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The importance of training for businesses and their employees

Posted January 21st, 2019

“Train people well enough so that they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson

As the new year started, I was thinking about my son and his current employment.  He’s a bright young man with many talents and a few rough edges that still need to be refined.  He works for a company that sells information held on a comprehensive database and he was originally taken on for his science skills pertinent to a new and growing part of the database.

As time has progressed the company has noticed he has strong communication and writing skills and has added running some product training courses, writing some internet articles and running the ‘customer care’ programme to his portfolio. In turn the customer relations work has led him to work closely with the IT team and the computer programmers and he is now becoming involved with some programming too.

For a man in his late twenties this ‘jack of all trades’ employment is eye opening and interesting and I know he enjoys being in a position as the ‘go to’ for most unallocated problems.

I think they have pitched his salary about right too. He certainly isn’t overpaid, and he knows he could be earning more in customer care elsewhere, but he’s been there over 4 years and hasn’t left yet, so I do think they have his package about right…..except for the training.

Once he had developed a rudimentary customer care programme he realised he had a lot to learn. He asked for and was promised training to plug some of the gaps. Over the last two years he’s had good performance reviews, a couple of nice bonuses and a lot of support from the board. What he hasn’t had is the training. He’s brought this up at each review and at regular ‘one to ones’, and although the training is continuously promised it never happens. So now he’s actively looking for a new position elsewhere and interestingly his primary concern seems to be finding one with a much better salary. The desire for training has now morphed into a desire for a better paid job elsewhere.

He’s not telling his company he’s looking and he’s not going to move until he’s found exactly the right job, but he is actively seeking alternative employment now and I think it is just a matter of time before he goes.

Now, does that matter? You could say in this day and age that four years in one company is a decent stint and it’s time to move on. You could say that his company would expect a continual (if hopefully gradual) turnover of employees and that can be a healthy thing too. And although he is my son and therefore obviously blessed with wonderful genes and an above average intelligence, I am not suggesting they cannot replace him with someone of equal or greater skills.

What I would suggest is that replacing him is not going to be hassle free. There will be the costs of recruitment to start with as well as the inevitable learning curve before the new recruit is fully up to speed with the company, the services and the different major customer’s requirements and foibles. The nature of the role, being spread across different departments, will probably also mean a fair bit of juggling and repositioning of other people’s roles as it is unlikely any new recruit will be able to work across so many disciplines initially.

And it won’t all be roses for my son either. Where he is he is liked and respected, he has an unusually wide portfolio that suits his restless mind and in time he may well look back and think he has missed a golden opportunity to further develop his skills into a broader company management role in a successful company and the possible opportunities that may have provided.

And all this upheaval could have been avoided with some relatively inexpensive training.

You know, when you think about it, it’s amazing what good value training is when it comes to staff retention. A wage rise costs what it costs and you pay it year after year. For the employee their rise feels to be less than your cost because they lose the tax and NI.  Training on the other hand is the exact reverse of that. It is usually too expensive for an employee to pay for a course for themselves but you might get tax relief in some cases on your expenditure – and if it is an e-learning course or a course you buy to run in house you might spread the cost over many employees.

People like to learn. People like to feel they are developing and growing and everyone certainly likes to feel they are in control in their roles and have all the necessary skills and knowledge at their fingertips to do the job well. And of course, it’s no longer just ‘job specific’ training that people require.

My first career many moons ago was in marketing and all my training was role related – effective advertising, media options, market research, direct marketing, sampling and so on. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I had to challenge all my well entrenched thinking with training courses on equality and diversity, drugs and alcohol, health and safety amongst others, and most recently of course the General Data Protection Regulation. Today employees need to be not only expert in their own field, but to have a good working knowledge of a raft of general laws and good business practices that keep your company working efficiently – and out of the law courts.

E-learning courses as well as off the shelf in house course of the type offered by Trainer Bubble give you a cost-effective way of providing your employees with the training and updates they want – and at a fraction of the cost of a pay rise.

And employee retention is just one benefit of training, apart from all the other benefits training your employees bring – more knowledgeable and effective employees, employees who become highly engaged, happier and hence you enjoy a lower employee turnover and an improved bottom line.

Trainer Bubble pride themselves on providing affordable training solutions that work. Whether you are looking for instructor led training or would like to develop an e-learning portfolio, we can help you with your development needs. Find out more at Trainer Bubble.

Article by Jon Cooper, Marketing Manager for Trainer Bubble

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