Learn And Capitalize On The Distinction Between Employee Development, And Human Relations Management.

Don't be one of those mistakenly thinking that employee development is something that only big companies with human relations departments need and do. Quite the contrary. It is something that every business that hopes to grow and prosper needs to do.

A friend of mine, now deceased, had to interrupt his retirement to become the active chairman of a multi-national public company that he had started. It was going nowhere at a time when others in his industry were thriving. He fired the CEO immediately on his return. He also fired the entire human relations department.

His view was that employee development was too important to the success of the business to be sidelined to some staff department. It was one of the most important responsibilities of all managers. Developing new skills in existing employees was a vital way to enhance employee productivity and morale, was his point of view.

The business that he reorganized employed thousands. In your own business, you likely have fewer people. So contributing to the development of your employees, so each can perform at a higher level than today is of economic importance. Within limits, it is much more cost effective to develop some new skills in existing employees, allowing them to do more, than hiring additional employees. You have to reward them appropriately for their new skills and responsibilities. But it is a good investment.

And like many other topics discussed here, you need to formalize this process. So that a new owner doesn't have to do too much thinking about this initially. Employee development doesn't just entail training, whether formal or informal. It also entails identifying an internal replacement for key employees based on the training and experience that candidates have had. That way neither you, or the ultimate buyer of your business need have great concern when someone decides to leave.

It's easy to fall into the trap of worrying about developing additional skills in your employees, who then take those skills to another job, elsewhere. Don't do it. Yes some will leave. But until they do, these initiatives will have given you the services of more productive employees.

Consider the value of the ability to show prospective buyers that your business has good deep bench strength. That this bench strength resulted from a formalized program. So buyers need not worry that a key employee might leave post purchase.

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