Employee training at her office

When it comes to the benefits of offering employee training opportunities and development programs, the numbers speak for themselves. 76% of employees report that a company is more appealing if it offers additional training to staff. And 61% of adults in the United States look for career development opportunities at a company when seeking a new job.1 As the younger millennial and Gen-Z generations begin to make up a more significant portion of the workforce, the desire for training among employees only increases.2 As a small business, there are many benefits of employee training and development.

What is employee training and development’s role in the workplace?

Employee training and development programs are formal education opportunities your business offers to its employees. Through training and development, you can grow the skills and knowledge you want your employees to have to be successful in their roles and in your business. You might teach new competencies or help employees enhance existing skills.3 Or, you might use programs such as cybersecurity training to help lower risk and prevent loss in the workplace.

One of the key benefits of employee training is increased productivity. Taking the time to train your employees beyond their initial onboarding helps them learn new skills that benefit your business. However, it’s not the only reason to invest in training and development. Let’s examine a few reasons employee training and development can help your business succeed.

1. Increase employee engagement and satisfaction

Job satisfaction is key to having productive employees who are engaged in your mission. High satisfaction leads to higher loyalty, greater productivity, a better culture and ultimately a more functional business. Opportunities for learning and advancement are major contributors to job satisfaction and engagement as employees feel more stable and more fulfilled when they see that the business is willing to invest in their future.4 When you offer training and development programs, your employees will feel more engaged with the business and its success — and proud of their own success at the same time.

2. Reduce employee turnover

Reducing employee turnover is a priority for every company but matters even more for small businesses where a single person can make a big impact. Training and development can help reduce turnover by helping employees feel confident and competent in their roles, which contributes to overall job satisfaction.5 Offering opportunities to learn and get outside of the normal workday can also help reduce burnout, which is a significant reason why employees resign. Learning in the workplace can reduce the feelings of stagnation and monotony that are often associated with burnout.3

One study from LinkedIn showed that 94% of employees would stay longer in companies that invest in their professional development.2 Yet only 29% of employees report being satisfied with the training opportunities available at their company.1 Therefore, investing in training and development may put you ahead of your competitors in the search for the best talent. Learn more about employee retention strategies.

3. Improve employee performance and quality of work

While offering employee training and development programs can mean a time or monetary investment for the business, it can offer a great return on investment in the form of employee performance and quality of work. Good training and development results in employees who are better at their job and therefore more productive, decisive and independent. You may find that employees who have received more training and development opportunities are not only more effective at their job, but are better leaders within the business and can pass on their knowledge to other employees. They also are less likely to need hands-on supervision and are able to create a better output with less management.6

4. Build company culture and ability to compete

Your company culture is one of your best recruitment and retention tools. A good company culture is a promotable benefit that applicants will be looking for. It also helps your current employees stay engaged and happy in their roles. 76% of millennials believe that training and development opportunities are one of the most important aspects of a company culture.1 Offering these opportunities fosters a culture of growth and learning that will keep your employees engaged and energized. The professional development programs you offer, as well as the associated opportunities for advancement, may be reasons an employee chooses to join your business (or stay) over your competitors.7

5. Develop capacity to adapt new technologies and skills in ever-changing industries

The world changes quickly and keeping your business on top of new technology and industry developments is imperative to its success. Employee training and development opportunities can be tailored to help your staff learn new skills and technology as they arise, keeping both their skills and your business relevant in the modern world. Businesses that have a robust learning and development system in place are much more likely to innovate than those that don’t, and a culture of learning can lead to new strategies and solutions that will not only keep your business competitive, but potentially even outpace your competitors completely.8

6. Encourage long-term employee skill and career development

Your long-term employees may find learning and development opportunities especially useful. They will help them stay at the top of their field as industry developments occur. Where they otherwise might have had to job hop to gain new skills, they will be able to continue building their career with your business knowing that you will provide the training necessary. Instead of hiring from outside of your company to augment your staff’s capabilities, consider rewarding deserving staff members with the opportunity to take on new responsibilities through learning new skills. As an added benefit, training existing employees on new skills means your business doesn’t have to take on the expense and risk of hiring someone new.9

Effective employee training and development methods

There are numerous types of training and development programs you can offer your employees. How you choose to promote learning and development within your business should align with your business’s structure and needs. A few examples include:

  • Mentorship programs: Connect newer employees with more seasoned ones to learn by example.
  • On-the-job training: Let your employees learn through hands-on experiences.
  • Personal study: Give your employees access to academic or industry courses they can complete independently such as digital trainings.
  • Blended training: Offer a mix of online learning modules and in-person training.9

Whatever methods you choose for your employees, make sure the training is easy to access and readily available. While your employees will understand that training will necessitate extra work on top of their usual responsibilities, you should make it as simple as possible for them to achieve.

How to create a training program for employees

To create a useful employee training program, start by identifying your objectives:

  • What do you want employees to be able to do after receiving training?
  • How should this increase employee performance or productivity?
  • How should this affect our culture or retention?

Once you know what you would like to achieve with the training, it could be helpful to bring your employees into the conversation. Tell them your objectives, and then listen to their perspective on the barriers keeping them from meeting those objectives currently. You can then identify what sort of training is needed to remove those barriers.11

After you have decided what will be taught, you must then choose the correct vehicle in which to teach it. Whether you use one of the methods described previously or another one, be sure that the training you provide is clear, actionable and useful to your employees. They should graduate from your training program with new skills and abilities, as well as a new sense of confidence.10

After the training program is complete, be sure to build in time to evaluate its effectiveness and ask for feedback from participants. Doing so will help you provide even more valuable training opportunities to your employees in the future.

The impact of employee training and development

Incorporating employee training and development opportunities into your business can help increase productivity and employee performance; increase retention and competitiveness; prepare your business for the future; and result in happier, more engaged employees. To learn more and access more resources to help with your business, check out the Nationwide business solutions center.

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[1] “Employee Training Statistics” Lorman Team, https://www.lorman.com/blog/post/39-statistics-that-prove-the-value-of-employee-training (Accessed June 2023)
[2] “68 Training Industry Statistics: 2023 Data Trends & Predictions” Imed Bouchrika, Phd, https://research.com/careers/training-industry-statistics (Accessed June 2023)
[3] “Importance of Training and Development for Employees” https://online.maryville.edu/blog/importance-of-training-and-development/#:~:text=Providing%20training%20and%20development%20to,existing%20skills%20to%20enhance%20productivity (Accessed June 2023)
[4] “The importance of employee satisfaction” Rachel Steben, https://officevibe.com/blog/importance-employee-satisfaction (Accessed June 2023)
[5] “Does training really decrease turnover?” Rachael Nemeth, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/does-training-really-decrease-turnover-rachael-nemeth#:~:text=Employee%20training%20can%20reduce%20employee,re%20more%20likely%20to%20stay (Accessed June 2023)
[6] “Effects of Training on Employee Performance” Jerry Shaw, https://smallbusiness.chron.com/effects-training-employee-performance-39737.html (Accessed June 2023)
[7] “7 ways employee training can improve your company’s reputation” Costa Lamprou, https://blog.reputationx.com/guest/employee-training (Accessed June 2023)
[8] “The Power of Learning and Development For Innovation” Kambria Dumesnil, https://elearningindustry.com/the-power-of-learning-and-development-for-innovation (Accessed June 2023)
[9] “The Importance of Training Employees” Jennifer Herrity, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/importance-of-training (Accessed June 2023)
[10] “7-Step Guide for Creating an Effective Training Program” Indeed Editorial Team, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/training-program-how-create-one (Accessed June 2023)
[11] “How to build your first employee training program” Christina Pavlou, https://resources.workable.com/tutorial/employee-training-program (Accessed June 2023)

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