How to train up your staff while managing your own workload

As a business owner, you will have many things on your plate. You will be out at networking events, meeting clients and potential clients, coping with the administration, sorting out accounts, chasing debtors, managing staff, recruiting staff, the list can be endless. All of which need to be done but you know that you need time to train and develop your staff because if you don’t’ they’ll probably leave, not be as productive or motivated.

There is no easy answer to be honest or one size fits all solution as it will depend on what your staff needs training in and what resources are available to you but the following tips may start to help.

  1. Manage your time – I know from personal experience that I always need to work on this, I’m a brilliant procrastinator given the chance so I have to be disciplined in how I manage my time. How you manage your time is entirely up to you but some basic tips are to:
  • Prioritise tasks so you do what’s urgent first
  • Delegate tasks if you can so you can concentrate on what is really important
  • Watch for the time bandits. Emails can be so time-consuming, the natural inclination is to reply straight away but look at other strategies like answering once or twice a day, delete the rubbish, don’t copy the world in etc.
  • Learn to say no – it’s not rude to say no as long as you do it in a good manner. Don’t agree to see everyone, talk to everyone and try to do everything.
  • Use a diary – it doesn’t matter if it’s on your phone, on your computer or on paper. Block out time for things and keep to it. It’s not always that you don’t have the time but you are not making time to do it.
  • Make sure meetings are kept to a minimum and are productive.
  • If someone is chatting but you need to get on, tell them, in a nice way of course that doesn’t offend.
  1. Make staff training and development a priority – To me this is obvious but it does not seem that way to some business owners. This is not usually because they don’t want it to be or that they don’t care but often because they are a little unsure or lack confidence. By making training and development a priority and by that I mean a real priority, you will do it. You will find the time and resources that you need to make sure it happens. If you pay lip service or ignore staff development, it just won’t happen because it won’t be important enough and other things will be.
  2. Plan Ahead – When you are looking at your plans and objectives for the year (or more) ahead, include staff training and development in those plans. You will have information from appraisals and 1 to 1s about your staff, their strengths and weaknesses and what development they want and need. Use this information to put your plan together and once this has been completed you can see how you are going to resource it, who is going to do it etc and this will help with your time management as you will be able to build in the time from your plan.
  3. Outsource – using someone from outside the business could be an option. Yes, it will cost you money but a good consultant should work with you to make sure you have the tools and skills to do it yourself, once they have completed their work. You could use a consultant to develop training manuals, deliver courses (more of that later), help you put a plan together, mentor your managers etc. It could be a good use of your cash as it will free you up to do other things. That said, if you use a consultant, this should not excuse you from your obligations to your staff to train and develop them. Remember it is your job and responsibility, not theirs.
  4. Training is not about courses – I am a believer that sending people on courses is not always a good use of time. There are occasions of course when it is entirely appropriate but look at other methods that can be used. Train yourself and your managers to be coaches and use them to help develop your staff. Use your 1 to 1’s to good effect to get information and coach and mentor your staff.

Training your staff shouldn’t be an afterthought, ignored or lost in the middle of everything else you do. It should be an integral part of your business and given the priority it deserves. If you do that, you’ll be amazed at the amount of time you find to do it.