Bosses want their staff to be as good as possible and the obvious routes to that outcome are training, skill and experience. The latter grows with time, skill takes practice or is innate, but training is usually a concrete, mandatory necessity – or is it? A good company offering a range of jobs will usually make sure training is early on the agenda for new employees, but some firms are less diligent. Here are 10 considerations before booking the course for your staff.

Can I afford it?

In this Linkedin post by Jim Blythe the question is inverted; can I afford not to train my staff? Training improves motivation and shows that you are a caring organisation that wants staff to improve themselves, but also lessens the chances of errors or failing to keep up with industry trends.

How quickly will training pay for itself?

Dovetailing with the question before it, this may be a poser for you to consider alongside projected productivity increases and the expectation of new business.

Does the employee understand why they are doing it?

Speak to the employee beforehand and make it clear that there will be expectations of them post-training. If you can eke out a 1-2% improvement in performance over a sustained period of a few years or even months, you will be judged to have made the correct call.

Will the company suffer while the employees are being trained? Can I replace them in the short term?

A one-two week absence for a key staff member can be a problem, especially for a small company. An absence for two or more could be a real blow. Make sure steps are in place to share out the burden, even to the point of bringing in short-term replacements and consultants if necessary.

Can I stagger it?

Sending one person on a management course while postponing that training for another person with a similar role can invoke jealousy, rage, disappointment, or a combination of all three. But you might not be able to pay for everyone to train at the same time and instead wish to send the second person on the course six months or a year later. It could be a test of man-management skills.

Is it urgent?

Getting new staff up to scratch takes time, but there’s a delicate risk in assigning employees jobs that they’re underqualified for, in the hope that it will give them experience and push them to improve. In certain situations this can be extremely dangerous, for employee and any clients; click here for a potential example.

Is it crucial to the company?

This question really pertains to training for skills that are not directly relevant to the job specifications of those involved, but could enrich the company as an additional offering for clients. For example, video training for a print journalist, or coding. And, in a related thought…

Can the employee contribute?

If it is a course in an adjacent skill in which the employee is passionate, then are they willing to contribute or even pay for it themselves?

Will they stay?

One of the biggest frustrations for a boss is shelling out money on additional training for an employee at some cost, only for that worker to promptly take their new skills to another workplace. Unfortunately, without concrete evidence that someone is leaving (ie discovering they have been applying elsewhere) there may little be a manager can do.

Do I see potential in someone?

It’s possible that you’ve seen a great future in an enthusiastic employee, who might become a protégé, a potential management subject, and ultimately, even a successor. Do you just ignore that thought, or do you give them the chance to shine by enhancing their skillset?