Irrespective of your company’s size, employees are your most valuable asset. To attract top workers and retain them, you need to invest in a solid employee training and development strategy.
This way, you will ensure that your employees have the skills your organization needs. Most importantly, you will boost their satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.
Here are a few key benefits of engaging in employee development, as well as a few tips on how to get the most out of it.
Retaining loyal employees
Statistics say that 89% of employers believe that their workers leave them for money. However, this is not so. Only 12% of employees hop jobs because of a higher salary.
Numerous factors may impact their decisions and one of them is certainly the lack of advancement opportunities. Research backs me up on that. Namely, only 29% of employees are happy with career advancement opportunities, SHRM’s 2017 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report says.
When a top employee accepts a job offer, they expect to grow their career in the next few years. But, when they hit the two-year mark and see that nothing has changed yet, they will start thinking about leaving you. Workers that cannot achieve a certain professional goal are 12 times more likely to leave the company they’re working for.
This may impact your bottom line, as well. Namely, losing an engaged employee comes with lots of indirect expenses, including recruiting and onboarding a new hire, training them, and overcoming various performance issues. Deloitte says that the cost of losing an employee can reach 2x their annual salary.
This is where employee development programs may help. They bring value to an employee. Knowing that an employer is eager to invest in their further growth and development, top employees will feel appreciated and be motivated to stay.
Attracting top talent
In today’s overcrowded market, where there are numerous businesses similar to yours, attracting top talent is challenging.
To set themselves apart from competitors, many businesses focus on establishing a solid employer brand across multiple online channels, such as their website, paid ads, social networks, business review platforms, and so forth.
Therefore, you could build an employer brand development strategy to tell your brand’s story, shape your brand message, and build relationships with the candidates that share your values. For example, when sharing a job posting, highlight employee training and development programs you provide. Get your current employees to share their experiences, too. Encourage them to post the photos and videos from such events. Publish user-generated content on your company’s website and social accounts. You could also ask staff members to write testimonials or reviews to explain what career advancement opportunities they gained.
Increasing workplace engagement
Most employers agree that engaging employees is important. Yet, Gallup says that 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace. This is one of the main reasons why loyal employees will leave your organization.
Disengagement may result in the feelings of dissatisfaction. It affects employee communication, harming your overall organizational culture. 1 in 3 professionals cites boredom as a key reason to hop jobs.
Not gaining the opportunity to develop themselves and learn something new, employees lose motivation and start searching for new professional challenges. This is where providing regular employee development programs can help. They keep your employees focused, make them feel valued, and boost their morale.
Boosting workplace performance
When provided with well-strategized training programs, employees will feel more empowered within your organization. As their skills and industry competencies grow, they will feel a greater sense of autonomy. They will complete their daily tasks more confidently and need less supervision. Finally, you will manage to standardize your workflow and make it clearer and more transparent. In other words, after completing training, an employee will know what exactly is expected of them, what their roles are, what your company’s expectations are and, therefore, boost their performance.
How to build an employee training program
The above mentioned statistics prove that building a solid employee training and development program is critical for your company’s growth.
Here are a few actionable tips to implement:
- Target soft skills
According to the recent LinkedIn Workplace Learning study, more than half of business leaders prioritize soft skills over hard ones when it comes to employee development. The most popular soft skills employers focus on are leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management.
Тhis is somewhat logical. Hiring top professionals in your industry is important. However, you also need to hire flexible workers, team players, and critical thinkers that can contribute to the betterment of your company culture.
- Personalize employee training programs
In the past, the majority of employee development programs were based on the „one size fits all“ approach. These tactics don’t work anymore, as they contradict the modern employee management tactics.
Today, employees want to be recognized individually in terms of their personal skills, achievements, and approaches to learning. Your training programs should be personalized, too. Analyze your employees, research their skills, technological fluency, learning styles, and expectations and, based on that, align your development programs to their needs.
- Leverage digital learning
Online learning has gained momentum over the past few years. According to the LinkedIn survey, 58% of workers prefer learning new skills at their own pace. This is what makes online learning most suitable for today’s increasingly diverse and tech-savvy workforce. Training should always be provided on multiple platforms and be highly dynamic, accessible, and personalized. Above all, it should always come with comprehensive support for your employees.
Are you ready to approach employee development strategically?
When building an employee training and development plan, do so strategically.
For starters, establish clear business goals. These goals will determine the type of your employee training plan, let you track the performance of your strategy, and help you grow your organization.
Second, you should know what skills you want to prioritize. Boost those skills that are in line with your overall business objectives and that are critical for your company’s success.
Third, think about the factors, goals, and problems you may come across when building an employee development plan.
Finally, track everything you do. Analyze your organizational culture before, during, and after the implementation of the plan to see how it impacted both employees’ satisfaction and your bottom line.
How does employee training and development plan impact your company culture? We’d like to hear from you!
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.