Let's be clear. One of entrepreneurs' most important asset, if not the most important one, is people. Just listen to my guests on Inter:views and you'll quickly realize that it's a core topic of discussion. My latest episode is actually titled 'Put People First.'
Successful entrepreneurs know that without people they cannot scale their businesses up. They understand that without people their businesses don't exist.
Having said that, are you one of those business owners who hesitate to provide training to their employees because they're afraid that they leave? Their typical question is: 'What if I train my staff and they leave?'. Let me then switch it the other way around for you: 'What if you don’t train your people, and they stay?'
Indeed, what if your staff stay while they lack the skills to perform their job to the best of their abilities, because, since you are too scared they quit, you have decided that it's not worth it and that they should not be trained? I have met many of those entrepreneurs. Interestingly, I never faced that issue myself in 18 years running businesses for others. Of course, I had to deal with staff resignations, not because I was offering training courses and mentoring, but because, one way or another, I was not caring enough.
To train your staff or not to train your staff, that is not the question. The right question is: to be the leader or not to be the leader that your company and your people deserve?
"I see my role as creating an environment where my staff can deliver the best version of themselves that they can be.” David Cole, the founder of Ateliers Cole, on Inter:views episode 14.
If you regularly practice a sport, you easily understand that you need to put a certain amount of training hours in order to get better at it. The same principle applies with entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur, you are a leader by default, and as such, you are responsible to develop your people's skills so they keep on progressing. Competence is a basic human need and people want to feel competent. Instead of worrying about them potentially leaving, give them reasons to stay.
I'd like to share 5 easy-to-implement suggestions to create a learning environment within your company:
Ask your employees to read a specific book, listen to a particular podcast, or watch a video, then reflect on it together, and brainstorm the implications on your business.
Organize 1-day staff rotations. For instance, send your accountants with your sales people, and your sales people with your marketing team, so they better understand each other's jobs, and recognize each other's challenges.
Create your own internal conferences. Based on the model of TEDx or Nerd Night for example, give the stage to your staff to present and discuss a particular topic - business related or not - to their colleagues.
Let your people make mistakes. Celebrate their efforts. They will strive if they are not afraid of being wrong, and see mistakes as opportunities to improve.
Develop your coaching skills to grow your staff. Speak less and listen more. Coaching is about guiding and listening through questioning techniques, it's not about telling.
Training is not a cost, it is an investment.
If you understand the importance of investing in your staff, and would like some guidance, for instance on how to start coaching your people, I'd be happy to chat. Book a convenient time for you.