At most smaller companies and entrepreneurial start-ups, funds are tight and must be managed accordingly. This means any investment in training has to be approached carefully. Sound policies about who gets training, and who pays for it, are a must to protect the enterprise going forward.

The first decision to make is always: Who pays for training, the company or the employee? That is, should the person being trained foot the bill? Or the company that wants the staff member to be trained? This issue can stir some heated debate, but an analysis of who really benefits should help shape your policy.

To examine why you need a policy, consider what happens if you send Mary on a course that you deem is important to the progress of your business and it takes all $500 you have set aside for training – in a small business, this might be a considerable investment – and then, three weeks later, Mary quits. She may even be able to leverage the training you paid for to get herself a better job with another employer.

This is why a policy that either requires repayment, if the employee leaves within a certain time-frame after taking training, may be advisable. If this seems too harsh, another approach is to have a policy whereby you will reimburse the employee for designated courses and after a certain passage of time. That is, if the employee takes the course and he’s still with your company six months later, you will reimburse up to a certain dollar level. (Designating which courses the company deems applicable is also a key step; otherwise, people will look to you to fund training in all manner of activities, from macrame to rock-climbing, which may have no relevance to your business endeavors!)

Another issue which arises within the sphere of training, especially in entrepreneurial firms that are not just creating a new company but also a new industry, is that there may not be any appropriate training for you to send employees to. It may take 8 or more years before the new industry matures enough so that the industrial training industry offers suitable programs. In such cases, you may have to develop your own training and provide it in-house, which can be very time-consuming and costly. Or, you can hire a trainer to develop programs for you, but that is also quite an expense for a smaller company to sustain.

Those who extol the virtues of training – and frequently say companies don’t do enough of it – are not the ones paying. You the business owner are. Before you start sending your staff off for courses, make sure you have found some way to protect yourself.

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer

Source by Deborah Sawyer