With employment rates in Worcestershire really high, finding new staff will be a challenge by 2016. Training existing staff is one way of filling skills gaps, and also gives opportunities for existing staff to better themselves. It’s a great retention policy. A few hundred pounds of training, rather than risk losing a member of staff and having to pay thousands of pounds in recruitment fees.

Annual appraisals or performance reviews are an opportunity to discuss with staff about their skills and ambitions. Nearly all of our appraisals end up with an offer to put them on training courses. These courses both interest and motivate staff.

It could be more costly to your business longer term if staff do not have the right skills and are not as efficient or as effective as they could be. Therefore, make sure you have a training budget, and actively encourage staff to ask for training. Make them look for the course outline, and present the info to you, and to justify why a particular course is going to help them and the business too.

Encouraging staff to achieve recognised certification and accreditations. This is a really powerful tool to staff happiness and motivation. They receive a certificate, and perhaps even a logo to use on their email footer, which makes them happy. The business gains new skills, and an employee that is only too happy to show these skills off to other team members, which is brilliant for morale and productivity.

A training budget and time allocated to allow staff to prepare and sit exams offsite. Try and encourage all staff to undertake training at least one to two courses per year, and keep an eye out for people who do not want to be trained. They could be holding your business back as well as themselves.

My recommendation – budget for training each year, and encourage staff to look for courses.