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4 Types of Training Your Small Business Is Missing Out On

7 Min Read

The worker skills gap is real. And your employees might not have enough up-to-date knowledge on what matters right now. This is why it’s necessary to implement sufficient means of training in your small business.

In fact, many employees struggle because they haven’t been able to keep up with the needs of the modern workplace. Ironically, you might not realize they’re having trouble staying ahead of the pack. However, your company’s numbers will show that there’s an issue.

For instance, your customer conversion rates might go down without any obvious reason. Or your Net Promoter Scores could begin to fluctuate strangely. Perhaps you notice that team members seem to be working harder but turning in fewer projects. If you can’t find an obvious answer to these signs, consider the possibility that you have a skills gap challenge.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to fix this issue with the right education. And here’s some excellent news: A move toward more corporate-approved training could pay off. As a LinkedIn Learning survey shows, 94% of participants said they’d stay with an employer that provided professional development opportunities. In other words, a little learning can lead to serious loyalty.

But which topics make the most sense if you’re committed to upskilling your team? Below are a few types of training that can help bridge the breaches in your group’s collective knowledge.

1. IT and AI Training

Even if your workforce skews younger in terms of overall age, your employees may not understand tech concepts. (Remember: They’re tech natives, but not necessarily tech experts.) This can leave workers feeling looped out, not to mention hesitant to embrace or understand the full scope of IT or AI efficiencies. The answer is to make self-paced or structured tech-based programs available.

Training experts at IBEX have seen how giving workers a path to IT certification can boost a company’s competitiveness. According to IBEX’s research, 90% of tech professionals stated that IT certifications directly correlated with a more effective workforce. Nearly everyone needs to interface with advanced platforms sooner or later. 

Bottom line? It behooves you to make sure your workers are comfortable with emerging tech-related concepts. 

2. Soft Skills Training

Critical thinking. Problem-solving. Communications. They all fall in the bucket of so-called “soft skills.” Yet they’re surprisingly hard to get right. 

You may have overlooked your team members’ soft skills in favor of more “nuts and bolts” abilities. Now, it’s time to push forward and address gaps in the softer areas of working, managing, and coworking.

Take the concept of empathy, for example. Hosting online or office-based workshops on empathy can increase camaraderie between coworkers. It can also boost the comprehensive level of empathy in your workplace. As of 2020, only around two-thirds of people told BusinessSolver their employers demonstrated empathy. One way to make empathy more present in any organization is to give everyone the tools they need to practice it. That way, they can fuel a sense of compassion and understanding for each other, not to mention towards customers.

3. Leadership Training

“Leaders are born, not made.” Like many old sayings, it’s not true. Yes, some individuals seem to have a knack for leadership. However, plenty of workers have developed their leadership acumen over time.

You may have future leaders in the mix at your small business but not know it. One way to let your diamonds in the rough shine through is by making leadership training available. Leadership training can take both formal and informal shapes. As an example, you may want to set up a mentorship program. 

Mentoring allows senior leaders to transfer their knowledge to up-and-coming colleagues. Pair a winning supervisor with a budding leader and you could be halfway to meeting your succession planning and growth goals. Just make sure both the mentor and the mentee understand expectations upfront. You might even want to work with a consultant to create a one-of-a-kind, branding proprietary mentorship experience.

4. Data Analysis Training

We’re all living and working in the era of Big Data. What does that mean to the average employee, though? Sure, your team members can collect and arrange data. Yet the data won’t move your company forward if no one quite understands how to make sense of what it shows.

All the data points in the world are useless without more insight. Even charts and graphs can give false impressions if you’re not careful. The last thing you want is to base any corporate decision on data that’s been incorrectly interpreted.

You may have to bring in someone from outside your company for this type of training. Look for a data analyst professional who can bring the art of curating and analyzing data to life. Not everyone on staff needs to know about data. Nevertheless, be sure people from marketing and sales are involved in this key training.

Instead of worrying that your team’s education isn’t what you need to scale in the coming years, take the initiative today. A few simple surveys can help you identify skills gaps among your personnel. Once you know what’s missing, you can plug in the holes with training to lift all your ships—and sail successfully ahead. 

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for Smallbiztechnology.com and many more major media outlets.