Large corporations can spend enormous amounts on education and employee training programs. Typically, the family owned portable storage company normally doesn’t do that despite the importance of its employee’s ongoing training and development.
It’s vital that employees continue to learn and providing education is another way to retain talented employees. While most employees go to work to make a living, those with drive and ambition also want to get to the next level in their careers. If you provide meaningful education and training to your employees, you also foster engagement in the business. If the employees know that there is a way to move up the ladder or enrich themselves through education, they’ll be more enthusiastic about the company and the company’s progress.
How do you teach your employees and what do you teach your employees?
While there are many different educational programs a company can purchase (ranging from HR, Accounting, Safety etc.), start with some of the basics of your business. Look at the key numbers of your company. How do you as the owner measure success? Portable storage container rental is a very simply business, if you rent out your containers at good rental rates and your customers pay you timely the company is doing well. Therefore, teach the employees to understand these key numbers.
- How many containers are out on rent?
- What is our average rental rate?
- Which customers aren’t paying us?
- What is the average delivery distance?
- What is the average delivery cost?
Display vital business information
I visit many companies in the industry and often suggest that there should be a billboard with simple key data for everyone to see. Regardless of whether it is the owner, the accountant, the mechanic or the driver, they should all know how the business is doing and what is changing. If you post basic information, such as the numbers above, on a regular basis in visible places and talk about them with your employees, you’ll get engagement, input and suggestions from your employees.
Teach your employees things that matter to them
We live in a fast-moving world; the average person has a complicated life and he or she often doesn’t understand how to evaluate the many options they have. Therefore, teach your employees about things that matter to them. How to best finance a car purchase? How does life insurance work? What are my health insurance options? How can I affect my credit rating and why do I want to do that?
Give your employees time for education
Show your employees that you are committed to educate them but you also want their commitment to learn. Time is of the essence and everyone expects that the company education is on company time. To show employee commitment, split the educational time between personal time and working hours. For example, if your work day ends at 4:30 PM, have the education sessions between 4 PM and 5 PM. Half of it on company time half of it on personal time.
Show the owner’s commitment to education
In most small owner operated businesses, everyone looks to the owner for guidance. Therefore, take charge of the educational sessions, by being present and if you know the subject, be the instructor. If you mix that up by bringing in professionals for subjects you don’t feel comfortable teaching, your employees will show a lot of respect for you.
Listen, Listen and Listen
Listen to what your employees have to say during the educational sessions. You’ll learn a lot about what matters to people and that information can be used to improve your business. It is one of the few times when they can speak up about their concerns without being in the boss/employee situation. They may not speak directly but you’ll understand the questions that are related to the business and the ones that aren’t.
Many companies need people with certifications of various types. When you give your employees time for this type of education, encourage them to take courses outside of your place of business. You may lose some employee time but your employees are exposed to another environment other than at your place of business and they will bring new views and ideas back to you.
A lot of young people go off to college because they are told it is the thing to do and a lot of them never finish college because they never had a goal to begin with. A few years in the working world can help people formalize their goals and give them a reason finish their education. Show your commitment to those employees by offering time or contribution towards their tuition. By doing this, you will build loyalty and commitment among your staff and you’ll benefit from having employees with knowledge of the latest from the academic world.