Employee Learning and Development - FAQs

Employee Learning and Development - FAQs

We answer common questions about staff training at SMEs.

By Marcia Smith

How do I chart a path for employee growth?

Firstly, you need to establish your aims for growing your business. Think about what skills are most important to your success, and what your additional staffing requirements will be when you expand.

Make your job descriptions as clear and concise as possible, and establish job categories with different levels (junior administrator and senior administrator, for example). Publish a staffing structure. Every employee should be able to identify what skills and expertise are required for the next level within their category. In small businesses, this degree of structure may not be as relevant, but in any case it is crucial that a manager makes clear to their employees that progression is possible and gives clear criteria for this to happen.

Develop a system for making raises and bonuses fair, and based on performance. Make sure your management processes include regular appraisals, so staff can get useful feedback on how they’re progressing.

What can I do if I paid for an employee’s course and they quit soon after?

The action you can take will depend on the terms of the person’s employment, or any other contract that exists between you.

Essentially, if you want to be able to recover the cost of the course, you need to have obtained their prior agreement that they would pay for the course if they resigned their position within a certain period of time. This period must be reasonable, and it must be based on the actual loss incurred by your business. The clause may be unenforceable if it’s intended as a penalty or a way of deterring employees from leaving – especially if you made the education course a compulsory part of the job.

Should small business owners be sceptical about the value of employee training?

For most businesses, the right kind of employee training will be a great investment. It can be difficult to put a firm value on training, but rather than being skeptical, small business owners should focus on working out what will add value to their company.

Training can give employees new skills. If these lead to increased productivity or quality, then the long-term financial benefits to the business are likely to outweigh the cost of the training itself.

Importantly, training can also help to increase motivation by improving employees’ confidence and engagement. In addition, it can demonstrate to employees that you value their development, which can boost job satisfaction, loyalty and employee retention rates. All of these factors can help to boost your profits.