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Growing the Talent Internally as a Small Business Owner


Maybe you started the business as a solopreneur at a home office part-time and then eventually grew it out to an office. Or, you started in an office with a handful of good people to begin offering a service to clients. Either way, you’ve arrived in a situation where you have an office full of staff who are eager to get ahead.

Growing talent internally is necessary for smaller businesses. They don’t have the big-name brand to attract the best people. That’s a sad but true fact. The main exception to that is when the founder is being replaced with a new leader who was a previous higher-level executive who in order to move up to Managing Director/CEO of an organisation needed to move down to a smaller organisation to promote themselves. Otherwise, it’s an inside game with talent.

Why Do People Come to Work for a Smaller Business?

There are many different reasons. Sometimes it’s just the job that the recruitment agency offered them for an interview and the size of the company didn’t really matter. Other times, perhaps they felt like a number in a larger organisation where there were so many people at the administrative levels that getting promoted seemed like only a faint possibility.

It’s also possible that larger companies just seemed to operate by old rules, moved slower and failed to innovate. For younger employees, working with a young, smaller company is more interesting because they have many ideas and these companies are sometimes only too willing to consider them, whereas a larger company perhaps would not do so. Feeling heard within an organisation is increasingly important to employees who don’t wish to feel like the silent majority with the managers hidden away behind closed doors.

Does It Make Sense to Have a Policy of Growing Talent Internally?

A smaller business must take a long-term view even if the business is quite young. Why is this? Because it makes the most sense and it’s more affordable.

Having to recruit new people only to see them leave feeling frustrated 6-12 months from now is a waste of talent. They will take what they’ve learned and go elsewhere. That benefits their new employer while it’s a net loss to your organisation. Then a new person has to be found, recruited, trained on their job and then let loose. A constant flow of new people replacing those that have left is a distraction for other employees who have a job to do which in turn lowers their morale.

The cost of taking on new people and waiting for them to get up to speed is expensive and reduces productivity within the company every time. By contrast, retaining an employee by being focused on their growth over the years pays dividends. They feel encouraged, rewarded for their loyalty and effort, and their knowledge of the company and its successful practices stays in-house.

There’s no exit interview where the company is told what they already know about why the person is choosing to leave. When a company requires an exit interview, it’s already too late. The writing was on the wall a long time ago and they chose to ignore it. Don’t make that mistake.

What Initial Training Makes Sense?

With new employees, a smaller business probably cannot attract a star employee. But on the other hand, employees who aren’t the absolute best in the available talent pool don’t cost the company as much in pay and benefits either.

For new employees and existing ones who’ve remained with the company, there’s a need to be willing to train them on everything from the basics up to more advanced tasks.

For instance, a woman who is returning to work after having a baby might have not used the latest version of Microsoft Word or Excel. The interface from older versions to the latest Office 365 that the company might have adopted has changed here and there. While the woman might have put her own money into buying the latest software or taken a short course before seeking employment to relearn some of the basics, her knowledge is likely to be incomplete. Practical real-world activities using popular software doesn’t always track with what’s taught on a short course, so she will have to convert what she knows with what’s needed.

In the above example, staff will need to be patient for her to get up to speed. She will undoubtedly get there, but with a year or more out of the workforce, anyone would get rusty in their knowledge of work-based tasks. Any initial training to run through tasks slowly step-by-step using the latest software is going to be appreciated and likely lead to a higher success rate for working mums returning to the workforce.

What Other Courses Make Sense?

What’s needed for some employees is to learn about coaching staff and actively mentoring them. The ILM Level 5 Coaching Course from the BCF Group is a great option to train certain staff on how to become better at teaching and helping other employees. BCF have a depth of talent in their training staff which comes across very well.

The ILM Level 5 Coaching is open to study either in a classroom setting for two days or through a distance learning structure over the course of 3 to 12 months. The usefulness of the ILM Level 5 Coaching Courses are extended due to the dual teaching structure. Some employees can get away from work for a couple of days whereas others cannot.

Studying and attaining the ILM Level 5 Qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring doesn’t necessarily end with the course because there is course work and the potential for several work assignments and more. However, with a commitment, the ILM Level 5 Coaching Certificate is a source of pride for those who successfully attain it.

When is all said and done, SMEs can overcome difficulties in recruiting the best talent by being proactive in training staff to be capable of filling a more senior position in the future. Other staff can take tutoring courses to achieve the aforementioned ILM Level 5 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring and help their team grow as the company increases in size. When making it a central focus of the company to develop their staff through mentoring, they’re far more likely to maintain a happy, healthy workforce too.


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