Managers have a lot to concern themselves with on a daily basis: the bottom line, employee engagement, and of course, customer satisfaction. Amid all that busy day-to-day activity, one critical area might be falling by the wayside: continuous training and employee development.
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A dedicated training program can impact everything from recruitment and retention to performance. Unfortunately, not all companies dedicate sufficient time and resources to employee development. Some employers feel that development is simply too expensive, while others are concerned that more time spent developing employees is less time employees spending doing their actual jobs.
These are valid concerns, but below, we'll show that continuous training is an essential element of performance management that can provide a great return on investment while improving overall productivity.
Continuous Training Attracts Great Employees
If you're looking to recruit the best and brightest, a focus on continual training is a great place to start. According to one study, 39.3 percent of respondents name "growth" as a top consideration when evaluating a new job prospect. This stat is further supported by Gallup's assertion that, increasingly, millennials view individual jobs as development opportunities.
A defined and well-considered development program plays a large part in building a company's image and reputation, which can spread and attract employees who are eager to learn, grow, and flourish with the business.
Continuous Training Can Improve Employee Loyalty
Continuous training can help lower voluntary turnover rates. When you actively invest in your employees and their futures, employees will feel more loyal and more inclined to remain with the company. Regular training doesn't only make employees feel more valued, but also more competent and confident in their roles. This, too, can make employees less likely to jump ship for your competitors.
Continuous Training Highlights Areas for Improvement
To help your employees become all they can be, you need an accurate and up-to-date picture of what their strengths and weaknesses are. Continuous training allows managers to evaluate employees more accurately, which in turn helps them foster improvements in areas where employees could benefit most. This means all employees will reach higher levels of performance. Common mistakes resulting from a lack of skills or knowledge will occur less often, and your company will benefit from a stronger workforce.
Continuous Training Can Improve Standards of Performance
When an employee receives regular training, they are simply better able to do their job. They are more skilled, more aware of workplace processes, more confident, and more knowledgeable of their industry — all of which push them to perform better both now and in the future. Continuous training also keeps employees informed of new industry trends and developments, which will help position your company as a leader in its field.
Continuous Training Promotes Employee Satisfaction
Last but certainly not least, continuous training has been strongly linked to employee satisfaction. Employees who are given development opportunities feel supported, valued, and appreciated. As human beings, very few of us are happy to stand still; we are driven to progress and grow. If we are denied this opportunity, it isn't long before we become bored and disillusioned with our careers, regardless of how well-paid we might be.
When considering a continuous training and development program, HR executives and managers alike should keep in mind the needs of the organization, focusing on skills that are most likely to have a direct impact on employees' job performance. Succession planning should also be considered. If a top executive needs to step aside, you will want to have a previously trained and already prepared employee ready to fill the space left behind.
It is also wise to incorporate personal development objectives into your workplace culture. Personal development objectives are measurable, attainable objectives that help employees reach certain milestones in their development, such as gaining a particular skill or increasing their knowledge of a certain area. Employees should be encouraged to take ownership of their objectives, which should be regularly revisited and reviewed.
By taking the above considerations into account, you will slowly but surely develop a company culture that values, supports, and encourages training and advancement.
Stuart Hearn is CEO of Clear Review.