As an employer, it can sometimes feel you have an endless stream of requests for training from your team. It’s great your team want to develop their skills and knowledge, and equally great for you that you have ambitious, committed staff.
Yet with this, there is not an infinite budget, so how do you decide who you will train in any given year? Do you have a set budget per employee? Do you have set budget for the year, then choose specific employees to train within that? Have you considered giving protected study time to individuals who might want to fund their own training?
Whichever way you budget for training, there’s no doubt you need to be fair and ensure all staff are considered. Everyone in your team will have different personality traits – some will quietly get on with their work, and others will be more vocal. Some will have greater confidence in asking for things, whilst others will wait for their annual appraisal, or even wait to be offered training.
So how can you choose who to train in the fairest way?
It is best practice for employers to have annual appraisals with their employees. This is an ideal opportunity to see what your team member’s aspirations are, where they feel they could improve their knowledge and how they wish to progress with your company. Consider these questions related to training and career development….
- Talk about training over the last year and what they believe the next logical training might be.
- What skills do you have and how can you build on them?
- What skills do you feel you need?
- Ask your employee if they have specific courses in mind.
Your staff will not wait a year for their next appraisal to ask for support in undertaking a course of study to progress their career. If they are ambitious and consider training of value, they will ask you during their working year.
When your staff member requests training, you might want to ask…
- How will it enhance your skills?
- Why are these skills valuable to you?
- How do the skills align with our business?
- If you don’t learn these skills, how will it impact our organisation?
Listen to your employee – what could you gain from supporting them on their course, whether it is financial support, or giving them protected study time.
Have you considered holding an annual competition for a lucky employee to win a set fee sponsorship for one of our courses? You may not have considered this as a way of selecting staff for a training course, but this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Not only are you making training available, but at the same time you are lifting morale, generating employee engagement. Not only that, depending on what your competition is, it could also improve efficiency or profits of your business too.
For law firms there’s all manner of competitions you can host for staff including:
- Number of new client instructions received
- Monthly fees billed (apportioned to hours worked/hourly rate)
- Number of positive reviews received from clients (ask your team to request their clients review the firm online)
Prizes could range from our short courses that could be applicable to anyone on your team if they have an interest, you could offer NALP courses for paralegals, or CILEX for more experienced staff. You could even fund the SQE, or our latest offering, the Notarial Academic Training Course.
If you’re an estate agent, you could hold a competition based on who gets the most sales, the biggest commission of the year, recruits the most clients, etc. Prizes could include any of the following:
Fundraising to support local charities
Another idea we love, is around fundraising, so you’re managing your social and corporate responsibility at the same time.
Does your team often raise money for annual charity events, or local one-off fundraising challenges? Perhaps you could launch a competition for the person who raises the most money for their chosen charity during the year?
Alternatively, if you have the budget to cover it, you could offer prizes of complimentary law training that isn’t crucial to an individual’s role, but might be of interest to them. This might work for many of our shorter courses. Challenge your team to raise the amount required for a specific course.
For example, a paralegal might wish to take one of our newly launched short courses such as Criminal Law of England and Wales. This costs £195, so why not challenge your staff to raise the amount for charity, making the commitment to fund their course for them as soon as they achieve their goal.
We’d like to hear from you about how you fund training for your employees, or choose who to train and when. Has this article been helpful to you? Is there anything we may missed? Have you hosted competitions and were they successful?
Let us know…..