You spend a lot of time finding and training the best candidates you can afford. Perhaps your company culture is one that makes people flock to your side. However, if you don’t invest in your workers, you risk either losing them to someone who will or them growing stale in their skillset and your company falling behind the curve.
Ongoing learning helps ensure your workers feel engaged and sets the precedent for continual improvement as a brand. Figuring out what you will and won’t pay for and what your program should look like requires some careful consideration.
Why Should Companies Provide Training to Their Employees?
In a recent report on learning and development, researchers found around 74% of company leaders believe ongoing training has become a bigger factor in employee retention. With the Great Resignation going on and so many workers being choosier about where they work, companies can stay a step ahead of competitors by offering more training than their counterparts.
There are some things you can do to ramp up your ongoing learning efforts and ensure your employees get the most from the benefit.
1. Set Standards
Most companies have some rules regarding what training they’ll pay for. If you plan to pay for courses as a local community college, for example, what courses qualify? Ideally, workers will seek education related to their jobs.
For example, you might allow them to take business courses or bring in a guru to teach a workshop on a specific topic.
You’ll need to decide if some types of education are beneficial to what you do as a brand. All knowledge has something to offer and there is something to be said for allowing your employees freedom of choice in the courses they take.
For example, if someone wants to get their electrician’s license, will you cover the course fees and then let them apprentice under your maintenance crew? If someone else’s dream is to get a cosmetology license, will you allow them to use their education budget for training and then open a salon for employees on the premises?
Look for ways to help your workers achieve their dreams while still benefiting you both.
2. Choose Digital Learning
How do you onboard new employees and train current ones in new systems? Distributing material via a digital learning platform lets everyone work on lessons on their own time frame. For example, if you teach a live class at noon, some people may be out of the office at client meetings, lunch or out sick.
On the other hand, if you offer the course online and let them view videos and complete assignments on their own time, you free them up to give the material their full focus.
3. Develop a Company Culture
Strive to reward those who do their own research and bring new material to the table. If you want to create a company culture where everyone values ongoing learning, you must show how much you appreciate the effort.
Offer opportunities to train on company time and then give your workers bonuses as they complete levels. Shout out their progress during morning meetings.
4. Get Employee Input
You can guess what they need and some of the time you’ll be right, but the best way to figure out what training works best for each individual staff member is to ask. Your IT manager may want to learn about a specific programming language and have a course in mind that no one else in your company would fully understand.
However, your sales staff may want to attend a three-day conference where they can make connections, network and learn how better to close a sale. Be open to varied training for different roles within your company.
5. Retain Your Best Workers
Researchers recently predicted a 20% employee turnover rate in 2022, with as many as 37.4 million people fleeing from current positions for new ones or to work for themselves. Offering perks can keep staff loyal to your brand and keep them from leaving when they otherwise would.
When you invest in people, you risk them taking that knowledge and going to work for a competitor. Many companies fail to invest in training for this reason. However, you also may gain a highly knowledgeable employee that sees the advantages of sticking with you for many years.
6. Strive to Improve
Your company should have a goal to consistently improve in processes, customer service, knowledge and employee treatment. Set a standard that you want to see improvement every quarter across all aspects of your business.
One way to improve is to educate your employees. Teach them better time management, let them learn from one another as far as what speeds up productivity and learn from your competition and the things they do well.
Ongoing learning is about so much more than taking a course online or having a speaker in to talk. It includes books your staff reads, information you provide in a short meeting, whether you have a mentorship program and what conferences you send your staff to.
Watch for Balance
While you want a highly trained and excellent work staff, you must always consider work/life balance. Let your employees learn new skills while on the clock. Don’t insist they take precious time away from their families to add to their knowledge. If learning is important to you, you’ll find ways to make it as easy as possible for your employees to participate.
A well-rounded company learns new things, keeps an eye on the industry but always puts employee needs first. If you want to retain your highly trained workers, you must add knowledge without overwhelming them. Over time, you’ll have a strong workforce that is loyal and good stewards of your brand.