courses based on their current needs. Your team can also be a resource for each other. If one of your employees has a great deal of knowledge and experience in a particular area, ask them to deliver some training to the rest of the team. As your business grows, you can expand your training options.
The bottom line is that IT training should not be an afterthought for your startup. The sooner you create an atmosphere of constant learning and development, the better your company will be, and the faster you can grow. Your employees will be happier, you will be more innovative, and you’ll have more time to focus on other priorities.