Training and development in business are often relegated to new hires and college students. However, this should not be the case. Continuous training can be an essential factor in business success. Therefore, every company needs a training and skills development program that can meet the needs of business professionals where they are.
Employers that take the necessary steps to produce a culture of continuous training and development have experienced enhanced employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. These benefits and more can come with a comprehensive understanding of training and development programs and how to implement them.
Here, we’ll dive into the details.
What it means to provide continuous training and development
Employees are the greatest asset you can manage within your business. This sentiment is often expressed but more rarely taken to heart. Training and development programs, however, can ensure that talent potential is maximized across a business, leading to greater productivity and satisfaction among workers.
But what does an effective training and development program entail? And how often should employees be participating in such a program?
The answers to these questions will of course vary to a degree depending on your industry and business model, but the main elements are universal. Employee development programs do not limit employees to their current duties. These programs set them on a path towards the development of greater and greater skill sets that will help them flourish in their careers. This can come in the form of consistent training modules, career planning, mentorship, and business coaching programs.
With 94% of employees more likely to stay with a company that invests in career development, the future success of your own business will undoubtedly hinge on the way you support employee growth. The right training and development program will keep employees from feeling stuck or static, allowing them to grow their skills.
By developing training programs that suit your employees’ needs and are accessible at any time, you give your workers tools to be more successful in every avenue of their lives. This is one of the important reasons to hold regular performance reviews in which you can assess not only the metrics important to your company’s goals but those critical to the individual employee as well.
From there, you can align your employees with the tools, resources, and programs you have collected in order to maximize their potential. These programs can be developed specifically within your company or curated from a wide variety of resources. Since everyone has different needs and learning strategies, it helps to keep diverse options for training and development on hand.
The different approaches to employee training and development
As mentioned previously, employee training and development can take a variety of forms. The effectiveness of each type will depend on the learning style and professional goals of the specific employee. Depending on your business model and resources, one or more of these strategies could be the best fit for in-house development. Otherwise, third-party resources are always available both for online and in-person training.
Here are the different approaches to continuous employee training and development that you should consider:
This is perhaps the style of training most of us think of when we hear about employee development. Instructor-led training typically takes place in a classroom environment. Nowadays, this could mean a Zoom meeting as well.
The instructor can come from within your organization or from an independent dedicated professional with expertise in a specific topic or field. This type of training can be great for auditory and visual learners who will get a chance to participate in a community learning environment. Consider instructor-led training for new topics or requested skillsets that your workers want to apply in the workplace.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, eLearning has exploded in value and popularity. From institutions of higher learning to democratized digital learning platforms like Udemy, students of every age, profession, and location are congregating online. For any business, these platforms can be of immense value for providing cheap and flexible employee training.
The added benefit of eLearning modules for employee development is that workers are able to engage with these modules in between projects. Instead of idling, employees can dedicate working hours to developing their own careers. This can produce the dual benefits of increased productivity and employee satisfaction.
Coaching and mentoring
This option of employee development could be one of your least expensive and most fruitful. By pairing employees to those who have already advanced in their career tracks and have skills and experience to share, you can set up employees for success and career advancement.
This process often entails working hands-on with new procedures, directed one-on-one by a mentor within the company. Such a program can help streamline the success of a business by ensuring veteran knowledge is not lost while building up the potential of new hires and less experienced professionals. Mentor training and coaching can be the perfect solution for learners with a more kinesthetic bent, allowing them to experience new processes firsthand.
All these training and development strategies and more can put your employees on track for great success. As a result, you will see all kinds of benefits to the way you conduct business.
The benefits of an effective training and development program
Nothing benefits a business quite like making full use of the assets on hand. In this case, your employees are those assets, and the development of their skills and talents will help set your company on a path to greater success. However, it is important to understand the full potential of a successful training and development program if you are going to get yours right.
Effective training programs can do everything from boosting sales revenues to helping counter everyday leadership challenges. Spread wide enough across a business, employee development programs have proven their worth through improvements to a host of valuable metrics.
Here is just some of the data regarding the benefits continuous employee training can bring:
- The engagement offered by employee development programs can decrease employee turnover rate by 59%.
- Higher employee retention rates save companies as much as 150% of an employee’s annual salary.
- Engaged employees translate to 41% lower absenteeism and 17% higher productivity.
- Training boosts levels of employee empowerment into the 79th percentile.
- Continuous training and development helps reduce the skills gap reported by 90% of business executives.
With benefits like these possible through the greater levels of employee engagement and success that training offers, companies across all kinds of industries should prioritize their development programs. Realizing this, as many as 27% of organizations are preparing to increase their own budgets for ongoing employee training.
These programs can even offer benefits behind greater performance and productivity. The potential for employees to develop essential skills for the modern world through training programs and eLearning modules is limitless.
User experience (UX) design classes, for example, can take workers with no previous experience in the subject and mold them into UX experts. Businesses can then employ the benefits of having a cross-trained selection of professionals who can help with every aspect of design and quality of products.
This is but one of the innumerable outcomes that can occur with an effective approach to employee training and development. Your business and employees will experience similar positives, from broader engagement to the accrual of new and valuable skills. First, you’ll need some pointers for properly integrating an employee development program.
Tips for integrating continuous training
Not every employee development approach is created equal. Different options will work better for different business goals and employee needs. Your development strategy will entail working with your employees and analyzing key business metrics in order to produce the best results.
HR departments and third-party training companies will be invaluable in helping you create a functioning program for continuous employee development. However, you can lay the groundwork for success by starting with a comprehensive and empathetic plan.
Here are some tips to help you develop such a plan:
- Identify business goals based on data and set clear goals represented in numbers and written statements.
- Engage with employees, gaining a consensus for what types of training are desirable and how employees learn best.
- Analyze your employees for preferences and potential, matching goals and values to positions within your company your employees can work towards.
- Explore training programs available to you as well as what you can create internally.
- Reassess with employee feedback to prompt collaboration, engagement, and excitement.
While the diversity of employee needs and types of training can make formulating a plan more complex, communication with your employees is key. Find out what makes your workers excited about learning and skill development, then apply these values in the training program you select. You can always adjust and reevaluate based on the results you see.
The importance of ongoing employee training and development is undeniable. Businesses are pouring money into this investment path all the time, and in turn they are seeing greater performance and engagement as well as employee retention. These benefits can maximize the potential of people and products alike, making for a brighter future for all involved. Take the proper steps now in integrating an effective employee development program and begin reaping these benefits yourself.