A lot of managers have mixed feelings about staff development programs. For specialist roles and elite industries, like technology, it makes sense, but in other companies, the training on offer can be underwhelming and, quite frankly, pointless.
In some cases the courses that are taught come from outside firms who don’t understand the company’s agenda, which means they’re teaching things that aren’t needed. But by taking the time to put a custom curriculum in place that’s tailored to the unique requirements of a company and its staff members, the benefits can be immeasurable.
Within any business, the most important asset is people. And even though many organizations will invest heavily in their recruitment process so they attract the right talent, once they’re hired, the investment in their workforce ends.
Here are some reasons why companies should continue to invest in their staff members by providing them with effective training:
Increased Productivity Levels
Companies are often careful to monitor how many candidates they’re screening throughout the interview process and how many they’ve hired, but they won’t often monitor how many of these new employees are productive.
If hiring managers and company directors were measuring this vital statistic, they might be horrified to see just how many staff members are being wasted within their company. However, even if some directors are aware that a certain number of their staff members aren’t productive, they still feel as though investing in training isn’t worthwhile.
But that’s where they’re wrong because training can be one of the biggest productivity boosters a manager can implement. For example, if a group of team leaders within a department was provided with a curriculum that consisted of four lectures, each taking around three hours each, that’s a total of twelve hours work they’ll have to sacrifice for their training.
Next year, each of these team members will work approximately two thousand hours for the company, and if this training program increases their productivity by just 1%, the company’s gaining two hundred hours more work at the expense of just twelve.
Better Performance Management
Managers are often asked how many people they’ve fired and what approach they took when they were firing someone. Even though these are key questions in the hiring process, they don’t tackle one of the fundamental elements of leadership – performance management.
Instead, you should be establishing whether the employee was aware of the reasons why they were fired. Did they understand what was expected of them?
A good manager should have created clear expectations during their employee’s training program, but if they haven’t, they have no foundations for their performance management.
Improved Product Quality
When companies are creating products, a lot of them will start out with great intentions of pioneering solutions to a number of different problems. However, once their company starts to succeed they can often find their products aren’t being made to the same high standard.
Why? Because their new engineers and architects aren’t being trained properly. Once an engineer is assigned a task, they have to figure out how to complete it to the best of their ability. This often means reusing other features and facilities, creating inconsistency with the performance of the product and the overall user experience. This can cost businesses a lot of money – far more than training programs that could prevent this from occurring.
Increased Employee Retention
Some of the main reasons for employees leaving a company can include lack of leadership and investment. When an employee feels as though their manager isn’t providing them with any guidance, development opportunities or feedback, they’ll often start to look further afield for more rewarding opportunities. Equally, if they feel as though the company isn’t investing in their future, they’ll look to a company that does.
By creating specific training programs, these issues can be easily avoided.
Creating a Training Program for Your Staff
Firstly, look at the areas that are most relevant to your staff, assessing what skills or knowledge they need in order to do their job. Tailor courses to specific jobs so employees find it relevant, making sure any expert training is left to the top team members and managers.
You should also try to invest in management training because this helps you create expectations for your managers. Demonstrating whether you expect them to have one-to-ones with team members or whether they should be training them, for example, will help you manage your employees’ expectations from the top down.
And don’t forget to ask your employees what training they feel will be most beneficial to them – you might be surprised to hear their answers!
Kate Pritchard is a training coordinator. She shares her expertise on this matter around the web, writing for a variety of business blogs.