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Low Cost Ideas for Professional Development

Courtesy of Myers, Brettholtz & Company, CPA

Small businesses and nonprofit organizations often have little room in their budget to employ formal employee training and development programs. Yet, small or budget strapped entities don’t need to rely exclusively on “on-the-job” training for employees. Here’s a run-down of tried-and-true tactics for fostering employee growth and productivity without pouring lots of money into training programs

  1. Monthly staff meetings. Although these aren’t formal training sessions, it is your chance as a leader to get your staff up to speed about current trends and activities on in your business or nonprofit. You can discuss projects, priorities, events, services, ideas for attracting new clients or donors…there are many possibilities.  The important thing is to encourage employees to contribute to the discussion and give them an understanding of what is on the minds of organizational leadership.
  2. Don’t overlook mentoring. It happens informally in most organizations. Take it to the next level by creating formal mentoring connections between established employees who possess the skills and attitudes you want to foster and your newer employees. Create specific goals or concepts you want passed on through these relationships.
  3. Ask employees to come up with their own development goals and brainstorm with them ways to achieve those goals.
  4. Encourage employees to be problem solvers.  Pick a subject or business goal, such as, “How to improve customer satisfaction,” or “Improving donor communication.” Ask employees to submit their ideas.
  5. Invite TED to lunch with your team.  Hold a potluck lunch and watch a TED talk or listen to a podcast with your team.  Why put all the pressure on management when endless topics are available for free from the best speakers in the world?

Opportunity for professional growth consistently ranks at one of the top reasons employees stay at a job. Yet even small organizations with small budgets can offer development opportunities with just a little time and effort.

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