Employee Training & Development: Why You Can't Afford to Go Without It
Talent management, which represents the full scope of HR processes to attract, onboard, develop, motivate, and retain high-performing employees, is a critical part of every business strategy — and can also play a critical part in a company's bottom line. How?
Offering professional development opportunities for your employees is key to their engagement, as well as their retention. And, having a robust training program can help you stand out as an employer in order to attract top talent, especially in today's challenging labor market. In fact, in a 2019 survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 70% of U.S. employees reported they are at least somewhat likely to change jobs if the new employer is better known for investing in professional development.
Types of Employee Training Programs
Training is an important piece of the talent management cycle; it can help develop the skills and expertise needed within your business and is critical in developing your organization's future leaders. And, overall, building effective training programs for your employees can significantly impact productivity and employee retention. Not only that — it is often much more cost-effective to promote and retain employees within your company than it is to have to continually hire talent from outside your organization.
That's why it's important to be strategic when it comes to your training and development programs; failure to do so can negatively impact your company's growth potential, putting you at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace.
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to employee training. Ultimately, it comes down to your company goals, employee needs, and available resources. That said, let's take a look at some successful employee training methods and topics you may wish to consider for your training programs.
- E-learning. Implementing an e-learning program can be a cost-efficient way to provide consistent training opportunities for your team. Investing in an online learning management system (LMS) can make it easy to offer a wide range of valuable learning opportunities for your employees and can help you keep track of their progress. Many e-learning programs offer pre-existing content on popular training topics, as well as the ability to create your own content to fit your company's needs.
- In-house training. Do you already have the talent available to lead in-house training and development programs at your company? Consider having senior-level employees coach their colleagues on industry best practices or consider instituting a cross-training program that can help employees expand their institutional knowledge across an array of business areas.
- External training. Tuition reimbursement programs are a great development option for organizations that want to develop employees and grow future leaders of the organization. With proper controls, the return on investment for tuition reimbursement programs can far outweigh the costs.
Training & Development Opportunities
Trainings are often broken down into two types of skill sets: hard skills and soft skills. Both can be equally valuable for employee development.
- Hard skills training. "Hard skills" are the technical skills your employees need to be able to succeed in their current job and beyond. Computer and software skills, data analysis, project management, and presentation skills, for example, would all fall under this category.
- Soft skills training. "Soft skills" are non-technical skills associated with how employees interact with colleagues, solve problems, and manage their work. These skills can be crucial when it comes to developing the future leaders of your company. Effective communication, interpersonal skills, and time management are all examples of soft skills that can be developed.
- Leadership development. Managing people requires its own special skill set, so it's important to provide new managers with the development opportunities they need to thrive in their role. Emotional intelligence, negotiating, and conflict management are all good examples of skills needed to succeed in a managerial role. The benefit of having a leadership development program is two-fold: when managers are better equipped to do their jobs, the employee experience improves too, which can improve employee engagement and retention.
- Procedural training. Providing your team with trainings that focus on specific processes within your company can help ensure that documents stay up-to-date and that each job is carried out with consistency. This can help lay a strong foundation for employee productivity. And, other procedural trainings such as workplace safety, employee conduct, and legal trainings — such as harassment prevention or anti-discrimination trainings — can help you mitigate and reduce risk within your organization.
How to Build an Effective Training Program
Develop a robust employee training and development program by following these three steps:
- Perform a skills gap analysis Determine the skill sets missing from your workforce, and identify what specific trainings are needed to help fill those gaps.
- Define goals and metrics for your program. Based on insights gathered from your skills gap analysis, determine what your goals are for your training and development program, and what metrics you'll use to define the program's success. To get started, you may consider your organizational goals, and how your training and development program can help you reach them.
- Gather employee feedback. In some cases, your employees may know what trainings they need in order to feel more confident in their jobs. In this case, they can provide you with insights into the types of programs and opportunities they'd like your organization to offer.
- Choose a medium for training that supports your employees. Online, on-demand professional training modules can provide employees with the flexibility they need to complete coursework at their convenience. But if not all members of your staff have assigned access to a personal computer, consider investing in a few shared computers employees can use free of charge when they want to take a training course. Likewise, some professional development subject matter may be better retained when offered in a personalized classroom or lunch and learn-style setting. In those cases, be mindful of:
- Where employees are located;
- Whether employees need to be compensated for this time;
- Whether specific roles allow the ability to attend a course during the workday; and
- How to handle registration, development of course material, and gauging the effectiveness of the program to determine if it's worth repeating.
How Employee Training & Development Impacts Your Bottom Line
How employee training and development impacts your bottom line Employee training and development is not only beneficial for your employees, but is an important factor in growing your organization's bottom line, as well. Let's look at the benefits of investing in a robust employee training and development program.
Procedural trainings and trainings on new technologies can help increase efficiencies in processes — especially in today's hybrid work environment — which can lead to increased productivity that results in financial gain.
Employee training and development programs can increase job satisfaction, motivation and engagement, which may result in lower employee turnover. And, this directly impacts your bottom line. According to the Work Institute's 2020 State of the Workforce report, it costs roughly $15,000 to replace an employee, which accounts for the lost time and productivity it takes to find, hire and onboard someone new. Not only that — losing top talent can put your company at a competitive disadvantage and, if it happens frequently enough, can hurt your company's ability to attract top talent to join your team.
Employee training offers the opportunity to arm your staff and, ultimately, your business with the tools and information needed to reduce the risk of injury or potential legal disputes — both of which can come at a high cost for your company, and not just monetarily. These issues also have the potential to hurt the reputation of your business, which can make it harder to attract both talent, and customers.
- Strengthens skill sets. Training can help employees who need to make improvements in certain areas, and conversely, enhance current knowledge with up-to-date information. In turn, the organization enjoys the benefits of being at the forefront of its field.
- Nurtures a healthier corporate culture. Investing in training sends a clear message: you care about staff and believe in your employees. This can foster a sense of belonging in employees who may work harder with a deeper commitment to their teams.
- Improves retention. Benefits have long been proven to help companies boost employee morale and increase retention. For the first time, career development programs made the 2018 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey's top 10 nontraditional benefits. Clearly, training is a highly valued benefit for staff and employers.
- Enhances employee advancement. An organization is no different. Workplace training allows your business to nurture leadership potential from within, and can help ensure future transitions are smooth, effective, and efficient.
- Increases engagement and performance. Strengthening an employee's skill set is one way to bolster their confidence and help them take greater ownership in their role. This can translate to increased job satisfaction, productivity and engagement.
- Ensures consistency. If you want the same information to be disseminated across all staff members, a structured training program can provide a knowledge base on processes and procedures that gets everyone on the same page.
Define Your Employee Training Strategy Today
Post-pandemic, one thing is clear: organizations will need to prioritize reskilling and upskilling employees in order to attract and retain the talent they need to make their businesses grow. Further, according to Glassdoor, 92% of employees believe that "having access to professional development is important or very important, second only to compensation." So, those companies that prioritize employee training and development are more likely to find themselves at a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
But, it's important to remember that not all training programs are created equal; for your team to succeed, you should take a tailored approach in creating your program, perhaps using insights from a thoughtful skills gap analysis.
Looking to define — or redefine — your employee training and development strategy? Paychex is here to help.
Our HR Services provide you with a dedicated HR professional who acts as an extension of your team, and can help you make the most of your employee development program with instructor-led trainings, and more.
You can also take advantage our online learning management system (LMS), which not only provides your employees with an extensive catalog of online courses, but grants you the ability to incorporate your own custom courses, videos, quizzes, and reminders. Contact us today to learn more about the power of Paychex.