All successful organisations know that developing employees makes good business sense. However tight economic times have put training budgets under pressure. Fortunately there are a range of options organisations can explore to improve the skill sets of their teams.
The key to ensuring a good return on your development dollar is to ensure programs are focused on:
- What are the gaps in the business that training and development can impact on?
- How will the training add value to the business?
- Which team members will benefit most?
- What format of development activities best suits both the organisation and the learner?
- How will we evaluate the learning and development activity?
Why developing your staff makes sense
Training helps organisations run better
Trained employees will be better equipped to manage technology improvements, handle customers, keep up to date with legislative changes and perform their duties safely for example.
A learning and development culture is a recruiting tool
Staff members are looking to develop their skills now that many people are working for longer periods. Similarly, research shows younger workers are more likely to be recruited to organisations that can demonstrate ongoing learning values. In short, you are more likely to attract and keep good employees if you can offer development opportunities.
Investing in your people builds loyalty
Well thought through learning programs send a clear message to your teams that you value them enough to invest in them.
Learning and development promotes job satisfaction
Nurturing employees to develop more rounded skill sets will help them contribute to the company. The more engaged and involved they are in working for your success, the better your rewards.
Training is a retention tool, instilling commitment from good workers
Team members who may be looking to pursue their next challenge will be more likely to stay if you offer ways for them to learn and grow while with your organisation. This directly affects costs and disruptions through reduced turnover.
Training adds flexibility and efficiency
You can cross-train employees to be capable in more than one area of the organisation. This flexibility can be applied horizontally and vertically. Succession planning across the organisation and in management structures can be facilitated through targeted learning programs. The organisation is risk managing around absence and the team member is being challenged by developing valuable new skills. Cross-training also fosters team spirit, as team members can begin to appreciate the challenges faced by co-workers in a new light!
Development and training is essential for knowledge transfer
It's very important to share knowledge among your staff. If only one person has special skills, you'll have a tough time recouping their knowledge if they suddenly leave the company. Spread knowledge around — it's like diversifying your investments.
What options are available to develop staff?
- Group training - delivered in house/with other organisations by internal trainers/external providers.
- elearning programs conducted both internally and externally
- Mentoring – structured or informal programs. Internal/External mentors can be involved
- Job rotation
- Work shadowing
- Self study – Partial or full sponsorship for staff undertaking external programs with relevance to the business. Study leave options for staff in lieu of financial support.
- Peer training
- Opportunities to grow skill sets through projects
- 1:1 training programs
- Cross organisational training – developing relationships with other organisations to provide opportunities to staff members to learn skills in other businesses.
Choosing the right program structure will depend on your team members, your operational requirements and the learning outcomes you are seeking.
For more information on options for learning and development in your organisation, please contact us.