An employee whose company invests in their professional development will feel empowered and eager to make the most of those opportunities, which in turn makes the company more attractive to clients and prospective partners and customers. In other words, everyone wins.
So what alternative skill sets or ad hoc roles will benefit both your employees and the company as a whole? One-off workshops and taster courses might be advantageous, but for longer-term results, consider these five continuing professional development or holistic growth opportunities.
1. Brand ambassador or social media manager
Your business may have a presence on social media channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but are you making the most of it? If someone on your team has a natural flair with words, a keen understanding of how to grab the attention of audiences on social channels and a comprehensive understanding of the business’s objectives, they could help raise the business’s profile while honing their skills in these valuable areas.
It’s crucial, though, that the person projecting your business’s message takes great care to avoid controversy and knows who to work with if a problem arises.
2. Health and safety
Do you have an employee who is conscientious and takes pains concerning the well-being of their colleagues and the overall state of the workplace? Chances are they would thrive if given health and safety training.
A dedicated health and safety-point person can increase efficiency and employee satisfaction, yet they may not be aware of the opportunities for such training. Courses for all industries and across various learning environments are available, so do a little research to see what suits the needs of your business.
3. Risk or crisis management
These two specialities could be seen as a natural progression from a health and safety qualification, but very much depend on the nature and size of your business. Smaller businesses may not have someone tasked with averting and managing internal or external fallout from, say, a major technology breakdown.
Likewise, environmental or natural disasters might pose a crisis: is there a key employee to direct your business’s response in the case of a flood, for instance? Both risk management and crisis management are vast areas for organisations of any size to consider, and require careful consideration before the creation of audits, plans or the appointment of specific employees to head up the process.
4. Charity coordinator
Does one individual always prompt their colleagues to take part in charity sports days or national campaigns such as Comic Relief? Do they spot opportunities for your business to help needy families during the festive season? Perhaps nominating them as the official charity coordinator will help to streamline those efforts whilst creating new collaboration opportunities and a positive public perception of your business – not to mention doing something good for your community.
5. Social secretary
Look at the world’s most successful companies, with the most sought-after jobs: yes, Apple and Google come to mind for their workplace-as-playground settings, but companies in other industries – from financial services provider Edward Jones to clothing retailers White Stuff – boast of employees who feel valued and proud of jobs they love. For smaller businesses, some contributing ‘happiness factors,’ such as in-house health clubs and free cafeterias, will be out of the question, but even one enthusiastic employee can make work more fun for the entire organisation.
That might mean installing bean bags and table tennis, or regular lunch outings and drinks nights, or encouraging employees to form sports teams, book groups or pursue other interests outside of the office. It’s all about creating a friendly, healthy, sociable cohesion and it doesn’t have to mean large-scale investment.
Sabelline Chicot is a a writer and editor working in digital publishing, where she covers small business, online security and health & safety matters.
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