How small business can implement effective L&D

by John Hilton14 Dec 2015
One major thing small businesses can do to maximise their L&D opportunities is to take advantage of e-learning and internet access, said Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Business Australia.

“It’s self-explanatory, they know what they are doing, they get a score at the end, they can actually serve customers in between in some cases and they can do it in their quiet time at work,” Strong told L&D Professional.

“The other thing with the beauty of the internet is you will often see several people sitting around a computer looking at it. This includes staff members teaching each other how it works.”

Strong added that inductions work much better using technology than they used to do, while the other area that is coming along is safety and health.

“However, in some cases it’s confusing, and in some cases the safety and health training is being done to meet the needs of regulations, not to actually make the place safer or more healthy,” said Strong.

And that’s something particular industry groups are focused on trying to rectify, he added.

But this technology does make training easier to access, and for employees and business operators it means that they can get their qualifications or get the skills they need faster than they might, he added.

“So those people that have been innovative and done that have done very well.”

The training plan

It might be time-consuming drawing up a training plan but it is really worthwhile, said Strong.

“If you have got the money to pay a consultant to come in and do it, ask around and get a good consultant. Not someone who is going to spend 20 days doing something that could take one,” added Strong.

He told L&D Professional that it’s particularly important to draw up a training plan that’s flexible.

“It must be one that gets the skills to your employees that you want them to have, not what the trainer wants to give them,” he said.

Then stick with the plan, and try to assess it every couple of months - certainly at least quarterly, he said.

Strong added that it doesn’t take long, and it’s just a matter of checking what people have done and what skill levels they have reached.

“Sometimes you can even ask one of your staff to do that for you. It’s a good thing for them to have that on your CV that they are managing the training plans. And they will take that seriously, so it’s not hard,” he said.

“Normally, the harder it is, the bigger the business. It’s just the task that often gets forgotten when they are managing cash flow or looking for customers. But it’s something that you can put aside and say: ‘Alright, let’s spend an hour on this and the rewards will be there'.”