The holiday season is filled with many expectations and, often, stress. A lot of it concerns giving and receiving gifts.

The thing is, the best gift you can give or receive is knowledge. This gift lasts a lifetime and can help one achieve successes that they wouldn't have otherwise.

If you run a business, one of your goals every year should be to train your employees. The nature of our world these days requires everyone being engaged in continuous learning.

A fear that some owners have is that an employee gets training from their company and then goes to work somewhere else. The prospect of that happening causes the company owner to not want to incur the costs in dollars and time to training their employees.

This mindset is self-defeating. One of the most effective ways for a company to become more successful is by continuously training their employees. Why do I think that?

Look at Your Day-to-Day World
Buy a new car recently? Upgraded your phone? Gone to order fast food and found a screen which you use to place your order instead of speaking to a person?

You are learning new things daily, whether you want to or not. The pace of change is so fast that if you don't keep up, you're likely to become overwhelmed and frustrated.

You must learn how to operate these new devices and systems. You simply don't have another choice.

Your Company Uses More and More Technology
Many companies are using software packages, such as Buildertrend, CoConstruct or Buildxact, to get closer and closer to single-entry data management.

One pattern I see is there are some company owners who expect their employees to learn the new software without their productivity being diminished. What happens then is that most of the employees never really embrace the software. The result is the company functions less effectively than it did prior to purchasing the software!

On the other hand, I see companies that set aside training time for their employees. These companies will break the needed training into bite-size pieces, so the employees are less likely to be overwhelmed. Such companies will have an employee or two who are champions of the new software and will take the lead in the training. And with the owner engaging in the training, the use of the software is more likely to become "business as usual" sooner rather than later.

The latter example is the only way to get the benefit of the company's dollar investment in the software. The investment in time and training is essential, not optional.

Many Employees "Visit" Companies Now
An employee working their entire life at one company is becoming rarer by the day. Change in circumstances, the hope of advancement, and life goals, such as being able to buy a home, drive a constant search for better opportunities.

An employer who accepts that reality needs to get the most out of their employees sooner rather than later. The only way for that to happen is for the company to engage in continuous learning.

And, oddly enough, the results of doing so can often be that many of the employees will want to stay with the company instead of just visiting it! How much money can that save the company?

The truth is that a company which doesn't give its employee more knowledge and skills will never be as successful as it deserves to be. Those gifts are not optional, particularly today.

I will never forget the first two different company owners I worked for. They taught me so much about the work I was supposed to do and about life.

The result was my life has been better than it would have been if I never worked for them.

Isn't that what you want your employees to say about you? Give them the gift of knowledge and they likely will.