By: Ryan Ayers
In many organizations, work is pretty consistent and predictable: go into the office, perform your tasks, and go home. Many people spend years doing their jobs without much advancement or ongoing career development.
Now, many argue that you continue to learn on the job, regardless of training programs or other forms of employee development that may be offered, which is true. However, there are certain advantages to proactively offering employees ongoing training and development that can benefit both employees and the organization. Here are 6 reasons offering ongoing employee development can be a positive influence in the workplace.
1. Fight off Stagnation
People are creatures of habit, and they tend to follow their familiar patterns as much as possible, whether they’re good or bad. Offering training in new skills can shake things up, causing employees to consider new perspectives or find a new interest.
Fighting off stagnation in your employees can also fight off stagnation in your company, as your team brings new ideas to the table. In order to compete, your company needs to continue innovating and learning on a continuing basis.
2. Discover New Talents (and Weaknesses)
When you hire someone, you won’t always discover all their talents and weaknesses. Sometimes, you bring on someone who is very good at the job you hired them for, but has other qualities that could be even more valuable to your team.
This is why one of the most beneficial things that a manager can do is to periodically spend time working closely with their employees. This helps employees develop new skills, but also allows managers to get a better sense of each employees talents and weaknesses.
Having such a strong understanding of your team is especially important when working in a growing business or industry. Take nursing, for example, where there is expected to be a need to fill over 260,000 positions by 2025. While this may sound like a daunting task, many of these positions can be easily filled in-house if managers have a solid sense of their teams’ talents.
Open innovation can be organized into a more inclusive granting mechanism. In the past, nonprofits and other organizations would fund social enterprises by asking for a written proposal—but combining mentorship and crowdsourcing creates new opportunities and community solutions. Find out how it worked for Pact and the US Department of State in the AfrIdea case study.
3. Maintain Engagement
Only about 33% of the US workforce reports being engaged with their work, representing a big challenge for employers. Engaged employees do better work and can help a company reach its goals faster. One way employers can help boost engagement is by offering professional development. Employees who are learning together feel like they are advancing in their career and can gain a sense of camaraderie from working with their peers. This is one great way to boost engagement while teaching useful skills.
4. Gain a Competitive Edge
Keeping up with the trends in your industry and keeping tabs on your competitors is an essential part of doing business. But how can you keep up if your employees aren’t knowledgeable about what’s happening in your industry? Offering ongoing training and development ensures that everyone is on the same level when it comes to the latest in your industry, giving your organization a competitive edge.
5. Increase Productivity and Satisfaction
If employees feel supported and inspired at work, they will naturally become more productive and satisfied with their work. By offering ongoing training that increases employee confidence and skill, employers can support their team while simultaneously seeing increased productivity and satisfaction. Who knows – this increased satisfaction might even be enough to spark some employees interest in gaining some key leadership traits like self-awareness, process management and a desire to keep learning. In turn, this development will prove beneficial for both the individual, their team and the company as a whole. If you’re not actively looking to support your team and improve satisfaction, consider making a switch today.
6. Attract and Retain Talent
There are a lot of job-seekers, but attracting the best candidates isn’t easy. You need to show top talent that your company invests in its workforce. One way to do that is providing ongoing training. Potential employees will feel like they’re getting more than just a paycheck, and existing employees will be more likely to stay so they can learn and grow.
Incorporating Employee Development
Though the potential benefits of offering ongoing employee training and development are substantial, the idea of actually implementing these programs can be daunting. There are questions that come up. What kind of training should be offered? How often? What will it cost? Will it be mandatory? These are questions that will largely depend on your organization and its resources, as there are so many different options now available.
You can offer different options for different learning styles. For example, a “lunch and learn” session creates a concentrated but relaxed environment for learning, whether you provide lunch or have attendees bring their own. Online courses are also an option that are becoming more popular in schools (69% of school districts now offer online classes) and workplaces alike for their flexibility in pacing and convenience. However, online courses can easily be put off for later, and there’s no camaraderie involved in these trainings.
Whether you bring in speakers, give employees access to online tools, or have them teach each other, employee training can bring new life and new enthusiasm into your organization. What’s the harm in giving it a try?
By Ryan Ayers
About the author
Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of companies within multiple industries including information technology and big data. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers also began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a keen focus on data collection and analysis.
Featured image via Yayimages.