The recent global lockdowns have certainly upended the business landscape. Most fields of activity were affected by lockdowns or reduced demand. On the opposite side of the coin, specific “essential” jobs were in very high demand, creating a backlog of work and a logistical nightmare.
Regardless of your specialization, 2020 may not have been a good year for your business.
Yet, there are ways to mitigate the damage and prepare your staff for tumultuous economic times.
Education and development are essential processes that any business must make available for its employees. Life just gave you lemons, so make some lemonade. Utilize this downtime to invest in employee development and education.
Taking a break from writing my “essayassist review,” I decided to look at the primary ways through which owners can improve their small-scale or medium-sized businesses.
Larger corporations can afford vast HR departments and planners, while those small-scale business owners will have to learn as they go.
That being said, let’s take a look at how you can support your staff using education and development:
Provide financial aid for student loans
Depending on how much you are willing to invest, spending some money to provide some debt relief for your workers is possible. Of course, you won’t be expected to pay for the entire loan, just a small portion. Although it may not be much, it is more than nothing, which most employers offer.
This form of relief is becoming increasingly popular, mainly if it receives legislative support. The Employer Participation in Student Loan Repayment Act would offer tax relief for student loans.
Currently, staff can receive aid from their company, and they will be taxed on the amount received. However, they can also cut their loan interest by an average of 2000$.
Assure proper on-site employee preparation
The problem with making college universally accessible is that it undervalues achievement. A college degree is considered to be the new high-school diploma for many jobs: a bare minimum requirement that proves almost nothing.
The dirty little secret of the business world is that degrees almost always do not matter, and that experience is king. Yet, this almost creates a logical paradox that frustrates employees.
You need a job to get experience, yet you need the experience to get that job in the first place. As a result, you have entry-level employees who just wasted four years of their lives, they are drowned in debt, and now they are rejected by everyone out of lack of experience. The options are to go on unemployment or settle for a dirt-cheap internship.
This is where you can risk investment in your company’s future. Besides medicine and hard STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), most job skills are learned on-site.
You may be wasting valuable resources on finding tons of college grads. Instead, you should be selecting for competence and offering on-site training. In most cases, an IQ test would be more useful than browsing a CV.
On-site training is also imperative for existing staff. Technology is rapidly advancing, and those who do not keep up will be left behind.
You can accomplish your training goals via didactic material online or by creating a specialized in-house instruction department. For the best results, a hybrid of both methods should be employed.
Either way, the cost of these measures can be declared and deducted from your taxes.
Hiring students is often a financial risk, yet their generally lower market value offsets this situation.
However, students will graduate someday, and they will expect a rise in said market value.
Just as you expect your investments to pay off, students expect their credentials to be an investment through which they can increase their prospects.
Throughout your company’s lifespan, many of your employees will graduate and will require a higher salary. It is optimal, out of your own initiative, to raise this person’s status in the company or raise his/her salary.
This validation prevents them from shopping around, making them much more likely to stay on board. Employee retention is dropping, and small-scale companies are losing profits. The hiring and recruitment process are very costly, so it would be a net loss for your core team to shrink.
There is also a morale boost, as you are recognizing and validating the employee’s accomplishment out of your initiative.
If the employee is already highly compensated (which is unlikely for students), you can begin to slightly lower the graduation bonus.
Why should you bother to pay for an employee’s education, especially if the resulting degree is not in your activity field?
For starters, the amount is tax-deductible. Each business can contribute a yearly maximum of 5250$. Any amount past this cap is basically treated as an additional taxable wage. Students can use this money for non-related degrees, to pay for tuition or expenses.
Also, education costs can aid in that all-important employee retention rate.
Businesses are starting to employ the strategy of outsourcing their secondary work to seasonal freelancers while investing the lion’s share of their budget in a core team of in-house workers.
The odds are that you have invested vast amounts in each core member, so it would be a loss for one of these people to leave.
It will be much harder for them to do so if you are also aiding in paying for their studies. Just like all employee benefits, the true beneficiary is the bottom line of the company.
Healthy, happy, and loyal workers will be highly productive.
Offer work-related specialization courses.
The company can pay for an education that is related to the business’s field of activity. This situation is a win-win for both the employer and employee.
For the business owner, the amount is entirely tax-deductible. Also, the staff member will become progressively more competent and productive.
The tuition amount is tax-free for the student/staff member as long as it is declared as a fringe benefit.
As is the case with all entries on the list, paying for work-related courses will make people less likely to leave your company. If they leave, your investment goes with them.
If possible, all efforts should be made to accommodate a staff member’s education.
I once had to leave a job because there are schedule conflicts between courses and my shifts. I can relate to students struggling to maintain Academic standards and keep their job.
Provide constant feedback
Companies are in the habit of evaluating their employees once per year, providing pay raises and feedback for their performance. Yet, for most businesses, this evaluation seems like an afterthought.
Employee evaluation should be at least a monthly process, not a yearly event. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should set aside a day to have meetings and document signings.
All that is required is for you to pay attention. Neglect always causes things to rust, and merely noticing and notifying is enough. Most employees are decent enough to improve themselves once they have been told of a lackluster aspect of their behavior.
Training costs a lot of money, and so does the recruitment process. Newbies are also less productive on average. An employee is a very costly investment, requiring both time and funds until he/she can provide a solid ROI. This applies universally, yet it is especially true for jobs with high skill requirements.
Taking these factors into consideration, supporting your staff through development and education becomes imperative. If you don’t, some other company will do so.
Of course, an employee who leaves will take all the benefits and training with him/her, forcing you to start the recruitment process all over again.
And you cannot insist on only hiring people with experience. In most fields, experienced pros are rare, and cost an arm and a leg.
Either way, your company will have to spend a ton of money. Investing in the future of an employee is in your interest as well.
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