The success of your business is highly dependent on your team. And that’s particularly true in creative and technical businesses, where ideas and knowledge, as well as application and focus, are essential.
Attracting the right people is only part of the picture – if you want to keep them, you need to help your people develop their skills. But what does this involve?
Looking at training issues
If you own a marketing agency or IT business, for example, there’s always something new for the team to learn – new applications, new technology, plus existing accreditations to be renewed. At a business level this can involve serious money (which you may not have budgeted for) as well as time away from operational or client activity. How do you flex your resources to allow for training time? How do you prioritise training? How do you evaluate different training providers and methods? Not all that straightforward, and even less so if you’re already fully stretched with existing day-to-day pressures.
Then there’s the issue of how your team sees training. Is it viewed as a bonus for the favoured few? Is personal and professional development built into the culture and DNA of the business? How much is each individual expected to drive their own development?
On top of skills and knowledge training, which may be the first instinct of your creative or technical team members, are other professional development areas, such as financial planning, project management and communication. Put it all together and you have a heady mix of individual and business requirements, combined with limited time and money.
Developing your team – in the right way for your business
It may be tempting to rely on either employing already trained staff or outsourcing work and leaving the training challenge to someone else. However, these routes are not without challenges, including added cost, non-availability and loss of control. Depending on your business model it may be better to get it right yourself.
The development of your team starts with knowing what you want your people to be great at so that they can help you deliver the core purpose of your business. From there, how you go about training, learning and development is as much to do with the culture of your business as anything else. Do you want your people to drive their own development, within the context of the company’s purpose, or do you want development to be driven top-down? Is your budget viewed as an operating expense to be minimised or an investment that delivers a positive return? Do you take a person-centric or a role-centric view? In other words, you should view your team’s development (and your development as a leader) within the wider context of what you’re aiming to achieve with the business.
Getting the help you need
As your business grows and your team expands, your leadership role develops into areas you may not have expected and for which you are not fully prepared. The good news is that there’s plenty of excellent support available – from HR advisers, to learning and development consultants and, like Henchards, business advisers who can help you drive development in the right direction. Talk to Henchards about cultivating a high-performing creative or technical team in your business.