How to Find the Time to Train Your Staff
You will learn
- The importance of planning ahead
- How to manage your time
- What your options are to outsource your training
As a business owner, you will have many things on your plate. You will be out at networking events; meeting clients and potential clients; coping with the administration; sorting out accounts; chasing debtors; managing staff; recruiting staff. The list can be endless. Amongst all of these tasks and obligations, you also need to find the time to train your staff. Making the time to develop and train your staff is imperative in order to sustain productivity and motivation.
There is no easy answer or "one size fits all", as the solution will depend on what your staff member(s) need training in, and what resources are available to you. However, the following tips may help.
- Manage Your Time - I know from personal experience that I can always improve on this, as I am a brilliant procrastinator given the chance, and so I have to be disciplined in how I manage my time. How you manage your time is entirely up to you, but some basic tips are to:
- Prioritise tasks so that you are aware of what is urgent, and what needs doing first.
- Delegate tasks, if you are able to, so you can concentrate on what is really important.
- Watch for the time bandits. Emails can be so time-consuming, the natural inclination is to reply straight away. Instead, look at other strategies like answering once or twice a day, delete the rubbish, do not copy the world in, etc.
- Learn to say no. It is not impolite to say no, so long as you do it in a good manner. Do not agree to see everyone, talk to everyone, or try to do everything.
- Use a diary – it does not matter if it is on your phone, on your computer or on paper. Block out time for things and keep to it. It is not always that you do not have the time, but rather, you are not making time to do it. To learn more about how to successfully organise your time, take a look at our article on priority management.
- Make sure meetings are kept to a minimum and are productive. If someone is chatting, but you have tasks to complete, politely let them know.
- Make Staff Training and Development a Priority – To me this is obvious, but it often does not seem that way to some business owners. This is not usually because they do not want it to be or that they do not care, but often because they are a little unsure or lack confidence. By making training and development a real priority, you will find the time and resources that you need to make sure it happens. If you pay lip service or ignore staff development, other, often less important things, will take priority.
Plan Ahead - When you are looking at your plans and objectives for the year (or more) ahead, include a section on training your staff in those plans. You will have information from appraisals and one to ones about your staff, their strengths and weaknesses. Using this, you can see what developments your staff want and need, who the participants will be, etc. From here, you can work out how you are going to resource it, and put your arrangements together. Once this has been completed, you will be able to focus on time management, and schedule staff training in your company's trajectory.
- Outsource – Using someone from outside the business could be an option. Yes, it is an expense, but a good consultant should work with you to make sure you have the tools and skills to do it yourself, once they have completed their work. You can use consultants to develop training manuals, deliver courses (more on that later), help you put a plan together, mentor your managers, etc. Further, it could be a productive use of your expenses, as it will also allow you to be available for other obligations. That said, if you use a outsourced professional, this should not excuse you from your obligations to your staff to also train and develop them.
- Training is Not About Courses – I am a believer that sending people on courses is not always a good use of time. There are occasions, of course, when it is entirely appropriate, but be sure to research other methods that can often be just as productive. For example, focus on training yourself and your managers to be coaches, and then use them to help develop your staff. Further, use your one to ones effectively in order to obtain information about the needs of your staff. From here, you will be able to to coach and mentor your staff in the right areas.
Training your staff should not be an afterthought, ignored or lost in the middle of everything else you do. It should be an integral part of your business and given the priority it deserves. If staff training is a priority for your business, you will be amazed at the amount of time you find to do it.