This was originally posted on SwitchandShift.com in July 2017.
“Return on investment.” When a business has made an (often significant) investment in an employee training and development program, they want to see tangible results. But what type of results should we measure?
Employee training and development is a ‘people’ investment just as much as it’s a ‘cash’ investment. The returns from an organization’s investment in their people can help improve talent recruitment, increase employee retention and engagement, and perhaps most importantly, contribute to a positive work environment.
How Employee Training and Development Contribute
Positive Work Environment
Building an organization where people feel inspired, motivated and optimistic about the impact of their work has a positive effect on both people and profits.
On the flip side, Redshift notes, “employees who feel inadequate, underachieving or unsupported are unhappy. They aren’t satisfied in their work, which causes them to underperform, make mistakes and not care about their work product.”
As leaders, how can we help? By providing a strong employee training and development program paired with a management team that invests in professional development for team members, we can help employees feel confident in their jobs. Well-trained employees feel like they have the tools and support they need to be successful, and confident. Successful employees contribute to a positive work environment.
How can having an effective employee training program impact your ability to attract a large pool of talent? Perform a quick search of the jobs on the recruiting site Glassdoor, and you’ll find many employee reviews complaining about poor (or lack of any) training.
Especially in a tight labor market, negative reviews can put off prospective hires before they even show up for an interview. A haphazard onboarding program, or lack of management support for on-going professional development can make your organization less attractive to potential recruits
“All businesses want to have the best employees,” says Saxons Group, suggesting that having highly trained employees attracts other professionals looking for development. And according to Business Know-How, “training, education and degree completion programs have become one of the most desired employee benefits available.”
Shift eLearning notes that “an incredible 22% of staff turnover happens within the first six weeks of employment.” Why would almost one in four employees leave after just a few weeks? Clearly the employees wanted those jobs or else they wouldn’t have accepted them. What’s happening in those first six weeks that would cause them to change their minds?
Training Mag writer Joe Lipham shares an experience where an employee resigned after two weeks because of a weak onboarding process: “…the real reason for leaving was a simple one: No one took the time to train her. She felt horrible that she was not pulling her weight; however, she was just not comfortable in what she was doing.”
When you consider the investment put in to find, attract, interview and hire the right individual onto your team, it’s a significant loss in terms of time and money to start the process again. The benefits of investing in an effective employee training and development program are hard to ignore.
Train Them and They Will… Leave?
Lipham goes on to note that businesses wrongly fear that employees, once trained, will leave the company to work for someone else (such as a competitor). He says good training will increase the likelihood of an employee staying “when the training reinforces the value of the employee” to the business.
Plus, having a skilled workforce puts you at a competitive business advantage when your team is up-to-date on the technology required to do their job, can efficiently manage their time on projects, and have the interpersonal skills to communicate and solve problems effectively with their team members.
Employee engagement has been a hot-button topic for years. Multiple studies have been done on the effects of disengagement on production, profits and morale. Sadly, the results are not encouraging. The 2017 Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report indicates 33 percent of U.S. workers are engaged and 16 percent are actively disengaged. Almost 70 percent of workers are disengaged from their work on some level. There is clearly room for improvement, but what can be done?
Josh Bersin of Chief Learning Officer researched this topic and found that “one of the most important factors in a highly engaged company is the strength of its learning programs…. a strong learning culture and set of learning offerings is still one of the top drivers of a highly desirable workplace.”
When a business offers a “strong learning culture,” useful and engaging employee training is provided on a variety of topics throughout an employee’s time with the company.
When current or former team members complain on public job boards about a weak onboarding process or employee training and development program, lack of management support for professional development, or a company that has no clear plan in place to support the growth of its employees, you’ll have trouble attracting talent.
For many people, a paycheck alone is not enough motivation stay at a job where they feel unsure of their career development plan, or sense that their employer is unwilling to invest in their growth. But when businesses invest in their people by providing effective support and employee training, they improve their chances of building an organization people want to work for, staffed with skilled and happy employees.
We think that’s quite a positive return on investment. What kind of results have you seen from your training investments? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re looking for an employee training solution, we would love to help you map out a plan for success. Set up a consultation and get started!