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Continuing Education for Entrepreneurs and Teams
Changes in your business and your industry can move at breakneck speed. You may be struggling to keep up with the new best practices, procedures and technologies that you encounter all in a day’s work. Your team may also be experiencing the same struggle and could be falling behind. Gaining knowledge and sharing knowledge can be major assets for any business, but it takes commitment from the top.
You and your team probably require ongoing training and continuing education to remain proficient and productive, but you may not be set up to address this need. Even as everyone gains new skills, capturing and leveraging that knowledge to benefit all members of the team may not be happening. By offering educational opportunities at your company, you create a positive atmosphere of learning and excelling. You also need to set up ways for new knowledge to be distributed throughout your organization.
Here are some specific ways to integrate more formal learning and training into your business - for you and your team.
1. Make education a priority. Demonstrate that it’s important to you that your team has access to classes to hone their existing skills and gain new ones. That may mean accommodating their class schedules or redistributing their workloads while they’re attending their training. Identify relevant courses and build education and training into everyone’s day or week, including your own.
2. Provide tuition reimbursement. Footing all or a portion of the bill for training and education can lessen the burden on your team members and show them that you support their success. In many cases, companies and educational institutions offer bulk discounts to companies that want to offer course access to multiple team members. There are also a myriad of free online course offerings through universities and even other companies such as software companies that offer an array of diverse courses as a way of marketing their products.
3. Provide in-house training. Bring an educator into your company to share their knowledge with your team. You can even offer virtual speaker series or webinar trainings rather than a physical event. You can also appoint your senior team members to teach company-specific skills to the rest of your organization.
4. Develop your own training tools. If you have processes and systems particular to your business, look at training platforms that you can use to build your own digital courses. Fee-based sites like Mindflash, Ruzuku and Pathwright provide tools you can use to compile information into training modules including images, presentation slides and video and in some cases, quizzes and also a monitoring feature to see who has completed each course. Having a company-specific curriculum will make training new team members easier because they’ll learn exactly what they need know to be ready for the job.
5. Build a knowledge base. Often the most valuable information that can move your business forward is stuck in your head or in the minds of your team members. Build a repository for this knowledge using collaborative tools such as shared Google Documents. You could also use a project management tool that captures all related correspondence and files like Asana. Even a wiki platform can let non-programmers easily participate in building a website and publish information that the rest of the team can access and augment.
Supporting your team’s continuing education means investing in the people who are the lifeblood of your company. Adopting an ethos of learning and sharing knowledge can benefit everyone in your organization, including you.