One of the keys to developing my business was focusing on the growth of not only the company, but most importantly the growth of my employees. As our team began to learn together and gain experience in our positions, the company ran exponentially more efficiently, reports Inc. 

Training your employees within their own environment is not a very hard task, but it is a necessary one if you want your small business to succeed and run smoothly. Here are four of my favorite tips for developing your small business employees.

1. Allow employees to pursue their passions.

Something I've found to be one of the most important keys to a cohesive workforce is to allow employees to have time to pursue their passions, even if they may not be the most qualified for the position when they start. I initially started my business by assigning strict roles, assuming that the assembly line model would allow me to produce content at peak efficiency.

Unfortunately, I did not account for employee morale, which my intense instructions had taken a toll on. After reading about various ways to remedy this problem, I settled on allowing my workers to pursue stretch projects. Allowing employees a choice in their role on projects and opportunities to lead their own projects greatly increased passion and morale in the workplace, making for a much more efficient company than the traditional model I ran before.

2. Provide resources to allow employees to grow in their respective field.

In addition to keeping employees motivated and passionate about their jobs, it is also important that you provide resources for your employees to further develop their skills and grow in their respective fields.

As a small business, I have traditionally relied on MOOCs (massive online open courses). These courses of study, available over the internet without charge to a very large number of people, supplement the knowledge I am able to provide personally to my workers. Universities from around the globe offer free courses in disciplines from Art History to Finance, allowing for employees to take advantage of a plethora of learning material.

I have found that many of the world's top universities offer either free or low-cost access not only to lecture recordings but also to course notes and testing material for private learners. While adapting some of these courses to fit my employees' interests can sometimes take a little bit of effort, the payoff I've seen in the efficiency and passion for work has far outweighed the couple of hours it took me to put together the free learning material.

3. Build comradery in the workplace.

After morale, comradery in the workplace has proven to be one of my top hidden secrets to growing my small business. I have found that the easier of a time employees have interacting together and working with each other, the more work we get done.

While initially I found it hard to foster a sense of community amongst my employees, I soon found that encouraging informal meetings was a great way for my colleagues to get to know and relate to each other.

By arranging dinners and spending some time outside the office with my employees, I found them to develop real relationships amongst each other which was reflected by a noticeable increase in work. By learning to both work and have fun together, projects began to streamline and employees reported less and less stress in the workplace.

4. Mentor employees one on one.

A crucial aspect of being a small business owner like myself is taking initiative and mentoring employees. My experience in my industry is almost always completely different from the people I hire. It is hard to understand the difficulty of starting ones' own company, but along the way I learned many important lessons that I find crucial to a successful workplace.

I began to shift my location in the workplace, making sure to place myself around the employees as a resource and someone who would be able to answer their questions. Many of my employees began to utilize my new role as a problem solver of sorts, and work speed improved as I made sure to share my wisdom and experience with those who hadn't been through the same trials and tribulations as myself.

By utilizing these four simple and cost-effective tips, I have been able to measure real changes in the efficiency of my workers and have noticed a significant uptick in employee happiness. Paying attention to not only the emotions of the employees but also the aspirations and professional desires of my employees has proved to be an incredible help to my business, accelerating growth and fostering a friendly and productive workforce.