The Importance of Employee Training and Development
Employee training and development
Everyone knows that we hire employees based on their experience and skillset to be able to perform that job to the best of their ability, but, what happens after? Should that employee’s skillset just stay the same throughout their employment? Of course not, otherwise we would constantly be hiring outside talent from our company to improve our workforce, which can foster an unappealing company culture.
Employee training and development are often used as interchangeable terms and is vital to business growth and progression. Offering effective training and development programmes for employees is a great way to enhance internal skillsets and lead to employee progression.
What is employee training and development?
Employee training and development is the process of identifying areas of improvement for an employee, which links in with the company’s overarching strategy. Think of it as gathering ingredients for a recipe. The recipe is the company strategy, and the ingredients are the skills needed. You look in your cupboards, pantry and fridge to check you have all the ingredients you need to make your recipe for dinner, and any that you’re missing (identifying your skills gap), you go to the supermarket and get them.
What are the benefits of training and development for employees and the company?
When employees are constantly developing their skillset, they become more productive and are more effective at their job, as they know exactly how to do what they need to do to get the job done. It also incentivises them to aim for promotions and better roles, and they feel appreciated and valued that time and effort has gone into their progression and this aids in better employee retention.
When time has gone into an employee’s development through further training, they are much more likely to apply for promotions internally than to seek roles outside of the company for progression (given that the opportunities are there for them). This leads to employees staying within the company for longer which increases your employee retention rate.
Training the company’s future leaders
Imagine this; what would you rather have: an employee who has been with the company for 20 years, starting from the bottom and having worked their way up, who understands every element of the business, has been through every up and down you’ve experienced, and understands your industry inside out and back to front; or an outside hire with a very good resume, lots of experience, and a great attitude, but needs a lot of time to settle into their new role and company and a lot of training?
In all honesty, it is a personal preference. But when looking at employee training and development, it’s important to think of the long-term benefits for the company. You could be possibly training the company’s future leaders, rather than just training Fred to be able to do .net development for your new product.
Everyone wants to feel empowered and able to do things they never thought possible. When you take the time and effort to train your employees and make their development a priority, you are empowering them to be able to take on more responsibilities, handle larger workloads, and require less supervision, which, let’s face it, is a win-win all around.
In today’s digital age, everyone is looking for ways to keep their employees more engaged. Studies have shown that employees want more recognition and rewards that are not linked to financials. Training employees shows recognition of their needs and is an intangible reward. It is a way to value your employees without financial incentives, and when an employee feels recognised, they feel engaged.
Enhances company reputation
Every potential candidate looking for a job wants to know that there will be some form of professional development you will gain, and employees talk. When advertising new positions, you can brag about how much training is offered, and when paired with your employees thriving from this, word will start to spread, and your company will get a great rep for training and developing careers. This means that attracting great candidates when you’re recruiting will become so much higher (and your stock price may even increase!).
We would say that this is a given, but when employees have been continuously trained to do their job better, their performance is bound to improve. There’s a reason Olympic athletes train constantly to improve their skills, so training your employees effectively can help them win the gold.
Addressing pain points
With all good, there must come bad, and that is no different for training employees. Although most HR Managers agree that training is important, a whopping 65% of companies do not have a formal training plan or strategy. By implementing a well thought out training plan, you can mitigate most pain points of training (such as lack of time, relevance, no real-world application etc).
You don’t have to take our word for it though. Numerous studies have shown that companies with employee training and development plans reap the benefit of higher productivity and profits than ones who don’t, but why does productivity improve? Well, this comes along with employee recognition. Employees value a company that wants to help them improve and develop as a professional, and as a result, they become more engaged and more productive!
How to create training and development programs for your employees?
So, now that we have evaluated the effectiveness of employee training and development, the next step is to develop a training program (because as we’ve seen, if training is a strategic decision, it needs a well thought out strategy behind it to drive it). But what is the best way to create it? Let’s break it down.
Identify your needs
Start by identifying your needs, as a company, and as individuals. These can be highlighted in performance appraisals between employee and line manager to identify any skills gaps that may be there that will help you improve.
What does the business want to achieve in the next quarter, 6 months, or year? It’s important to start here, as all efforts should lead to the company achieving what it sets out to. Be sure to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Related and Time-Bound) so you have a clear way to measure the effectiveness.
Start by conducting a 360-performance evaluation of your employees. How are your employees currently performing? Are there areas that are great, but areas that could be better? How productive are your employees? Have you spotted any signs of unengaged employees? These are all important aspects to look at when building your plan, as it starts to help you identify potential skills gaps. If you have already implemented a performance management program, then this should be a walk in the park to get started, as you will have already identified gaps.
Specific program training
Now, you need to create a specific program that helps improve your employee’s performance by improving these skills gaps, so that you can achieve your business goals. Decide what the most effective delivery method is going to be (for example, having in-person training with employees that are wary of Covid-19 means they’re probably not going to concentrate on the session, and the training will be less effective) and exactly how you’re going to measure it.
Preparation for managerial roles
This may sound a bit odd, but managers need to be prepared when training is implemented, so they can understand any changes in performance, and give any additional support where needed, or reward those through more important responsibilities because of effective training.
This is where your plan starts to get a bit more meat on its bones. You’ve already set out your company goals, but now you need to clearly define objectives or milestones you want to aim towards so you can achieve these goals. For example, if your company goal is to improve profitability by 2%, your objective should include employee training that helps your employees to complete tasks efficiently.
Include employee feedback
Feedback is so important, not only once the training is complete, but whilst building your plan. Ask employees how they would like to have their training delivered, how they would like to access it, and what kind of training would help them.
If you choose to deliver your training in-house, you need to create training assets to help. Create a workbook for them to complete, and discuss during the sessions, along with any additional materials they may need and that they can reflect on afterwards to ensure the information is retained and applied.
Implement training modules
Now you have created the plan for your training, created the asset and materials, it’s time to deliver the training. Make sure your training is easily accessible to participants and delivered well.
Technology, such as effective HRMs with an L&D module can help you track the implementation of your training.
Almost as important as planning and giving the training is evaluating its effectiveness. The best way to evaluate how effective and successful training has beenis to collect as much data as possible. Post-training surveys, examinations, monitoring employee performance posttraining etc. The more data you have, the better you can evaluate how well it is contributing to your objectives and goals set out in your plan and calculate ROI and put strategies in place. It’s important to be honest and look at the data and be truthful whether you think the training didn’t work as well as if it was.
So, now you’re convinced of how important and phenomenal employee training and development really is, it’s time to take it to the next level and digitize your processes.
An effective HRMS, such as gulfHR, can help you take your training and development management to the next level but automating processes and centralising information, such as training plans, venue and trainer management, and integrate this with a performance management module to you can track the effectiveness. Book a demo now to speak to one of our experts about our talent management solution and see for yourself how you can improve your employee experience with training and development.
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