Shifting the focus from ‘expense’ to ‘investment’.
The benefits of a successful training program are endless. Developing your employees’ skillsets leads to increased productivity and efficiency, which in turn increases the organisation’s competitive advantage and increases profits. Employees can be trained in new skills that help your business evolve; or they can be trained in existing ones, promoting their ability to complete tasks to a higher standard or more efficiently.
The modern digital world is constantly evolving, and with it is almost every industry. If we learned anything from how the job market evolved in the last 2 years, it’s that we cannot predict how the world of work will look in the future. Investing money into training often gets considered an expense and can be overlooked or undervalued as a powerful tool for business success. With the world constantly changing, we can only keep up if we continue to evolve our workforce – this means maintaining an understanding of what is important in your industry, and how you can ensure your employees are meeting that standard or demand.
A question that is often raised when it comes to training is…
“What if we train them and they leave?” when the real focus must be shifted to “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”
What use is a workforce that is stuck in the habits and skillsets that they took into the position one, five, ten years ago?
New challenges can arise at any time, and a competitive organisation can respond quickly and efficiently. You can have the most effective hiring team in the industry, and hire only the best candidates, but development is imperative to continued success. Those at the top of their game in any industry only got there through training and constant development – the world’s best athletes train and develop their skills every single day, and your employees should be no different to maintain a competitive advantage.
Of course, future, surprise challenges are unknown, and your employees cannot be trained to deal with specific issues that have yet to arise, but they can be trained to be agile, sharp-skilled and in constant review of their own performance. This means greater confidence, which leads to the next great advantage of training… employee satisfaction and retention.
One of the most important benefits of training that cannot be overlooked is employee satisfaction. The earlier question posed said “what if we train them and they leave” – what if you invest in an individual’s development and they take those skills elsewhere? Granted, that will always be a possibility, but in the era of ‘The Great Resignation’ and at a time when employee retention is more difficult than ever, upskilling is a powerful tool to encourage employees to stay with your business.
By providing your employees with development opportunities, you are showing them that you value their careers and futures. Employees are also able to see the path to career advancement in front of them, which further boosts morale (and in turn productivity) and will help you maintain the best staff.
Employees are the most valuable tool in your business’s success, and they should be treated as such.
How should I invest in training?
With all of that said, it doesn’t matter how well you know the benefits of training if you are unable to invest in it successfully. When it comes to building a training program, the needs of every organisation are different, and before you can start creating your program, you need to assess what is needed to move your business forward.
Training does become an expense when the needs of the business are not successfully analysed. The best training programs:
- Align with the business’s goals and objectives
- Have tangible goals
- Advance employee’s ability to do existing tasks
- Upskill employees in new areas
- Encourage positive and successful communication amongst teams and the wider business
- Are part of a business-wide strategy that considers all levels of the organisation
- Encourage employees to feel like valuable assets to the business
We will address some of these key points in our next article, which talks about Training Needs Analysis, so keep an eye out for that one.