Sometimes if you’re running a smaller sized business, it can be hard to make the time for everything you want to do. Running with a smaller team doesn’t mean you’re any less busy, and some things can start to slip while you focus on growing your business and your revenue.

One of the things that can start to get forgotten pretty quickly is internal training! Even if you run a training company yourself, it can be quite easy to forget about the training that your team needs as you’re always focussing on delivering training to your customers.

We’re here to show you that training is vital to help your team and your business grow, and you need to find a way to make the time for it in order to ensure that your business is performing at its best.

As we said, we know making the time can be hard, but we’ve got some tips to show you how you can squeeze internal training into your working week without sacrificing your customer-facing operation.

Plan Smart

Events notepad

The first stage of scheduling all the training your company needs to complete over the year is to actually sit down and plan what training will need to take place. First you need to consider any mandatory training that your company or certain members of staff will need to complete, as you don’t have a choice about completing this, and this will need to take priority when scheduling your training. This could be things like fire safety training for the whole office, or first aiders topping up their training to make sure they are up to date, but it’s important that you keep updated with all this training or your business could get into trouble, or even be breaking the law!

You need to think about what training you would ideally like your team to complete. This could be specific training courses you have in mind for the whole business, such as team building events, or training for specific team, such as a management course for all the recently promoted or employed members of the management team. This should also include training that staff members have raised they would like to complete as part of their personal development, as it’s important to give your staff a say in the training they complete to see what direction they would like the role to take.

Next think about what times of the year are unavailable for training, as you’ll need to plan around these. This could be things like Christmas, over the summer as chances are a lot of people will be on holiday, or any particularly busy periods you have as a business. Things like busy periods may be different from team to team, so make sure you take your entire workforce into consideration when you make your plan.

Now you should be left with a really clear idea of what times of the year are the best for scheduling in that training. Once you’ve mapped out the mandatory training, you should have a clear idea of what other training you will actually be able to fit in, and what might have to wait until next year. You obviously don’t want to overload yourself with lots of training just for the sake of it, because while you may feel it looks impressive, it’s really just going to end up wasting a lot of people’s time, so really think about what training is needed right now, and what can wait or just won’t be achievable.

Once you plan out how much time you actually have free in the year, you will see there is quite a large of chunk of time for you to fit your training into without having a negative impact on your team’s work or output. It’s really easy to just say, “Oh we’re too busy for that,” all the time, but it’s important to plan out the time and show yourself that actually you have lots of time – as long as you plan in advance!

Create Personalised Learning Plans

Sticky Notes

A great way to plan out all the training each staff members needs to complete is to create a personalised training plan for everyone in your business. This is not only great for you when it comes to planning what needs to be done and when, but it’s also a good idea for your staff, as they can see exactly what is expected of them. It will also give them a clear idea of exactly how much training they will have to attend throughout the year. This means that your staff won’t suddenly be overwhelmed with lots of training, as they will always know what is coming, and can plan their work around it.

Administrate allows you to create learning tracks for all your staff members within our software, which is a training plan that shows which training you need them to complete, as well as which order it needs to be done in. You can create events for all the training you schedule in, so staff will always know when and where they have to attend training. You can also include eLearning in your learning tracks, even if they have no specific set time or location, so all the training you have scheduled in is always covered.

Limit Your Classroom Sessions

Man Studying

A really quick and easy way to make sure you can fit your internal training into your busy schedule is to try and limit the amount of classroom sessions you do and opt for eLearning instead. We’re aware this isn’t always possible with every kind of training, but when it is possible, it could be the perfect solution!

Classroom sessions usually mean your staff losing a huge chunk of time out of their day to complete the training. While the training is obviously worthwhile, staff can simply view it as an interruption to the work they need to complete, and therefore losing half a day or a whole day at a time isn’t ideal. Trying to learn in big chunks like this can also be quite overwhelming to some people, which means they won’t retain all the information that was covered in the training sessions, which could lead to them being quite ineffective.

There is also the fact that they can be challenging for you to schedule. If you’re trying to book in lots of training for lots of different staff members, that means checking lots of calendars, working around staff holidays, and rearranging training sessions if people are off ill, which can be a huge headache before the training has even started!

eLearning is much easier to organise, as all you need to do is set up access to the training courses you want for all of the staff who need them, and the training is just waiting there for them to access – no scheduling needed!

This means staff will have a set amount of time to work through the training courses, but they can complete parts of the training whenever they want to. So they can work away at little bits all the time, and then complete larger chunks of the training when they have a more lengthy bit of free time.

It also means they will have the training materials to refer back to if they ever need a refresher in the future, so even if they don’t retain all the information the first time around, with eLearning they will have another chance to gain the knowledge they need to.

Share the Knowledge

Apple dressed as teacher

Training doesn’t always need to come in the form of long training sessions though, you can gain knowledge from lots of different situations. If any members of your team attend things like trade shows or conferences, it might be a good idea to arrange for them to share the knowledge with the rest of your team.

This could be something as simple as sharing any videos or slides from the event, or even preparing a short presentation to share with the team and cover any key learnings they came away with.

Events like trade shows and conferences are typically quite expensive, and it’s not always going to be possible for everyone who wants to attend to actually go. Money aside, there is the lost time aspect of sending lots of people out of the office for a couple of days as well. So sharing what was leant after the fact is a great way to get value for money and make sure everyone is up to speed on what was learnt, even if they didn’t get to attend themselves.

 Make it Social

Smiling Woman

A great idea to be able to fit in some extra training is to do it during lunchtime, or even after work. Obviously training like this would have to be optional, as it’s not ideal to force people to come to training in their free time. However, if you make this sort of training more fun and focus on the social aspects of it, you may be surprised by how many people will actually attend.

Here are some suggestions for some more relaxed, social learning sessions you could look at running:

  • Book clubs – Arrange to read through an industry related book and meet up to discuss it.
  • Lunchtime learning meetings – A chance for team members to get together and discuss a specific topic.
  • Learn one, teach one sessionsLearn one, teach one is where everyone in the group takes a turn to run a training session where they impart their knowledge on a particular topic on the group. Everyone can take turns teaching sessions, and it means that the audience will get the chance to learn about lots of different topics which other members of the team are experts in.
  • Petcha Ketcha sessions - Petcha Ketcha presentations are done in the format of 20 images or slides which are shown for 20 seconds each. The presentation should be set up so the slides change automatically after 20 seconds, so presenters have to talk along with the slides and make sure they are sticking to the timings. These are great for snackable learning sessions, where team members can present on something very quickly and still share their knowledge.

The important thing to stress is training doesn’t have to be time confusing or feel stiff and boring, it can be a fun, social experience where you can both learn and share knowledge! Fun sessions like this give staff the option to attend additional training if they want to, and they can always dip in and out and just go to the sessions which interest them, rather than attending all the time.

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