Teams are the foundation of every organisation, whatever the size. From ensuring companies stay connected to their customers, to ensuring operations are kept running smoothly and to ensure the business stays at the cutting edge of their sector. In other words teams are the lifeblood of small businesses. 

As a result, the UK’s 3.7 million professional services specialists – whether they are carrying out core functions of a business or give support to those that do – are a vital resource. This is particularly the case for SMEs who risk losing teams or individuals and falling behind on the latest developments in technology i.e the IOT (Internet of Things), unless they dedicate time and resources to the CPD of their staff, particularly their more specialised staff.

Why should you invest in your team?

Choosing to invest in the professional development of your teams so that they can thrive both as individuals and in groups, can have a powerful transformative impact on businesses. There is already a recognition by employees in the professional services sector that relevant qualifications hold the key to career success.

Many of the largest companies formally support their workforce in attaining vast, varied and industry leading credentials so that teams have the best skills to carry out tasks. 

However, it should be ensured that this extends to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, who may not have the same resource bases to draw upon.

Enabling their teams to partake in gaining industry recognised qualifications should not be overlooked. What these smaller organisations can do, however, is implement customised CPD programmes for individuals to understand the skills they need to develop and then plan their development. This can be done in a very self-driven manner. 

What are the benefits of CPD for your SME staff?

There are several fundamental benefits for an SME in executing a successful programme focused on the CPD of their staff. Primarily it highlights and addresses skills gaps within teams. But alongside that it provides a formal method for teams to track their development and growth along with the company. All this works together to produce a very high ROI feedback loop. Appropriate support from the organisation should be given to ensure employees are getting the most out of CPD activities. Naturally this will also be of benefit to the employers as their staff will be updated with the latest skills and knowledge. All of this will in turn greatly benefit these organisations. 

A key benefit to SMEs in investing in CPD is higher retainment of staff. Lower levels of staff turnover is a key feature of successful businesses and SME’s with greater longevity. There is mounds of evidence that proves that employees who are provided with opportunities to develop themselves within any organisation are much less likely to look elsewhere for work. This loyalty to a company is particularly crucial to SMEs who are likely to have less resources available if forced to resort to recruiting new staff on a regular basis. In addition, losing team members that possess business-specific technical knowledge can completely disrupt current operations and make it difficult to remain on the cutting edge for industry developments. Therefore, determining whether they are able to deliver the best solutions for their customers. Whereby they will be handicapped without the expertise which works as the backbone of the business offering.

Where can you begin?

There are various methods that organisations can adopt to help employees with CPD. Coaching and mentorship are good methods to help staff learn from more experienced team members, while networking more widely will provide staff with the knowledge about the industry; this is crucial for development. Encouraging teams to complete self-study and implement learnings through practical experience is a low cost method that aids in causing SMEs to stay ahead of all the latest developments, while also developing team members for career progression.

For SMEs, moving to a culture where professional development is not only regular but integrated into daily operations may require a radical change in the businesses’ culture. Commonly, for example, there is a need to consider that every employee is unique, with different development needs and varied appetites for learning. However, the benefits to both businesses as well as their employees and associated teams far outweigh the initial challenges in establishing such a culture. Resources and financial expenses must be evaluated realistically. Realistically meaning that businesses wanting a high ROI from their expenses should prioritise CPD, as it is one of the single highest return expenses that businesses can commit to.

How can we help you?

At Leap Like A Salmon we’ve a range of products and services that can help SMEs propel themselves forward, by investing in future business greatness. These are less costly than you might think.

In case the point was not made clear enough already, professional development brings benefits to the smallest of start-ups and the largest of multinationals. No organisation can succeed without a knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce.

On the topic of team members, being in a job that offers very little in terms of training and personal development will not get the best out of individuals and will likely see the brightest of professionals look elsewhere, for roles that offer better professional development. By contrast, CPD brings a multitude of benefits to employees, including developing their skills, improving personal performance at work, creating increased satisfaction and enhancing staff morale, all of these are exceptionally important for SME’s.

Regarding staff performance the transfer and deployment of ideas is a central tenet of modern business success. An excellent paper published by Emerald publishing explains how e-learning/CPD relates to the transfer of tacit knowledge for businesses. 

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Thanks for reading and please do comment and share, should you have anything you want to ask us, please do get in touch here:

Karen Waite

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