Training employees should be at the top of most organizations' learning strategies.
When you offer employees training opportunities for personal and professional development, you build a learning culture that benefits the entire organization. Workers can develop a range of skills to achieve their career goals while you benefit from increased employee engagement and productivity stemming from training initiatives.
It's clear that learning benefits workers and is ultimately good for the organization. Businesses that create and execute a robust enterprise learning strategy will also experience other positive impacts. These benefits extend far beyond the expected perks like increased efficiency.
In addition to keeping workers engaged, there are other reasons for organizations to build a powerful learning and development strategy.
Here are the most powerful benefits of employee training an organization can expect to receive:
1. Increased employee performance
While positive attributes, such as a willingness to work hard and empathy, are undeniably natural assets, they are becoming eclipsed by the value of learning. Today, knowledge can be relevant in one moment and outdated in the next. Without access to learning and development to keep knowledge up to date, other skills or attributes lose their impact.
Furthermore, when organizations invest time and money into professional development, they see a significant return on their investment. Companies with an effective learning strategy are more than twice as likely to achieve their production goals.
2. Stronger workforce
Workers often stayed with the same employer for many years in the past. The training focused solely on developing the skills employees needed to meet the company's goals at any given time. Now, most workers don't expect that much longevity in the workplace.
Today, employees are only likely to stay where they are if they feel they're contributing to their career growth. Organizations that want to retain top talent need to balance their own training needs with workers' expectations for professional development opportunities.
Employee training impacts worker retention as well as helps companies attract new employees. If your organization offers excellent training opportunities, that should be a significant feature in your value proposition.
3. Alignment with organizational goals
When an organization builds a training initiative and makes access to knowledge a priority, it communicates its values and priorities. Employees know that their employer values professional development and growth, remaining competitive, and adapting well to change.
It's more important than ever for employers and workers to share the same values. Millennials and members of Gen-Z highly value working for companies that share their values. Also, the rise in virtual work has led to tenuous bonds between employees and employers. Brands that can get their team members to connect with their values are more likely to overcome work-from-home challenges.
4. Boosts motivation and engagement
There is scientific evidence linking learning and happiness. The effects of learning include increased self-determination and motivation. It also gives people a broader worldview and offers perspective.
When people work in organizations that offer them access to learning, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged. This motivation and engagement lead to innovation, creativity, and an increased willingness to take ownership.
5. Expand knowledge sharing
Relevant, effective, and accessible training breaks down information silos. The more people that have access to knowledge, the fewer teams or individuals are left in the dark. Democratizing knowledge also increases transparency and prevents anyone from becoming territorial about information.
Additionally, by creating a learning strategy that fosters knowledge sharing, you can foster a culture of empathy. When knowledge is available to all, teams better understand one another's goals and roadblocks, which leads to better communication and cooperation.
6. Fosters innovation in the workplace
Any organization that prioritizes learning will be better positioned to foster innovation. That's because good leadership, engaged talent, and a desire to learn are vital components businesses need to increase their capacity for innovation.
For examples of a strong learning culture, consider companies like Google, where employees have the time and resources to learn for their own development. Employee training impacts workers' sense of empowerment and encourages them to develop and present innovative ideas.
7. Improves company processes
When employees work at their highest level of competence, they spend less time dealing with crises. This leaves them with more time and resources to create better processes and strategies. Ultimately, it allows workers to improve customer experiences, boost productivity, increase efficiency, and create growth.
8. Creates a stronger brand
Your employer brand is the totality of your reputation, values, and standing as an employer. It's as essential to craft an attractive employer brand that builds a successful company as it is to formulate a compelling consumer brand that attracts customers.
When your employees have access to learning, they are more competent and better able to achieve results to reach your organizational goals. This improves your industry standing, which enhances your employer's brand.
In turn, potential employees view your company more favorably. They also associate your employer's brand with a culture that values their goals and development.
9. Promotes a competitive advantage
Unemployment is at an all-time low. At the same time, the current employment ecosystem has left many organizations struggling to find qualified workers. This has created a learning gap that can make it challenging to remain competitive.
Additionally, the cost and resources involved in onboarding employees often make it difficult to rely on new hires.
Instead, it is often more efficient and cost-effective to provide more training opportunities to existing talent. This includes offering cross-training opportunities that boost workers' skill sets and allow them to take on additional challenges. When this happens, leadership can better meet organizational goals and objectives by moving team members around as needed.
How to Get the Most out of Training Employees
Prioritizing employee training can impact your organization in many ways. However, the extent of any benefit you see will directly relate to the quality of any initiative and your commitment to it over time. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your company will get the most out of your learning strategy.
Step #1: Make Autonomy and Access a Priority
The best learning culture empowers people and gives them as much agency over their development as possible. This doesn't mean that employer-directed, instructor-led training is no longer valid. Both are necessary to ensure that workers have the skills to do their jobs effectively and meet any required competency standards.
Still, while workers value the training they receive that allows them to do their jobs better, they value self-directed learning even more. That's because the training they choose and pursue on their own is likely to relate to their professional development goals directly.
Additionally, when workers have access to training, wikis, procedures, technical manuals, etc., they are empowered to seek the knowledge they need to solve problems and complete tasks. This can reduce frustration significantly.
Step #2: Ensure that Your Entire Workforce Benefits
Before the pandemic, the process of delivering training was much less complicated. While online and video training strategies were absolutely part of the equation, corporate training was largely designed under the assumption that a significant percentage of workers would be present on-site. It's no longer safe to make that assumption.
Training delivery methods that worked for your organization in the past may no longer serve your changing business model. To get the best possible impact, you may need to modify your learning strategy to accommodate a remote or hybrid workforce.
For many companies, this will mean leaning heavily on virtual training. If this represents new territory, it may help to learn the ins and outs of creating engaging virtual training.
Step #3: Create Immediate Connections
Workers get the most out of workplace training when they see the immediate value and can apply what they know immediately. That's why it's crucial to connect trainees with the materials as quickly as possible by showing them how they will benefit from the knowledge.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to apply the principles of contextual learning. This is a training method that contextualizes learning content to be relevant to participants. The features of contextual learning include:
- Encourages a focus on problem-solving
- Aligns with employees' daily tasks
- Is a natural way of learning for digital natives
- Can be scaled to meet evolving needs
The organization also benefits because workers can better retain what they learn by applying it immediately to real-world scenarios.
Step #4: Know What Your Employees Value
If your employee training initiative is solely centered around your organizational goals, you may not see the full benefits of worker engagement and retention. Instead, you are going to want to take a balanced approach. Consider that workers today expect training opportunities to align with their professional goals.
Communicate with your team members to learn what they value in professional development and what they need to perform most effectively. Then, ensure that your training and development strategy considers these things.
Step #5: Be Prepared for Ongoing Change
There's no such thing as a static learning strategy. If the last two years have proven anything, it's that businesses must be prepared to pivot in the face of rapid change. Learning and development strategies that worked in the past are no longer effective today and will need to continue to evolve in the future.
Step #6: Create Learning Pathways
A corporate training initiative is more than a collection of courses and knowledge base resources that exist independently. While workers can benefit from having access to task-focused training components that help them work efficiently and productively, they should also have individual learning pathways.
Learning pathways are curated and personalized training programs for each worker. They should align with each worker's current skills and career goals.
Additionally, this approach to corporate training lends itself very well to self-directed learning. Workers can participate in creating their learning pathways, which gives them a sense of agency and motivation. Encourage them to communicate their goals and complete assessments that provide insights into their capabilities.
Training From the Employee's Perspective
45% of exiting workers said they left because of a lack of learning or advancement opportunities. Inadequate employee training also makes the top ten. Both of these point to the fact that workplaces need learning initiatives to keep employees engaged and prevent them from finding better opportunities elsewhere.
When it comes to investment, the employee/employer relationship is reciprocal. If employees feel the organization invests in them, they will return that investment with good work and a positive culture.
Additionally, it's simply human nature to desire challenge and interest. Excitement is more likely to happen when employees have more than just access to training and knowledge. Not only will a culture of learning help workers enjoy their work more, but it will also better equip them to handle unexpected events.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a setback or difficulty. Agility is the ability to respond to (often unexpected) changes. Both are traits that employees must have in workplaces where change happens quickly. Training and development initiatives help them to develop these characteristics.
Use a modern LMS to deliver exceptional training for employees
Continu is a modern learning platform built entirely online to provide your organization with everything they need to deliver in-person or online training for employees. Don't miss out on capturing the benefits above for your organization through proper employee training.
Here are some features of Continu that make training employees simple and effective:
- Enterprise-level learning management system
- Powerful eLearning authoring tools
- Create entire training programs in one platform
- Improve learner retention and employee engagement
- Track and measure employee training progress
- Generate insightful employee training reports
- and much more...
Interested in leveling up your employee's skills and knowledge through training?