To succeed in the fast-moving business world, today’s professionals must be multi-skilled and adaptable to change. As technologies and standards shift all the time, that makes training your staff one of the most valuable investments you can make. Whether you are running your own company as a sole trader, or you are growing and moving up the ranks with your current company, being able to access first class training in a time and cost-efficient way that suits the individual, is an ongoing priority we hear about time and time again.

New UK Report states only 1 in 3 workers in companies of 24 or fewer people, receives any training at all.

It was therefore very interesting to read that the new ‘Growing Your Small Business’ Report has shown that just two in five (42%) of small businesses in the UK were found to have provided management training to their staff in the previous 12 months, compared with 89% of businesses with 250 or more staff.

But there’s more! The position is even worse for businesses with fewer than 24 staff, where only one in three (36%) receiving any management training at all.

The report also highlights how this lack of professional management skills is actually holding back UK productivity and employment growth, with only 16% of all new SMEs found to be ‘fast-growing.’

This insightful, if concerning report, was launched at the House of Commons on 15th September and marks the start of a campaign to help UK SMEs access the management support and to provide much better sign-posting to management best practice and professional support. As a business education professional, I am delighted to hear that measures to provide support are being planned, but I’m not surprised at all by the figures the report reveals. More and more research continues to show that employers agree about how a lack of management training for their staff is having a negative impact on their growth, and yet only one in three small companies with less than 24 staff receiving any training at all!

I think every professional business owner or career-focused employee would agree that that training benefits employees, wherever they work, in the following key ways:-

1. Increases their sense of ownership in the business.

2. They become more organised, productive and flexible and so better able to meet the needs of internal and external customers.

3. They develop new skills or improve existing and abilities in areas such as decision-making which can empower staff and make them more effective and productive.

I think many small companies would like to have training for their staff, but they are prevented from doing so 1.) because organisational training budgets are either reduced or even removed to minimise business costs or 2.) owner-manager attitudes towards company training can be uninformed with limited perception and evaluation regarding the value that training can provide or the ways in which staff training can be delivered.

Meeting the shift in Training

It’s precisely because of these two possible reasons for a shift in training that Creativedge decided to launch new Virtual Open Courses. They have been specifically designed to allow individual professionals and companies of any size who may need one-off, specific training courses for their staff, the chance to benefit from high impact, virtual, 90-minute training courses delivered to them live online, irrespective of their location, on a ‘pay-as-you-learn’ basis.

From our experience working with some of the world’s leading brands but also by understanding the needs of small businesses and individual professionals, many said that if they didn’t invest in the development of their professionals, it would be akin to a manufacturer not upgrading equipment, yet still expecting improved productivity!

I would like to end by asking if you can remember how the training landscape looked when the economic downturn happened in 2008? Well, the investment on staff training was not always top of the agenda for businesses struggling to survive. But by the same token, I bet you didn’t read or perhaps didn’t hear, about how training staff was one of the key ways some companies worked through the downturn.  After all, competent, committed staff were (and still are) more likely to help keep companies afloat by giving them a competitive edge during those very tough times to ensure they could gain real ground on the competition when the economy finally started to recover. I think it’s definitely worth remembering this.

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