© Performance Management Consultants
You’ve built a highly capable team at your organization. Every member contributes a unique set of skills and life experiences to your projects. How can you retain these sought-after professionals in a competitive job market?
The answer isn’t a high salary and a great benefits package. Though compensation does matter, most professionals stay at an organization when that organization invests in their professional development. In other words, highly capable professionals are motivated by growth, not just by dollar signs. They want to know that your organization cares about their long-term professional development. When you invest in your team, they become more engaged and, therefore, more productive. You also cultivate loyalty, which helps to retain team members.
Would you agree with our list of the most underrated benefits of employee training and development below?
1. Employee development improves your reputation as an organization (which helps attract top talent)
Every organization wants to recruit top talent. The competition for those employees can be very stiff. To successfully attract prospective employees, particularly millennials, your organization has to create a strong reputation for treating its team members well.
By offering regular training opportunities, your organization indicates to current and prospective employees that you have a forward-thinking organizational culture and management style. They will think of your organization as a great employer that’s in it for the long haul, seeing it as caring and willing to invest in its employees.
That type of positive reputation is invaluable in the job market. According to the job posting site, Glassdoor, nearly 70% of employment seekers check for an organization’s reputation before they apply. More than 80% of employed professionals claimed they would leave their current position to work at a company with a positive reputation. Plainly speaking, your willingness to offer training will help you obtain a stronger workforce.
Perhaps most importantly, this well-earned positive reputation not only helps to attract high-level professionals, it attracts the ideal kind of job-seekers—people who want to better themselves.
2. Training strengthens your in-house talent (exponentially, if you do it right)
Stagnation is a key ingredient in the recipe for workplace disaster. Once tasks become repetitive, roles become stale, and work days seem indistinguishable from one another, something potentially terrible is happening. Your team members are getting bored. They’ve stopped being inspired and started slacking off. They’re no longer engaged at work, and they’re probably not looking to see how they can grow within your organization. They may even be actively looking for employment elsewhere.
Your talented employees deserve the chance to add skills to their toolbox and, in doing so, engage in new challenges or even shift their career trajectory.
For example, a team member may have an exceptional level of knowledge in their field, but they may have absolutely no management training. You may consider a group training for those interested in moving to a management position, such as Making the Transition from Co-Worker to Team Leader. This leadership development demonstrates that they are valued and that management has confidence in their ability to learn and grow. When you see the potential in others, you help them see it in themselves.
“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” — Bill Bradley
Training allows you to bolster the strengths of your existing workforce and address their weaknesses head-on. It gives employees the ability to learn the kind of skills that can help them earn a better job title within your organization. After all, it’s more efficient to promote from within.
Additionally, if your organization has developed a culture of continuous learning and improvement, employees will readily learn from one another, exponentially increasing your investment. Improving the skills of one will undoubtedly impact others.
“No one can get an education, for of necessity education is a continuing process.” — Louis L’Amour
Many organizations lose out on an important opportunity here. In our own client survey, we found that a disproportionate number of managers simply ask for a debrief summary of what was learned after an employee attends a training session. Unfortunately, this strategy neglects to take advantage of social learning. Instead of having your team members debrief the manager, ask them to share what they learned with the entire team and encourage questions. This “share the wealth” mentality works to strengthen the learning culture. Plus, one of the best ways to reinforce learning is to teach. The person who took the course unknowingly solidifies their own understanding at the same time as teaching others.
3. L&D is an investment in your organization’s overall productivity
Think of a recent project your organization completed. Was there a team member learning new skills and gaining new experience during that project? If so, how much did that delay the project and your team’s productivity?
With appropriate training, this team member would have executed their tasks more efficiently. Though no one wants to assign blame to a particular person, the truth is this team member’s inexperience had repercussions for the project and for your organization.
Now let’s take a look at your organization as a whole. Does it run as efficiently as possible? Or, can you see areas with room for operational improvement?
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer
Professional development improves how well each member of your team does their job. Team members who know what they are doing can handle a task more quickly and easily than someone learning on the job. Their increased proficiency translates to your organization’s operational efficiency. Over time, your team members will be more productive and more efficient, which will contribute to your organization’s objectives.
Despite our best efforts, no organization can operate at 100% efficiency all of the time. Identifying training needs will help eliminate waste. An employee who is productive is more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment, and therefore, be happier in their role, and stay with your organization for the long haul.
“Being productive at work is rewarding, and feeling supported, challenged, and appreciated allows us to be our most efficient selves.” — Julia Hartz
4. Learning can shake things up and get your team unstuck
It’s natural for people to occasionally get stuck in a rut, on a problem, or to even become paralyzed by a feeling of overwhelm or dread. One of the best ways to get out of this uncomfortable situation is to break your routine by doing something different. Taking a different route to work, trying a new hobby, or spending a day or two in training can do just that.
“If you get stuck, draw with a different pen. Change your tools; it may free your thinking.” — Paul Arden
The learning environment is a different kind of work in a different environment with different people, which can shake things up and help your team get unstuck. Simply spending that time away from the office can stimulate creativity and problem-solving. Often times our biggest “eureka!” moments come when we’re not sitting at our desks. The learning is obviously very important, but there’s nothing wrong with using training as an aid to break up routines and energize your team.
5. Training inspires team building and networking
When we attend training as a team, we learn and grow together. Providing a situation where real learning can take place will foster a sense of camaraderie, increase motivation, and improve loyalty to the organization.
“Great leaders inspire incredible loyalty in their followers and subordinates.” — Joe Lonsdale
Even when team members attend courses with complete strangers, new relationships are formed based on the common learning goals of the group. Networking with people who have similar interests provides an opportunity for continued learning and growth, and sometimes a little competition (which never hurt anyone, or so they say). Often times, learners will connect with one another outside the classroom to continue to explore the topic and support each other. Having people to reach out to when applying learning in the real world or when problems arise further advances the employee’s development.
“An organization is a set of relationships that are persistent over time.” — Kevin Kelly
6. Training builds collective competence and confidence
When the team as a whole learns and develops new skills, they collectively increase their competency levels, and consequently, their confidence. This creates a cycle of personal growth, cultivating positive attitudes that affect everyone. When team members see others improving themselves, they will be more likely to self-reflect on what they could improve, and they will be more likely to ask for it. Setting a good example of continual learning is a great start to building collective competence.
“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.” — Joe Paterno
7. Learning and development helps create a shared language and understanding of models, concepts, and learning
When your team learns together, they will learn to use the same models, concepts, vocabulary, acronyms, and technical jargon, which makes the team more efficient. It also creates a camaraderie and shared understanding, enhancing the collective feeling of being understood. Humans by their very nature like people who are similar to them. When a team is “on the same page” they will subconsciously like each other more and will work harder to get along to accomplish their goals.
8. Employee development is an opportunity to reinforce organizational values and operational priorities
Training is one more opportunity to reinforce your organizational values, priorities, and goals with the entire team. Learning objectives, course content, and case studies can be customized to help emphasize these important elements.
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” — Roy E. Disney
9. Training signals a commitment by the organization to the development of its people
According to Foundry Mag, 60% of Millennials say that the opportunity to learn and grow on the job is extremely important, whereas only 40% of baby boomers felt the same. Training “the most energized, skilled, and capable generation ever to enter the workforce” is not just good for your organization, it’s vital to maintaining a strong workforce.
What better way to show employees that they are valued, than to invest in their future? A group’s culture comes from things like the style of the group leaders, the type of work the group does, and the goals and mission of the group. Fostering continuous learning helps positively shape group culture. It’s a great way to show employees they are appreciated and that management wants them to succeed.
“The culture of a workplace — an organization’s values, norms and practices — has a huge impact on our happiness and success.” — Adam Grant
10. Employee development reduces turnover
There’s an old joke in the training industry that goes something like this: Two managers are talking about training their employees. The first asks, “What if we train our employees and they leave us?” The second replies, “What if we don’t and they stay?”
There’s always a risk of employee turnover, but an employee who feels valued, is much less likely to leave (or at least, they’ll stick around longer). If your organization prioritizes training, team members will factor that in when considering whether changing jobs is the right move for their career.
According to Rise, which lists personal development fourth in their list of employee retention factors, a survey conducted by Global Marketing Insite, Inc. found that 39% of Canadian employees felt that using their skills and abilities was a top priority. Additionally, 26% felt the top priority was for their manager to encourage their development.
Rather than insisting employees take specific courses, work with them to help identify key areas where they need and want to improve. If they have a say in what they’re learning, they will be much more engaged and retention rates will be considerably higher.
“There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.” — Henry Ford
Invest in your future with professional development courses today!
No matter an employee’s abilities, role, or experience level, professional development will benefit them and your organization. Training represents a long-term investment in your organization’s ability to recruit, retain, and promote talented professionals.
At PMC Training, we specialize in creating cutting-edge professional development courses for people who work in government, non-profits, and the private sector. See what some of our clients have to say:
“Extremely interactive and insightful, provided plenty of areas to reflect on to improve existing strategies and ways to build positive values with my team and above.”— Jayme Albert
“Thank you very much, this course was not what I expected, but it was exactly what I needed.” — Sam Warren
“Everybody should follow this course.” — Chantal Servant
“Great instructor, looking forward to put these new skills to the test.” — Isabelle Rondeau
Do you have a group of five or more people who require training? Our instructors can deliver training at your location anywhere in Canada. Choose from our wide selection of public workshops or over 150 group training courses. Our topic categories include business administration, organizational performance, project management, retirement planning, administrative skills, interpersonal and communication skills, and business writing.
Contact us today to discuss your organization’s training needs!