Expenses. They just keep popping up. You find yourself adding item after item until your expense list becomes so long that it makes War and Peace look like a casual bedtime story.
And budgets? Well, budgets are never quite big enough to cover all of the expenses!
So why, when your budget is already tight, would you add staff training and development to the expense list? Why pull your hair out looking for ways to train and upskill staff, when you could be focusing on things like technology or recruitment, that help with business growth?
Well, technology and recruitment are important. But what differentiates staff training from other expenses is that it’s not actually an expense at all. Puzzled? Here is a simple example.
You buy an apple tree. The tree has one apple in its first season. Every week you turn the soil around the tree and add fertilizer, and every season, the tree produces more apples. By the fifth season, through constant care and a whole lot of fertilizer, your tree is able to produce dozens of apples.
You see, staff training and development is not so much a cost as it is an investment in the growth of your people. And when your people grow, you experience business growth.
Staff training is an investment that pays off in so many different ways, not only for employees but for business growth too. To show you what we mean, we’ve picked the top five ways in which training for employees in companies enables business growth.
Training Attracts the Right People
With business growth comes the need to find and recruit new people to the team, and it becomes an increasing challenge. What every business aims for is someone who is well suited, not only to the job but also to the organizational culture.
The good news is that a business with a culture known for learning and development, recognized for its frequent training opportunities, often attracts people who want to learn. The promise for future training opportunities becomes viewed as something of an ‘employment benefit’.
And who wouldn’t want a team of people who are willing and eager to learn, grow and improve with the needs of the business?
So, why go searching for the perfect candidate, when proactively training and developing your staff can make the right people come to you?
Training Retains the Right People
Okay, so maybe you’re thinking, “But we already have all of the best people on board. Our team is fantastic”. And you might just be right.
The modern day employee wants to keep learning new skills, discovering new technologies, and acquiring new knowledge to keep up with the changing times. And if they can’t, then they become bored, disengaged, resentful even, until they move on to a competitor with more exciting career challenges.
And then you’re left with the cost of replacing them. This doesn’t sound like business growth, does it?
Training and development opportunities fulfill employees’ need to keep growing. So by investing in employee training programs, not only are you attracting the right kind of people, but you’re also making them want to stick around for longer.
This provides a competitive advantage – by keeping the best employees on board – and also saves you the cost of recruiting, selecting, and onboarding new (replacement) employees.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What if I “invest” in staff training, and then they leave the company? Won’t I lose that investment?” A valid concern.
But ask yourself another question. If your employees aren’t eager to develop themselves, then are they the kind of people that you want to retain, anyway? No, we didn’t think so.
Training Transforms Inexperienced Employees
You think you’ve found the perfect candidate!
She’s got the qualification, top scores on the competency test, and a personality assessment that makes you believe she was born for this job. What’s more is that the team loves her.
And then comes the blow, the moment you realize that there’s nothing but a blank space under the section labeled ‘Experience’ on her CV.
Failing to hire based on lack of experience could be one of the greatest missed opportunities of all time because employees without prior experience have no old habits to unlearn. And with the current rate of technological advancement, sometimes there simply are no people with the right skills or experience yet… they haven’t had the time or opportunity to develop them.
Through employee training programs for team building, technology, and so much more, these employees can quickly gain the skills and experience that they need to become positive, productive additions to your team and add to your business growth in a very real way.
Training Creates an Agile Team
As technology advances, information becomes limitless, and innovation knows no boundaries, companies find themselves fighting for survival in what feels like the latest sequel of The Fast And The Furious. Those who keep up are those who act with intent and embrace changes in technology, science, and business practices as and when they arise.
But a company is only as agile as its people. This is the importance of employee training and development.
Companies with agility boast a learning culture, where the constant training and development of new skills and knowledge creates a well-rounded, flexible team with the ability to adapt to changing market needs – and quickly.
By equipping employees with the latest skills and knowledge to meet their performance targets, the organization holds an inimitable competitive advantage for business growth – its talented, ever-improving people.
Training Develops Employee Satisfaction and Engagement
We’ve all heard the saying, “Happy employees are productive employees”. But this is not just a saying. And companies as large as Coca-Cola have come to realize this.
It’s sad to note that as many as 80% of employees never reach their full potential, and 4 out of every 10 employees feel disengaged at work. This, of course, has a knock-on effect on their performance, health, and overall productivity.
And we would all agree that disengaged, unhealthy and unproductive employees are not good for business growth.
Investing in training programs makes employees feel fulfilled challenged, and valued, which in turn boosts their job satisfaction and engagement. This often leads to improved performance, productivity, and reduced absenteeism. Shall we continue?
The Measurable Benefits of Employee Training
By now you’re starting to understand why companies should invest in training and development.
Training increases employee productivity and reduces costs in recruitment, onboarding, turnover, and absenteeism. Training also improves employee engagement, satisfaction, and their performance in adapting to an advancing competitive landscape.
But you’re wondering how you would go about measuring the return on that investment.
The good news is that there are multiple, tangible measurements of training outcomes, depending on what you’re measuring.
For knowledge, skill or competency-based training, the most obvious outcome would be improved sales, performance or productivity. Improvements attributed to training can be measured through pre and post-tests, sales figures and changes in output.
For indirect benefits, such as employee satisfaction and engagement, self-report surveys and qualitative feedback can provide valuable insights into how much your employees’ value the opportunity for development.
And then, of course, there are retention rates (or staff turnover rates), which are a useful indication of how challenged and engaged employees feel in their jobs.
Investing in the Best Kind of Training
Staples are an expense. Paper, is an expense. And although it’s something most businesses cannot do without, even coffee is an expense. But unlike these expenses that we so willingly concede to, staff training and development is an investment.
But how do you ensure that you are investing in the best kind of training, with the maximum kind of return? How do you identify feasible training programs that will engage employees and visibly improve their performance?
Your audience and training objectives will always dictate the type of training investment. But eLearning is fast gaining interest as one of the most cost-effective, quality-effective forms of training in the 21st Century.
By choosing a reputable, user-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) and following a few simple steps for designing a great eLearning course, you’ll be on the road to high returns before you can say “expense”.