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Professional Development for Your Small-Business Employees

By Amanda Sides on Jun 11, 2017

The 2016 Training Industry Report notes that $70.65 billion was spent on employee training and personal development. The report defines small, midsize, and large companies like this:

  • Small: 100-999 employees
  • Midsize: 1,000-9,999 employees
  • Large: 10,000 or more employees

That annual spending doesn't take into account what we might then call the smaller-than-small company: small businesses and their owners who read Growth Advance. Those small businesses of less (or far less) than 100 employees don't always have a need for extensive training or the funds to make it happen.

Small companies spent an average of $376,251 on training, which is far less than the average of $14.3 million spent by the large companies. However:

"Although small companies have the smallest annual budgets, there are so many of them (99,250), that they account for one-third of the total budget for training expenditures."

So what does this have to do with you, the smaller-than-small business owner?

Larger companies are investing big in professional development for their employees, and there's a reason for that. When employees have a path within your company for professional growth, they feel valued and they're more likely to stay with you as you grow your business.

With a limited budget, particularly if you're starting a new business, what can you do to offer opportunities for professional growth?

It might not be an option at all in the first year or two, but keep in mind as you grow that you don't have to send your employees to expensive seminars or invest in a training system you have no real need for. You can still give them opportunities to be better at their jobs, and it will be good for your business.

Go Online

Coursera offers an enormous variety of courses for free; to add value, pay for your employees to get the certificate for a particular course or a full specialization that can go on their resumes. 

Keep It Local

Watch for speakers and trainers that are passing through your city. You'll still have the cost of attendance to consider, but you won't have any travel expenses associated with the training opportunity.

Arrange Professional Trades

You might have a small-business colleague who specializes in social media management and needs your accounting services. Discount his accounting in exchange for a training session for your employees.

Reward Their Years of Service

Hiring a new employee takes resources, so you can direct the money you would have used to train someone new to reward the employees who stay with you with extra training opportunities.

Give Books

Yes, they can and probably do buy books on their own, but you can supplement their reading habits with books you've chosen related to their work and personal development. This is a simple way for a solopreneur with a network marketing business to invest in the professional growth of his or her downline.

Provide an Allowance for Training of Their Choice

You could allow this to be a personal development course in an area of their interest. Even if the training they choose doesn't directly relate to the job they do for you, it's an attractive little benefit in your hiring package, and if an employee is enjoying life outside of work, they'll have higher morale at work, too. 

As a small-business owner, what (if any) type of professional development opportunities do you offer your employees?

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