3 signs you need to invest in employee training

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Remaining successful in today’s business environment means that you need to be agile: operate 2X faster and 2X smarter than your closest competitor.  This translates to having better teams: with more hands-on experience, shorter learning curve and higher motivation to perform.

Clearly, such teams do not emerge out of anywhere. They are a direct result of the company's investment in the individual. As Henry Ford allegedly once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” 

So are you investing enough in your teams or just assume that they will catch up with professional development on their own time (and dime)? The following telltale signs indicate that your training and development initiatives may need an extra kick.

1.  Your Workforce Engagement is Low

The benefits of maintaining high engagement among your employees are numerous. Engaged workforce is more emotionally connected to their workplace and more aware of their surroundings, meaning every employee becomes a better team player, is more productive and less inclined towards changing jobs.

  • Research has also shown 70% fewer safety incidents tend to occur in highly engaged workplaces
  • Highly engaged workplaces have 41% lower absenteeism. The staff arrives each day with a solid intention to accomplish their goals.
  • Finally, high productivity contributes to higher sales. In fact, engaged organisations on average, have 20% higher sales numbers than their less engaged counterparts.

Employee training can notably improve post-training employee engagement and other aspects of work-well being as multiple studies have proved. By nurturing your talent and helping your personnel improve their performance, you show that they are valued. Training also bringings in some variety and presents employees with a development potential within the role.

For example, American Express has developed a unique engagement technique called “Label and Link”. Managers are constantly asked to delegate some of their tasks to different employees. When doing so, they labelled the task an opportunity and linked it to something important to the employee whom they were considering for an assignment. This technique is a great example of how your organisation needs can be aligned with employees’ aspirations. Instead of “forcing” some training or development opportunity upon an individual, you make them vested and interested in pursuing it as they clearly see the benefit of doing so e.g. gain the necessary experience for their career advancement.

2. Your Attrition Rates are High

Disengaged and unmotivated employees are the prime candidates for leaving.  Employee turnover costs can be steep, even if you need to constantly replace low-level staff.  According to a CAP study, the average costs of replacing an employee are as follows:

  • 16% of annual salary for traditionally high turnover, low-paying (under $30,0000 per year) positions. Replacing a $10/hour retail employee will cost you approx. $3,328.
  • 20% of annual salary for high turnover, mid-range positions ($30K-$50K per year).
  • Up to 213% of annual salary for executive positions. For example, the cost to replace a $100K CFO is $213,000.

Clearly, those budgets could be better spent on retaining your personnel. For example, you can invest in training programmes that will offer new horizontal career pathways. This way instead of seeking next-level opportunities within another organisation, your key personnel will remain with your company.

The particular appeal here is that training and development programmes can be created for any level of expertise for pretty much any niche. For example, in the airline industry, the average turnover rate is a whopping 46% with the average cost to replace a $40K employee constituting 43% of their salary or $17,405. High stress and lack of job commitment are among the key factors contributing to such high attrition. And the latter could be easily improved by introducing more training and horizontal growth opportunities for pilots. For example, Air Crew Academy offers a comprehensive selection of e-Learning programmes for flight crews, designed around specific areas of expertise e.g. fatigue management, high altitude operations or mountain flying. Most of the modules are self-paced to accommodate the teams’ flight schedule, making it a win-win for both parties.

3.  Your Operational Efficiency is Low

In fast-changing environments your business success depends on efficiency and proficiency of your employees. Standing still or failing to respond to technological or industry changes can hamper your revenues. If you feel that your teams haven't been doing their best work lately, it may be due to the fact that their skill sets are getting rusty.

Consistently training your employees to keep pace with the latest IT technologies or new compliance requirements increased their efficiency and productivity in completing their daily tasks. Training also helps you identify existing skill gaps in your organisation early on, and train your teams to become more effective in what they do.

Time to Act Now

Although the costs of training can seem substantial, they become minimal when compared to the revenue employees generate during the days they will remain with the company post-training.

If you want to reduce employee turnover (and associated costs), minimize resources and reduce the number of errors, you should invest in comprehensive training programmes. Training, in this case, has a two-point advantage: your employee retention, loyalty and engagement grows, which in turn leads to better day-to-day operations, higher performance, sales and revenue numbers. Sure, implementing organisation-wide training programmes is a long run, but the ROI of doing so are worthwhile.

About elenap

Elena Prokopets

Independant inbound marketing consultant with 5+ years in the industry, including coaching and developing e-learning courses. Bylines at the Huffington Post, Tech Cocktail, Hackerspace by Lifehacker among others.

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