Builders’ merchants must find a profit in an extremely competitive sector, with their fortunes also highly dependent on factors outside their control. Investment can be difficult for many merchants, with the main concern often with maintaining business health in the short term. Therefore, longer term investments such as employee training can fall by the wayside – even if they’ll bring real value to the business.

In today’s article, we explore that costs and benefits of employee training and development for builders’ merchants – helping you make an informed decision about the types of training you offer employees.

The costs

The most obvious cost of training is the price of the training itself. If you choose a course from a provider, or have to buy certain resources in order to carry out training in-house, there’s no way of avoiding these costs. However, group sessions and on the job training will reduce or eliminate these costs. You will also face indirect costs – training time will inevitably have to come out of working hours, and further down the line you may expect to offer more generous pay rises to employees of greater skill.

The benefits

The benefits of training ultimately depend on how you approach it. Will you offer training as an one-off, as and when it’s needed, or will you commit to a shift in culture and make training and employee development a continuous process?

If you opt for the former, the benefits will be largely restricted to the short to medium term. Your trained employees will be more productive and you’ll gain flexibility as staff are able to switch roles more easily. Staff will be pleased that you offered them training opportunities, will be more satisfied and engaged at work, and may be more likely to stick with your business for longer.

If you have the resources for it and would like to put employee development at the heart of your business, you’ll see several more advantages. First of all, you can use this culture as selling point during the recruitment process. Good employee development shows that you value your staff and want to help them progress. Secondly, by training staff regularly you can reuse training resources and refine training programmes to make them more effective.

However, building this type of environment is extremely difficult on a limited budget, particularly for SMEs who may only have a handful of employees. Finding a middle ground between the two options is a more viable choice for most merchants. You could take a slightly more informal approach to training where you weigh up the gaps in your business with the skills employees would like to learn. If there’s some overlap, training is a much less expensive option than hiring – and you’ll gain all the benefits we’ve mentioned already.

Ultimately, training shouldn’t be carried out for the sake of it. It should allow the company to meet its changing needs whilst improving employee satisfaction and engagement. Training should be a win-win situation – if you choose the right programme.

Training may required for any facet of your business – including the software you use on a daily basis. Integrity offers exceptional training programmes for new Trader clients, with a wide range of flexible training options. Contact us to learn more.