The experts at Corbel share their views on staff training and how to get the best results from it;
We’ve all heard the old Chinese proverb: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.’ Well, that’s the approach we take at Corbel: ‘Train a techie in a piece of software and they’ll support that customer. Train them on the product portfolio and they’ll support the whole enterprise.’
For most forward-thinking business owners, signing off on staff training is often a no-brainer. After all, it increases their value to you, and is a good way to help them feel appreciated and important.
However, before you sign off on training, it’s important to decide what you want to achieve for your company, your customers and your employees. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting money and productivity.
Understand what your customer base needs from you. We’re a technology business, so you’d think keeping our staff up to date with the latest ‘bleedin’ edge’ advances in our industry would be a must. But we have to consider what our customer base needs from us. Is it likely that our staff are going to be dealing with the latest technology on a regular basis? Because from our customer’s point of view, being on that edge can become ‘bleedin’ expensive’ to support, and not necessarily beneficial to their business needs.
That’s not to say that we don’t invest in R&D training for our staff. We do, and regularly. We just take a pragmatic approach to training that gives our people the skills that will best benefit our customers.
What kind of training will benefit you? For us, that means any training our staff take must involve practical elements that will have direct relevance to the job they do. This ensures our staff can then take their training out into the field with them, and deploy it for the benefit of our customers.
We train our employees in pairs. Once they’re fully trained, we then get them to mentor others on the team. This way the training cascades down through the business. It invests our employees in the process and gives our teams the opportunity to bond whilst they share their knowledge.
Incentivise self-development for your employees. With so many quality training resources available online these days, encouraging self-development in your staff can pay dividends. However, to do this properly, you need to be capable of and prepared to give your employees the time and space to complete the process.
At Corbel, we encourage our staff to proactively identify what they could do to improve themselves, and then find opportunities for training. If their request makes sense, we’ll put aside a good chunk of time for them each month to focus to training.
Sometimes good old-fashioned team building is good for everyone. Yes, ‘team building’ has its connotations of outdated 90s outward bounds courses, but it still has its place in the modern day.
We recently did a ‘ready steady cook’ night out with the whole team. It was a blast. We escaped the usual confines of our HQ and were taught how to survive and forage for food in the great outdoors. And later, as we cooked the Salmon we’d caught in our net, it was a delicious reminder that training can make all the difference to what you can achieve as a company.
To find out more about Corbel, including their IT training courses, visit www.corbel.co.uk