This was the finding of recent research which we carried out amongst our members earlier this month.
It showed more than one in five firms now rely on guides and handbooks to educate their staff, while traditional alternatives such as courses are becoming less popular.
Cost was identified by almost two thirds of respondents as the biggest barrier to providing training for employees.
For the sake of small businesses and the economy, it is important that small businesses are able to access the right training for their staff at the right price. Unfortunately, while there have been some improvements recently, our research implies this is not always the case at present.
Entrepreneurs are, however, finding ways to provide the skills training their staff need that are more affordable than traditional routes such as expensive courses – anecdotal evidence has recently suggested delivery of which is not always of a consistent standard.
This is particularly relevant given the training and guidance required in order to negotiate the minefield of red tape, which is why small businesses value handbooks such as our own employment and health and safety guides.
Our research suggests time and money spent on red tape training is hindering coaching in key skills and other areas of staff development, affecting recruitment and, subsequently, economic growth.
We think, however, this research ultimately strengthens the case for the education system to better equip school leavers with the necessary employability skills. Education institutions should forge better links with small businesses too, and steps should be taken to reduce the cost of training for small businesses.
And small businesses should be given better guidance on how to identify training needs.