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29 Jan 2024

Time Is of the Essence: Why Small Businesses Must Implement Learning Programs Now

Lone Armadillo Learning Stand: 302
Time Is of the Essence: Why Small Businesses Must Implement Learning Programs Now

Is your company one of the 98% of businesses in the U.S. with fewer than 100 employees?

According to the 2020 Census, 31,851,887 out of the 32,594,424 establishments fall into this category. (Source: [Census Website]). Whether big or small, attracting and retaining talent remains “the biggest internal worry of CEOs worldwide.” (Source: [Conference Board Report]). Developing talent is key to addressing this issue.


Do you view employee development as a cost or an investment?

In a small business, you need everyone to be an expert and a leader in their role.

Small businesses don’t usually have an overlap of positions. Each person has to carry the totality of their weight, and because of the size of the organization, shortcomings can have a disproportionate impact on the whole company.

Ironically, these smaller organizations usually provide the least amount of ongoing development for their people. Even onboarding is rarely a structured process. Because of the impact—both positively and negatively—that employees, contractors, and interns can have on small businesses, these are precisely the organizations that most need this training.

In today’s competitive environment for talent, being a competitive employer is another reason to provide training, upskilling, and reskilling.

In LinkedIn's Workplace Learning Report 2023 (Source: [LinkedIn]), “providing learning opportunities” was noted as the number one way employers were seeking to address employee retention. Considering LinkedIn’s research shows that “three of the top five factors that people consider when pursuing new jobs reflect their desire to stretch, grow, and develop new skills,” promoting learning opportunities is a smart response to market trends. (Ibid, p. 23) 18-34-year-olds are looking to grow their careers and are actively seeking employers who can help them develop their knowledge and skills to get there. For those employers who provided that training and helped those employees move within their organization, there was a 75% likelihood of that employee staying with the company, versus 56% who were not given that opportunity.

While there is commonly a fear that someone you train will just leave, the data suggest otherwise. As long as the company provides those employees with new career responsibilities, these employees are more likely to stay than they would without the training investment.

Importantly, the company will benefit from that employee staying with the organization, reaping the benefits of their additional skills and abilities. Plus, the small business will save the average $4,700 in hard costs to find a replacement, not to mention the additional costs for lost productivity by that employee and while training a new employee. In fact, the “total cost to hire a new employee can be three to four times the position's salary, according to Edie Goldberg, founder of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based talent management and development company E.L. Goldberg & Associates.” (Source: [SHRM]). Furthermore, the impacts are frequently greater, as there are disruptions across the team, emotionally and functionally, as well as with customers, especially in client-facing roles.


The question is, does your small business offer a formal learning and development program, which you:

- Reference in job and social media postings to help attract candidates?

- Leverage to standardize onboarding for employees, freelancers, and interns?

- Provide to your customers to help them maximize the value of your products and services, thus increasing client retention and reducing attrition and improving lifetime value per customer?

- Advocate internally as a priority for your company to remain competitive?

- Promote skills development for your team and help them grow in their careers?

- Celebrate the increased efficiency and impact your company experiences from better-trained, more highly skilled, more motivated employees who require less supervision and are better managers and leaders?


Your company is making strategic decisions about its products and services, about its marketing and technologies. Yet is your small business being strategic about developing its people? If not, now is the time to support the people you are asking more of, who will help your company scale and be successful.


While most products on the market are geared toward companies with 300 or more employees, a new solution is making enterprise-level training available—and cost-effective—to small businesses. Visit Lone Armadillo Learning at Booth #302 to learn more or visit


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