You can do a lot of things to ensure the success of your business. You can improve your products, invest in excellent marketing campaigns, grow your online visibility, and make sure that your customer service is outstanding, and so on.

But, as rewarding as these low-hanging fruits can be, there is one crucial approach that can ensure the long-term growth of your company. We’re talking about employee development.

Despite the fact that investing in employee development can help you attract and retain top talent, a lot of companies, and especially startups, push this initiative at the bottom of the to-do list. Yes, upgrading your workforce skills is difficult and time-consuming, but the reward is well worth it. So, let’s look at five simple steps that you can take to keep your employees’ skills fresh.

  1. Offer Professional Training

This first step should be pretty obvious. You need to create training manuals with essential information and best practices and use them to help new hires get accustomed with how the company works.

Don’t stop at training just entry-level employees. Create business books, seminars, and provide access to online resources on topics relevant to your business. By reading just one or two articles per week, your employees can stay up-to-date with the latest news, trends, best practices, and strategies in the industry.

  1. Break Down the Barriers

A lot of businesses have a rigid organizational structure, which makes it difficult for employees to develop outside their comfort zone. It’s up to you to break down the barriers and build bridges that encourage an open approach to learning and working. One excellent way to foster a learning environment is to hire more bilingual employees. It has been shown that bilingual and multilingual speakers can help expand the horizons of a company.

  1. Cross-Train Employees

How many times your marketers had difficulties explaining to your website development team what they should do to create pages that will attract the attention of your target audience?

Providing cross-departmental training can help you achieve a healthy balance in your organization. For example, you can have a web developer sit in the room during a focus group or foster some basic web development skills in your marketing team.

  1. Offer Flexible Learning Options

Your employees are probably extremely busy, especially if you’re a small business and require them to wear several different hats. So, it can be understandable that they don’t have time to study during the working hours. That’s why it’s important to tailor your employee development programs so that they can access them from their mobile devices 24/7. Not only that you won’t have to invest in training classroom or equipment, but you’ll make the learning process more flexible and enjoyable for your employees.

  1. Develop Your Employees’ Soft Skills Too

Soft skills like emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and adaptability are paramount for a healthy and productive work environment. However, a lot of small business owners tend to minimize their importance in their company. These skills play a vital role at every level of your organization, and you need to foster them. Think about it this way: when your entire organization is in sync, works gets done more efficiently than before.

Your employees are one of your business’ most valuable assets. When they have the tools and knowledge they need to do their job well, they feel needed and valued. And, when your employees are happy, your company is thriving.

Author: Charles Dearing

Charles Dearing is a business writer who enjoys touching up on a variety of topics and sharing his insights via blog posts and other online publications. Apart from working mostly as a blogger, he enjoys traveling around the globe with his friends and family.