Employee development is necessary for your business’s success and for the individual employee’s career. Investing in training and career development is a strategic solution to grow your organization, improve productivity, and decrease employee turnover.
Yet, many businesses struggle to find the time to devote to employee development, ultimately affecting employee skills and growth and potentially impacting their business success.
Increasing customer demands, an overwhelming employee workload, and post-pandemic challenges, such as labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, make it difficult to prioritize employee development. But we can’t ignore or neglect developing our employees.
Many businesses are highly considering taking virtual leadership courses online to help manage remote teams. Other businesses are taking different approaches. So, how do we balance everything to ensure a continued focus on employee growth, despite time constraints and other obstacles? Planning.
Benefits of Employee Training and Development
Businesses are investing more resources into employee training and development, which is an indicator of how beneficial it can be.
So, what are the exact benefits?
More businesses are competing for market share, which means more business profits. According to a study conducted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), businesses that invest in formalized training experienced a 24 percent higher profit margin than those that didn’t.
Roughly 75 percent of HR professionals struggling with recruiting say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. When you invest in your employee development, you can address the skill shortage by training your own workforce to prepare for your business’s future needs. You’ll not only save money, but you’re developing your employees’ skill sets to stay competitive in the market.
When you invest in your employees, you’re helping them learn new skills that can help them collaborate more effectively with other departments. The ultimate benefit for you is a higher quality end product with plenty of innovation and creativity.
Employee motivation and proper leadership are a vital component of productivity. When you invest in employee development, you ensure that your employees know what to expect if they work hard. They can acquire new skills and keep themselves sharp and competitive in the market, which helps with career advancement and future opportunities.
Strategies for Prioritizing Employee Growth
Made famous by Stephen Covey, “starting with the end in mind” is a useful phrase that can be applied to training strategies.
Consider the end goal first. What outcomes do you hope to get for your employees, managers, teams, and company? This is a great place to start. Once you have a goal in mind, you can back-end training solutions into a solid and actionable plan.
For example, if you have a goal to teach your department heads to be more confident, prepared, and inspiring speakers who can deliver client presentations that sell your products, that’s a clear indicator that presentation training can be beneficial. If you didn’t have such a specific goal in mind, it would be difficult to choose the right training avenue for your employees.
Struggling to identify clear goals? Here’s a tip: ask end-focused questions, such as:
- In one year, what skill would we like to see developed most?
- For this team, in what areas would we like to see the most growth in the coming months?
- For this individual, which skill would best serve their future career growth?
These questions should help you define your goals and tailor the training initiative to achieve them.
All businesses and employees struggle to find time and opportunities for training, especially with involved training programs that have multiple days. Setting aside full days, multiple days, or even half days can feel like too much time away, leading managers to put off manager training in favor of other business goals.
Fortunately, not all training needs to take up that kind of time. With many people shifting to a remote work setting, virtual leadership training could be an option. In addition,breaking up training sessions into smaller portions not only makes it more manageable from a time standpoint, but it also helps employees learn and retain the information better.
Identify what development looks like in smaller time chunks. For example, a 5-minute training talk from internal department heads can be sent to employees in a weekly email to help with development. A 15-minute video with sound bites that have hard-hitting tools geared toward a specific goal or purpose can work wonders. You could also offer a 30-minute lunch with learning that offers an inspirational lesson that’s relevant to a team.
Still drawing a blank? Consider the options you have from the smallest to the largest increments of time. Think and strategize for what can be trained in 15 minutes or less, then 30 or 45 minutes, then 60 to 90 minutes. Plan out your training to adapt to these small training opportunities and commit to a development plan.
Instead of stressing about employee training and development, consider outsourcing. Finding training solutions or partners can alleviate time and stress in planning, developing, and delivering training. External resources can be helpful in expediting what’s been neglected or stalled in your employee development efforts.
To start, identify the highest priority or biggest pain point in terms of employee training. Then, seek out partners or training solutions that address the skills or development you’re hoping to achieve.
If you’re not sure which partners or training solutions are best for you and your team, leverage your network. Seek out referrals from experts in your network and see what they have to say. Using training consultants vetted by your trusted contacts saves time and money.
Businesses face numerous challenges every day. Time constraints, customer demands, and other challenges will always exist, but the key is not to let them impede your focus on employee growth and development. Investing in your employees not only benefits your business, but it helps your employees feel valued and improves their loyalty and satisfaction. An employee who feels invested in is more committed to the business’s goal and mission.
For training and development to be truly effective, they must be designed with the employee in mind. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, companies should look into personalized alternatives where training is tailored to each employee’s personal needs and goals within the company.
On the one hand, training and development leads to improved profitability and/or more positive attitudes toward profit orientation, improves the job knowledge and skills at all levels of the organization, improves the morale of the workforce and helps the employees identify with organizational goals.
Employees who manage their time well are more productive, more efficient, and more likely to meet deadlines. They focus on the most important and time-sensitive tasks and limit the amount of time wasted on non-essential duties.