Are Small Business and Career Development an Untapped Match?

Posted on Jan 1, 2000  | Posted in

Career development is one of the cornerstones of an effective business strategy because employees are an integral part of business success. Many small businesses do not have a career development plan for employees because they do not have a designated human resources department to create that plan. Small business owners concentrate on the growth of the business and not the growth of their employees. Several small business owners are short-sighted about making career development a part of the initial orientation process or including it as part of the employment package. Small business owners cannot risk the revolving door of itinerant new hires.  Larger companies can adjust to incorrect employee staffing through various human resource processes. The consequences of poor recruitment can be devastating to the small business and can have an overreaching effect on the entire business. The best indicator of small business success is predicated on a business roadmap complete with a growth strategy.  Growth frequently demands adding new employees. When contemplating adding a new hire, the small business owner carefully evaluates the business needs and targets what type of skill sets to look for in the marketplace before advertising for new talent. Critical additional considerations are the social fit of the potential new employee with the current staff and career development for the new hire. As a small business owner, I recognize that adding career development for my employees to the list of other responsibilities of running a business could be a challenge, but when I listed the pros and cons of adding career development to the business equation, I was pleasantly surprised about the benefits to the business. The following is a short list or pros and cons to consider: Pros
  • Shows a new-hire the plan for a long-term relationship, not stepping-stone employment
  • Creates a culture of loyalty and opportunity for development
  • Displays respect for employee skill sets and employee worth to the company
  • Indicates a vision of growing together (the company and the employee)
  • Builds business consistency for customers because of low employee turnover rate
  • Develops a reputation as a great place to work and attracts top talent
  • Sustainability (investment for the long term)
  • Initial cost of implementing a career development plan
  • Pressure to take appropriate time to find the new hire with the right skill sets and social fit
  • Adjusting the business roadmap to accommodate career development for each employee
  • Fear that added expense spent on employees and not spent on product will cut into profits
Small businesses can been hesitant to jump on the career development bandwagon. I must admit it was not on my immediate radar screen when I went into business fourteen years ago. But now I am convinced that putting stock in your employees is crucial to the success of a small business for the long term. The initial cost crunch and time allocation of creating a plan, meeting with employees, revisiting their skill sets, and researching training opportunities without concrete proof of return on investment is daunting and risky. However, having embraced adding career development for my employees to my business roadmap has made my business better, stronger and more profitable. I no longer question whether there is a place for career development in small business; rather, I strongly advise small business owners to include career development as part of their new-hire onboarding process.


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