Investing time and effort into the continuous training and development of employees is not only essential to the long-term health of a company but also to the long-term wellbeing of staff. This is because to facilitate growth and continued success, a company must focus on reaching the potential of its staff so that they are willing and able to keep the business on a path of success, even as it grows.
Business owners don’t usually neglect the sourcing of new talent to help with increasingly difficult tasks. Still, they do tend to fail to develop their existing staff and give them more responsibilities. This is both detrimental to the business and the self-esteem of staff members to underestimate their abilities and leave them with the same level of responsibility as when they joined the company.
Training and development give purpose to a person’s career and equip them with the right skills and expertise to help the business grow and develop.
This article explores exactly why training and development are so important for businesses:
What is Training and Development?
Employee training involves enrolling staff on programs designed to further their abilities, teach them new skills or expand their knowledge to improve their performance.
Employee development is a distinct process that involves a supervisor sitting down with a member of staff and discussing ways to enhance their performance through a bespoke action plan. The plan would identify areas that require improvement and offer solutions that enable the staff member to achieve the goals that have been laid out.
This isn’t as brutal as it sounds. Eliminating weaknesses refers to the process of identifying where staff is struggling and then directing attention to improving this area which will ultimately eliminate the weakness.
Weak links cause chains to break; it makes so sense to focus on extending the chain or polishing it when there is a weak link compromising the entire structure.
Development programs can bring all staff members to the minimum acceptable level, while stronger employees will become even more capable. But as long as everybody meets at least the required criteria, they can assist each other effectively without anyone having to supervise anyone else.
As previously mentioned, quality training and development programs can have a great effect on the mentality of staff members and increase job satisfaction. This in turn has a very positive effect on businesses because it increases job retention by creating a sense of appreciation and loyalty in staff, causing them to work harder.
Hiring new employees is also more expensive than developing existing staff and improving job retention, so it makes sense to improve things internally before looking for a new staff member.
If staff are well-versed in all things relating to the business they represent, then they will be able to transfer some of that knowledge to customers pleasantly and professionally. If a customer rings up a company to acquire information and is met with a long “ermmmm” in response to their question, it is safe to assume that this customer will be dissatisfied.
A training program specific to customer service, even a brief one, can boost customer satisfaction tremendously.
Continuous development not only makes staff feel valued and important but also gives the company as a whole a competitive edge if a business exists in a constantly changing landscape. In website development, for example, keeping staff up-to-date with the latest strategic knowledge or industry standards will cement the company in a leading position.
Enhancing the knowledge and skills of staff can also give them the added confidence they need to excel in their position and truly reach their potential. Furthermore, it can inspire and ignite a passion in staff members because it brings their personal vision in line with that of the businesses, creating a symbiotic relationship whereby the employee's success is directly tied to that of the company.
Untrained Employees Create Risk
If staff members are inadequately trained and injure themselves or a member of the public, the legal implications can be catastrophic for businesses. The responsibility to ensure staff has undertaken compliance training and workplace safety training belongs to the employer, so to avoid lawsuits, employers should at least enrol staff on workplace safety training programs.
Many employers also put their staff through ethics training to facilitate a safe, friendly and inclusive workspace. This further minimises the risk of being sued for not adhering to industry standards in safety and workplace behaviour.
The return on investment that employers can expect to receive after putting their employees through a training program can vary depending on the type of program and how good the material is.
If time and money are invested into finding a high-quality training program that covers areas that actually need to be targeted, the business can expect to receive a decent ROI.
Some companies put their employees through training programs that can be adequately described as pointless from a business perspective. Still, there are many types of training programs that can have a fantastic ROI.
Because training materials are a one-off expenditure and the value extracted from them is ongoing, the ROI can be excellent, as long as the training is effective and relevant, of course.
Measuring the ROI presents quite a challenge as the variables involved aren’t actually testable.
For example, if you invest in a training program and business begins to improve straight after, it can be safe to assume that this is a direct result of the training, though it is difficult to demonstrate this.
The following formula can be followed to get a good idea of the ROI of training, though the ‘benefits’ element will be difficult for some businesses to calculate.
Benefits (net profit) divided by the cost of the training x 100.