There are deep business benefits to be had from the personal development of your employees.
Creating a learning culture among staff and enabling and encouraging continuous improvements is vital for agile businesses.
The world’s most successful firms know this and are constantly innovating to put employee training and development at the forefront of business strategy.
Whilst an upskilled employee may, of course, decide to move elsewhere, so can a disengaged and disillusioned employee who hasn’t been invested in. Worse still, whilst an employee who has not been invested in is within your business they may underperform or become more of a drain than an asset.
Training creates invested employees, who feel valued and promotes company loyalty. Plus employee skills can be tailor made to further your own business goals. Employee development is great for morale and talent attraction.
Particularly where internal progression is enabled, employee development is also a boost to staff retention. Not only does recruitment take up time and money that can be better directed elsewhere, in more and more cases the skills businesses require aren’t necessarily present in the available workforce, making developing them internally key.
Forbes reported that 56% of workers feel growth opportunities are more important than salary.
Five key business benefits of employee development are:
1. Employee retention – training employees to fit the roles you have means creating opportunities to hold on to invested staff who already know the culture of your business and have knowledge and experience of it and its history
2. Reduced recruitment costs – investing in employees boosts morale and opportunities for progression, promoting employee retention
3. Good PR and attraction of the best talent – the best employees want to continue to be the best and continue to grow. They will seek out firms who are willing to invest in them
4. Company resilience and future proofing – Continuous and ongoing training allows your teams to keep pace as the world moves forward, making your business dynamic and competitive
5. Gaining a competitive edge – providing the right training to deliver the outcomes you need will put you ahead, especially when those skills are not common in the wider community and allows you to train people to a uniform high standard.
1. Employee retention – holding on to good experienced people
Investment in training and development for staff enhances opportunities for employee retention and internal progression. Investing in the development of managers to create positive and high quality management also has an impact on staff retention.
Whilst the validity of the stock phrase ‘people leave managers, not organisations’ can be debated, good managers will definitely assist in keeping people and bad managers are likely to repel them. It’s worth remembering the value not just of finding and training the managers of the future but also in further skilling the managers you already have.
Google’s Project Oxygen, its internal study of management performance data, put emphasis on uncovering and replicating key traits of good managers across its business. It has been reported that this led to improvements in employee turnover, satisfaction and performance.
2. Reduced recruitment costs via employee progression
One of the key traits Google uncovered and sought to share via Project Oxygen was a growth mindset – that is the belief that skills can be developed through teaching, experience and practice.
It’s a phrase embedded into the culture of a lot of big business, including Microsoft, which marks out creating and retaining a growth mindset across teams as key to its success.
Microsoft puts a lot of emphasis on training and development and frequent promotion opportunities.
Giving people access to the right development opportunities means nurturing talent within the business and holding onto it as well as being a great tangible data point to inform salary reviews.
3. Good PR and attraction of the best talent to the business
Good, motivated and passionate staff want to continue to grow and develop. They’ll look for firms who are willing to invest in them to keep their career thriving.
It’s something Amazon may well have been trying to tap into when it recently announced a $700 million investment in retraining its 100,000 members of its American team.
Amazon’s public announcement said the move will mean one in three of its employees will get training to move roles or pursue ‘career paths outside of Amazon.’ It was a move designed to give the message that the firm values its people.
4. Company resilience and future proofing
With technological development moving at such a fast pace now, businesses increasingly struggle to ensure their employees are up to speed.
One way of keeping up is to have a specific and targeted programme of employee development and training. This can be boosted with high quality performance management practices and learning content management systems.
American telecommunications firm AT&T launched a multi-year programme in 2018 to retrain and upskill more than 100,000 of its staff. It had identified the struggle to keep pace as key.
It launched a $1 billion web-based collaboration with leading universities and online courses. An online careers portal allows staff to see what jobs will grow in the future, the skills needed and what training is required for each.
5. Gain a competitive edge
Increasingly, especially in high tech and IT industries, the required skills for the future are not present in the talent pool and wider community.
By developing these skills internally you can gain a competitive edge. Similarly internal development of skills means creating best in class people who have all been trained the same way to the same standard – think customer services training at Disney. You can create an elite workforce who give you a USP.
Financial giant JPMorgan Chase had this in mind when it launched a $350 million strategy to train the workforce of the future via the development of new internal and external training schemes.
Robin Leopold, head of human resources, said at the time: “Building a future-ready workforce is a key priority.
“That is why we are proactively identifying the skills we need and understanding the skills and education our employees have.”
The talent review focus means having an acute awareness of what skills are already within the business and what gaps there are, which, as with all employee development, is good for staff and good for business too.