Any team that hopes to stay on top of its game needs to devote time to practicing, learning new skills and listening to its leaders. Being an independent retailer can be similar to being a coach in the sense that employees rely on their boss’s direction, planning and teachings in order to move forward successfully. Though many business plans focus on being able to do more with less, a certain level of investment in employee training is essential to a company’s health. This investment can come in the form of time, enrichment programs, technology, or all of the above, but regardless of the method, the result of educating employees properly is progress.
Time and training can both increase expenses for business owners, but the cost of a high employee turnover rate can be much more, leading to dissatisfied customers and a poor workplace atmosphere. When considering options in training employees, remember that the business will benefit from any effort made to help employees be better at their jobs, and not all training practices come with the same price tag. Sending employees through training programs tells them that they are an important facet of the company, keeps them up to date on standard practices, and increases the likelihood that they will stay with the business. However, there are other cost effective ways retailers can keep their training programs and still cut costs.
Networking, for example, is a viable approach to employee development. By connecting with other independent businesses in the community, the opportunity to discuss effective practices is created. Brief meetings and conversations about the industry can help employees establish what business practices are good ideas and what ones are not, without anyone having to learn the hard way. In addition, re-evaluating the structure of training can be beneficial. Rather than sending all employees to an expensive course or sacrificing the whole team to a staff development day, try selecting a smaller number of team leaders to participate in training classes, so that they might return to work and share new lessons with other employees. Not only does it save money, it fosters an attitude of teamwork and community throughout the workplace.
Finally, take a second look at existing practices and identify areas that can be easily adjusted. Are the current employee training courses offered at a facility that has less expensive alternatives? Are there other, shorter courses available? The answer is not to cut out training programs entirely, but rather to shift these processes so that they are more economical. Look into community college courses, trade schools or mentorship programs, or hold a meeting in which the company’s seasoned veterans have an open discussion about their knowledge. Seeking out alternate routes will help employees continue to grow with the company without the worries of time and expense.
As an independent business owner, every day brings a new set of ups and downs. Even at a company’s brightest shining moment, there is always more that can be done to improve the business. In the long run, having a strong, thoroughly educated team of employees is one of the greatest assets any business can have, and it is entirely within an employer’s reach to have exactly that. Remember to devote time and concern to the growth of employees now and the benefits later will be more than rewarding.