No matter what industry you're in or what size your company is now, the value and importance of meaningful ongoing training programs should never be underestimated. From improving employee productivity and motivation and making the workplace safer, to helping you reduce costs and eliminate waste, we take a look at the many benefits training programs have to offer – and how you can use them to grow your business.
Employee confidence, motivation and productivity
Aside from helping you achieve your own outcomes, having your employees attend appropriate training also demonstrates that you care about their development and safety. Ideally, training should allow your workers to tackle their current roles with greater confidence, while also developing new skills that will allow them to move up within the company when the time comes.
Making sure you get to know where your employees see themselves in the future, and where they might lack confidence now, is therefore very important. In a large company, it might not be possible to have a face to face with every single employee about their goals and aspirations, but you should try and get as close to this as possible, or make sure your HR team is working well on your behalf in this respect.
Balancing costs against gains
In a perfect world, every business would have extra cash set aside to dedicate to employee training and skills development – but sadly this is not usually the case. This is unfortunate, as the right training really is an investment both for employees and the companies they work for. While there may be an upfront cost involved, this is usually returned several times over in terms of improved performance, efficiency and productivity.
Lost time is another concern for many companies, especially if the training program involved is going to mean your employees need to spend several days away from your premises. Make sure to vet your training providers carefully, looking up reviews and testimonials and trying to gauge what your expected return on investment will be so you can make a more informed decision.
It’s important to remember that investing in training can reduce your costs in some unexpected ways too – especially if you have a long-term strategy in mind. Training up a junior employee to fulfill the duties you’d normally have to hire a much more experienced (and therefore much more expensive) employee to perform can amount to very substantial savings indeed.
Whether you run a small restaurant or a large fulfillment center, there are always ways in which the risk of an accident could be reduced – and training is one of the most important of all. This is especially true whenever you get in new or unfamiliar equipment or machinery. If you're buying in a new forklift for the warehouse, for example, try and do so from a reputable company who will be able to advise you of the appropriate courses and providers in your area, as well as any mandatory certifications which may apply.
Encourage suggestions and input from your staff
Unless you’ve actually expressed the idea out loud, your employees might not even be aware you're open to helping them further their careers and improve their skills. Most workers will welcome the opportunity to add a new set of tools to their belts, so to speak, but may never speak up for fear of rocking the boat. Letting them know the company is interested in training and development which is mutually beneficial – whether that’s in meetings, during performance appraisals or simply in a company-wide memo – puts the ball in their court. You may be surprised at just how good some of their suggestions are!
Internal vs external training
For small companies and startups with little cash to spare, training internally and cross-training between teams can have a dramatic effect. Aside from empowering your employees to tackle tasks they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, it also means that work doesn’t need to grind to a halt if one of your key employees is unable to attend work for a period of time.
Like every aspect of your business, your approach to training should be flexible and adaptable as your industry, the marketplace and technology shifts. Training is never a ‘do it once and forget about it’ kind of undertaking but should ideally build on itself over time. This means staying in tune with your employee’s ambitions as well as the new kinds of skills they might require to perform at their best. Committing to providing quality training for your employees means you're able to keep unearthing hidden talents, improving workplace morale, reducing errors and waste – and boosting your profits as you go!