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The Pros and Cons of Training One Person in Your Support Team

February 4, 2020  |  4 min read

Is it enough to train just one person in your team? Our CSO, Georgina Bale comments…

Part of my role here at Bower is to lead on training and development for admin and operations teams, such as personal assistants, executive assistants and head of operations. Depending on the client, training can range from 1-to-1 sessions to drop-in workshops for those at different stages in their career. 

There are so many benefits that come with training your support teams—a bottom-up approach to development can have a massive positive impact on the efficiency and productivity of your business, as a whole. 

Despite this, support teams are often last to be considered for training and development, if considered at all. A short-term solution is that many businesses opt to train just one person from their support team, which comes with its own set of pros and cons….

The pros of training one person from your support team

It costs less money

80% of the time, it comes down to budget—but trust me, even if your business has a limited budget for training, it’s still a worthwhile investment. Why? Because when your support teams are at their best, your business runs like clockwork and your return-on-investment will make its way back to you in no time. It’s better to train one person than none at all. PS: Our workshops start from just £500 +VAT per person

It allows you to test your options

There are lots of different training and workshop options out there, we get it. How do you know which one is best for your team? Send one person from your support team to scope out the various workshops and feedback to your learning & development department before investing in the best option for the whole team. 

One team member can share their knowledge

Even if you can’t send everyone on your team to a workshop, it doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from the learnings. A key team member can be sent to workshops with the intention of using the information to relay back to the team for a team workshop and/or build a base for the internal training process. Typically, you’ll find that workshops hosts send slides after the workshop, which can be incredibly useful with the additional info from their own notes. 

It sends a positive message

As I mentioned above, admin and ops teams often don’t receive training and development, which can take its toll on their morale (training does such great things for company culture). When you show that you’re willing to invest in training for members of the support team, it will encourage them to be more proactive with their own development and make a strong case for investing further in the rest of the team, even if it means taking turns. 

The cons of training one person from your support team

It makes the rest of your team feel undervalued

Put yourself in their shoes—how would you feel if your colleague received training that could help to boost their skills and land them a promotion, and you didn’t? Underappreciated? Anxious? Yep, that’s how the rest of your support team could feel if you only invested in one person. To resolve this, there would either need to be a chance for everyone to access some form of training one-at-a-time, or a strong case would have to be made (eg: Joseph will create in-house training and development from what he learned at the workshop.) 

It could drive the rest of your team to other companies

This is a continuation from the point above, but if your team feels undervalued, they’ll be more likely to start looking for a job elsewhere—somewhere that values the development of their skills. Even if you had every good intention, the wait is sometimes too long. At this stage, the budget that could have been spent on development, now goes into recruitment. 

No two people are the same

Even if Sarah went to the workshop and took lots of notes, what she picked up could be completely different from what David would learn. It’s because our brains retain information that’s truly useful to current knowledge and future ambitions. If everyone had the chance to attend a workshop or training session, they could ask the questions that are most relevant to them and their development, ensuring that every single member gets the most from the experience.

Your one person could leave the company

So, you sent Mark on the workshop and he had every intention of relaying information back to the team, but—as these things go—work got in the way and all of a sudden, four months have passed. A lot can happen in four months, like Mark getting approached by a competitor and handing in his notice. Now, the investment you made in his training is going to be applied elsewhere. Now, this absolutely a worst-case scenario, but still possible none-the-less. At least when you invest in training multiple members of your team, the knowledge doesn’t sit in the back pocket of just one person.

If you’ve come this far, you’re really considering the future development of your support teams and I’m so happy to see that—it’s truly worth it. My team and I have worked in a variety of roles in support, which means we know first-hand what it takes to stay ahead of the curve. Whether it’s introducing new technology for seriously effective solutions, or mapping out a personal career path, we offer a variety of training and development options for one person or entire teams. 

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