What does your training plan look like?

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Please answer this human resource (HR) question: What is your business’ annual training budget?

While you’re chewing on that answer, let me point out that one of the important HR lessons we should take from our big business cousins is about their commitment to training. Too many small firms conduct training after a fashion, if at all.

Historically, big businesses have had an advantage in this area because they have the resources to pay for structured training programs and to give their people time away from their assignments to acquire training. But thanks to the Internet, and thousands of companies that develop and distribute convenient and affordable online training programs, small businesses can acquire training in a wide range of fields without breaking the budget and with a minimum of lost production. Training is an excellent example of how technology has leveled the playing field for small businesses.

So how’re you coming on that training budget answer? If you’re having trouble with it, perhaps we’ve found a good place to focus your attention.

Next HR question: Explain how your employee motivation strategy contributes to your company’s success.

Does that sound like a trick question? Well, it is only if you don’t know that the best way for your business to be outrageously successful is for you to have a strategy that helps your employees to be successful in their individual assignments, and then recognize their progress. And if this requires subordinating your ego and personal recognition, do it.

Remember Blasingame’s First Law of Aggregation: Your employees’ success in their assignments ultimately aggregates for, and accrues to, you, the owner.

Next question: In two words or less, identify the key employees in a small business.

Yes, it’s another trick question because the answer is everyone. Every member of a small business must be competent, versatile, and have a good attitude. Your company’s ability to compete will be diminished by the same factor as the percentage of your team who don’t fit this profile.

Identify the keepers, praise them, equip them, train them, and pay them well. Get rid of everybody else! Any questions?

What about acquisition and retention? Whether the unemployment rate is zero or 10%, good people are ALWAYS in demand. Find and keep the right people, invest in their training, and help them to be successful in their assignments.

Write this on a rock ...Make your company a GREAT place to work by committing to a comprehensive training program.

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Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show.  In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books; Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Personal Finance , Small Business

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