Business Growth Series: Training New Recruits


When you’re running an SME and are caught up in the day to day management of the business, the prospect of training new members of staff - as well - can be somewhat dispiriting. While larger companies can perhaps afford to have a specific division tasked with handling training, many SMEs won’t have this luxury, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t shape procedures in order to accommodate training within daily working routines. The 2014 Small Business Survey from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills found that 57% of SME employers had trained staff during the previous 12 months, with 46% supplying off the job training and 40% on the job. Clearly, not all of this training was offered to new recruits, but the necessity of training those new to your business should be seized on as an opportunity to develop habits which can then be used to foster career development throughout your organisation.

Use Current Employees

As your business grows it can be difficult to spare the time to train new employees personally, even if this is your preferred manner. Make use of current employees, who will be able to give a ‘coal face’ view of the way your business works. A combination of formal training and time spent ‘shadowing’ a long term member of your team will help to provide a fully rounded program of training.

Train in the General and the Specific

The early days of any training should consist of building a generalised sense of what the business does and how it does it. Once this is underway, you should then look to focus in on specific skill-sets which a new person might bring to the team. The end result will be a group of employees grounded enough in the overall business to cover all the bases, but with a flexible and varied group of specific skills and abilities designed to cope with specific circumstances.

Training on the Job

Many SME owners worry that providing training will detract from valuable time when actual work could be carried out. Get around this conundrum by creating training exercises which actually comprise real-time work. The employee will gain the experience and knowledge they require whilst the business, albeit perhaps a little more slowly, will continue moving forward.

Take Advantage of External Sources

There are many external training sources available, as detailed by the governments National Careers Service. You can take advantage of these in two ways. New employees could be sent on courses which supplement the training which you offer personally, and existing employees who have demonstrated mentoring skills in the past could attend training courses with the intention of sharing skills and knowledge when back in the work-place.


After each part of the training program, take the time to sit down with the employee and ensure that they have fully understood the training that was offered, why it was offered, and how it should be utilized in the future. New employees will often feel reluctant to ask too many questions for fear of appearing to be a nuisance, so creating a regular forum within which questions are not only permitted but encouraged will ensure full understanding of all parts of the training.