Retaining employees can be tough as a small business. Trying to compete with annual pay increases just isn’t viable when you’re growing your operations. But fear not. A 2015 Glassdoor survey found that four in five (79 per cent) employees would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase. Specifically 19 per cent said that they would prefer on-the-job training and professional development.
So where do you start?
Talk to Your Employees
Don’t assume that older employees aren’t interested in technology; younger ones already know social media or that employees only want to learn skills pertinent to their day-to-day activities. This might not be the case. For example, your marketing person may want to learn some web development skills, so that they can understand the capabilities of your website when talking to developers. The best way to see what your employees are interested in is to ask them.
Assess Your Business’s Needs
Make three lists. The skills your employees currently have. What they want to learn. And what skills your business needs to grow. Identifying the gaps shouldn’t be hard.
Find a Training Provider
Training can come in many forms. It can be employees training each other, local community colleges, industry associations, online seminars and courses and more. Ask your network for recommendations of who they have used for their training.
Remember People Learn Differently
Not all training methods will work for everyone. While some prefer self-guided online tutorials, others need more of a hand-on approach with a live person. So take different people’s learning styles into account as you plan their training.
You may worry that the financial investment in your employees will not see a return, as they will just use those skills to find a new job with another employer. But a study in The Wall Street Journal found that employees that received training were actually more loyal to their company, as they saw chances for advancement. Not necessarily promotions and raises. But moves to other roles, new projects or mentoring. The most important thing is that once training has been given, provide employees with an opportunity to use it.
Training can be costly, but with the help of the Canada-B.C. Job Grant, you could be eligible for financial assistance. The program can provide up to two-thirds of employee training costs (a maximum of $10,000) for each employee trained per fiscal year.
Additionally, if you are expanding your team and employing a previously unemployed person, you could be eligible to be reimbursed for 100 per cent of the training costs, up to a maximum of $15,000 per fiscal year, for that employee.