Man Presenting GraphWhile you know the importance of continuing to develop your own knowledge about running a small business, have you given much thought to helping your employees with their own professional development?

Whether you see a high employee turnover at your company or simply want to help your staff feel more invested in your business, training and education programs can help. In fact, 25% of employees say they would feel more satisfied on the job if they had access to these types of programs. And who doesn’t want satisfied employees?

Step 1: Decide What You Can Offer

Not everyone can afford to send their staff to Harvard for MBA degrees. But no matter what size your budget, you can offer some sort of professional development to your staff.

Take into consideration what your staff wants. Not sure? Ask them. You can offer in-person development workshops, online programs, business book clubs, and more. But you want to decide on a development program your team will actually engage with, so it helps to know what their preferences are.

Step 2: Decide Who Gets Access

Do you want to open up this development program to all employees, or limit it to full-time staff or employees who have worked at your company for a year or more? While you don’t want to exclude people from accessing this opportunity, you do want to make it something people aspire to participate in. Also, if you offer it to people who end up quitting after three months, you’ll have wasted your investment.

Step 3: Get Specific on Your Offerings

With the input you got from your staff, refine what your employee development program will look like. Here are some possibilities:

  • Tuition reimbursement to encourage staff to seek a higher degree
  • Course reimbursement for continuing education courses
  • Online training programs like Lynda
  • One-on-one training to prepare an employee for a promotion
  • Business book club where members discuss and learn from key business books

Step 4: Spread the Word

Once you’ve got your employee development program in place, get your staff excited about it. Let them know how much you value them and how much you want to help them succeed professionally. Whether they take you up on the development opportunities and stay with your company for years or use that training for the next step in their careers, you want to be supportive, either way.

Step 5: Get Feedback

As your professional development program grows, get input from those that have participated in it to see how you can improve it in the future. This feedback will be important for helping you with employee retention.

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