This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
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Employees are the lifeblood of any business, but are you giving your team the tools they need to succeed? Whether you are onboarding a new hire or introducing a new software program to your team, your training efforts will have a significant impact on employee output.
Employee training improves productivity and offers a host of additional benefits that will directly impact your company’s bottom line. Because of this, it should never be treated as an afterthought. Rather, it should be a top priority for you and your human-resources department. That’s why we recommend the following four bits of insight and guidance.
1. Quality training creates a high-engagement culture.
Employee engagement is a hot topic in today’s work world. Employees who are highly engaged are more productive and less likely to quit their jobs. Even more importantly, they help build a positive culture around your brand, resulting in a more team-focused environment. In many cases, a highly engaged employee can even serve as your best recruiter when looking for new talent.
Unfortunately, the modern workplace as a whole is highly disengaged. Gallup research from 2018 reported that 34 percent of U.S. employees are “engaged” at work. While this ties a record-high engagement level, it means the majority of workers are disengaged, not putting in their best effort and ready to leave their employer as soon as a better offer comes along.
A quality training program will go a long way to counteract this issue. New-hire onboarding should account for social integration with future colleagues, as well as an overview of company values and norms. This helps a new employee better adapt to the culture. Investing in continuous training also creates a growth-minded culture that benefits the entire team. Training helps employees feel valued and that their contributions matter. According to the Gallup survey, the most engaged businesses have 21 percent greater profitability than their disengaged competitors.
2. Use training to improve productivity, individually and as a whole.
Training is most important during the onboarding process when a new hire is still learning the ropes of their job. Harvard Business Review notes that, depending on the position, it can often take high-level hires between six months to a year to fully acclimate to their new role. The good news is that training can drastically cut the amount of time it takes for a new hire to “get up to speed” at any level in the company. Even seemingly mundane tasks, like covering your business’s unique jargon or explaining processes for using an in-house software program, will help eliminate the early roadblocks that slow down a new hire’s productivity.
Ongoing training can provide similar benefits, helping employees become more productive and efficient in their assigned roles. Case studies have consistently found that even a small investment in training can lead to big improvements later on. For example, as Stephen Maclaren reported for Entrepreneur, Motorola saw a 30 percent productivity increase for each dollar invested in employee training.
3. Keep up with changing tech and industry trends.
The fact that technology has had (and is continuing to have) a massive effect on the business world is no secret. Despite this, a PwC survey found that 47 percent of employees feel that their company doesn’t address their needs when introducing new technology. At the same time, the vast majority of employees across a wide range of industries “report that they’re willing to spend up to two days per month on training to upgrade their digital skills if offered by their employer.”
Any time you introduce a new software program or adapt your processes to adjust to industry changes, you must consider how this will affect the day to day activities of your workers. New software may promise improved productivity, but you will only get these results if your team knows how to use it. By providing your team with the resources they need to keep up (or even get ahead) in an ever-changing world, they will respond more positively to internal changes and be better equipped to deliver the results your company needs.
4. Training will improve your retention rates.
A positive, highly engaged culture will naturally lead to better retention rates, one of the most important issues for any business owner. Data from the 2017 Retention Report by the Work Institute reveals that it costs an average of 33 percent of an employee’s salary to hire a suitable replacement. If an individual with a $60,000 annual salary leaves, you can expect a total loss of approximately $20,000 from hiring and onboarding expenses.
Interestingly, career development was the top-cited reason for leaving a job in the report. This is something that can be directly counteracted by a culture that fosters continual growth through training programs and other measures. With this in mind, ongoing training should go beyond merely keeping everyone informed of corporate policy changes. By focusing on employees’s educational needs, you will help them develop new skills and reach their career goals. Rather than having employees quit and look for better opportunities elsewhere, a quality training program will prepare the next generation of leaders for your company.
Your company’s success largely depends on the output of your employees. While making the right initial hire is crucial for achieving quality outcomes, you still have a major responsibility after someone joins your team. By prioritizing employee training, you will put your entire company on track for a successful future.