Why investing in staff training is key to growth

There’s a formula for HR success, and it involves paying less people more money and providing them with training and development. By Stefan Kazakis.

There’s a formula for HR success, and it involves paying less people more money and providing them with training and development. By Stefan Kazakis.

If you want to keep your staff, investing in their training and development is non-negotiable. Good salaries and a good reputation might attract them, but they won’t keep them. By definition, the people you want to hire will be curious, bright and hard working. How long do you think people like this will stay if you stick them in a corner and forget about them?


You must invest in their training. I suggest a minimum of about 120 hours a year of appropriate training for each staff member. Once again, consider it an investment, not a cost. The money you spend on the right training for the right people will more than pay for itself.


Here’s a simple formula for you to keep in mind: Fewer people + Paid more + Right training and development = HR success.


Business owners are sometimes concerned that if they train their staff too well they will leave, wasting the time and money invested in them. If you think the only possible outcomes are train them and they leave versus don’t train them and they stay, you can’t win. You either create good staff who go elsewhere or keep staff and watch them stagnate.


But there is a third possible outcome: you train them well and they stay. If you do the right thing and look after your staff, you won’t have to worry about them leaving. Create the right environment. Challenge them. Train them. Pay them well. Give them responsibilities and opportunities for growth and advancement. You won’t even have to have the conversation. I know well-run businesses that have had staff members stay for 20 years. This used to be the norm, but it is just about unheard of these days. Make this long-term staff retention a goal of your business. Training and development increases both performance and loyalty.


Building for the future
You’re not building for today, you’re building for the future. So if you are only now considering how to implement a training plan for your staff, I suggest you take a step back and ask yourself the following two questions about each member of your staff:


  • Would you enthusiastically re-hire that person if you had the opportunity?
  • Do you think that person has the potential to be the best person in their position in three to five years from now? Think about where your business will be in three to five years. Does that person fit your plan? Will they be the best person at exactly what you need them to be doing? You can’t get to where you’re going in three to five years and then have to start building again because you didn’t arrive with the right people.


If you answered no to either of these questions, you have to think long and hard about why that person is still with you. I regularly see business owners struggle with making decisions about removing staff. Too often workers are left in place because the boss can’t find the courage to get rid of them, or they think they’ll get better despite all evidence to the contrary, or they are just not sure they can find somebody else better.


Hiring great people is a numbers game. A business that has established a solid reputation will attract the best. It’s a magnet. Ask yourself, did you get a lot of A-grade people applying for the last position you advertised? When hiring, you need to make sure you are truly selling your business and its vision. You need to sell the business to potential employees with the same vigour that you use to attract potential clients in target markets.


Stefan Kazakis is founder of Business Benchmark Group and author of From Deadwood to Diamonds.


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