Employee training and development encompasses any combination of activities in which employees improve current skills and learn new ones.
It’s not uncommon to hear “employee training and development” spoken as one word. Truly understanding and benefiting from talent development and training programs, however, requires understanding that these are two separate, though very intertwined, ideas.
While the umbrella phrase describes any combination of activities in which employees improve their current skills or learn new ones, there are different ways to do that. Formal training is one type of employee development that usually leads to the acquisition of new skills. Professional development more broadly can include everything from training to mentoring, coaching, and self-directed learning that employees can pursue at their own pace.
Whether it involves long-time or new employees, helping your labor force get better, safer, and more efficient at their jobs benefits the company and your employees. As employees develop their skills, there are fewer accidents, fewer quality issues, enhanced productivity, and even positive employee retention. Employees who feel good about their workplace and its commitment to investing in them tend to do better work. When employee performance improves, it can lift the entire organization.
Let’s talk more about the purpose, benefits, and examples of employee training and development programs so you can implement them successfully in your workplace.
What is the purpose of employee training and development?
Employee training and development programs are often called upskilling or reskilling in the world of HR. Many companies view employee growth as a path to meeting their current needs and reaching future objectives. Here are just 4 reasons why firms are eager to pursue training and development for their employees.
1. Closing a performance gap
A lot of companies perform a “gap analysis” to give them an idea of the distance between current performance and ideal future performance for the company as a whole. To get from point A to point B, organizations often map out a development plan that includes training employees to sharpen their skills and acquire new ones that can close that gap faster.
2. Gains in future employee performance
The more skilled, efficient, agile, engaged, and satisfied your employees are, the higher their productivity goes and the more invested they are in the company’s shared goals. In one survey, 92% of employees said well-developed training programs boost their level of engagement, which translates into better productivity and performance for the whole organization.
92% of employees said well-developed training programs boost their level of engagement, which translates into better productivity and performance for the whole organization.
3. Better employee retention
Organizations that invest in more training and development see employees who are more likely to stay and grow with the company. About 94% of employees surveyed said they would be more likely to stay on with a company if it offered more development and on-the-job training opportunities. Companies with good internal upward mobility can retain strong employees 2 times longer than companies with poor internal mobility.
4. Reducing quality, safety, and liability concerns
Employees with current, relevant training are less likely to make mistakes that could cause product quality and safety issues, which could create expensive liability problems.
The important aspect to remember is that employers who show they value their employees are more likely to keep their good employees, reduce potential problems and enhance their success levels. Individuals who feel valued at work because of the investment the organization is willing to make in their development are more likely to stay and make positive contributions instead of going to another company. So there is also a competitive aspect to it.
Benefits of employee training and development
One of the biggest benefits of employee training and development is simply that companies who really invest in it and do well at it are more successful than those that don’t. In fact, the benefits are stark.
1. Correlation with higher profits
Research shows that companies that train and develop see about 24% higher profit margins than companies that don’t.
2. Higher employee engagement
In addition to training on specific job tasks, training on leadership skills, soft skills, and communication skills are seen as highly desirable by workers, making them feel far more engaged. And the same research shows that when employees are engaged, they can be more than 200% more productive than those who are disengaged.
3. Engaged employees bring excellence
A Gallup survey made this point pretty strongly when it found that engaged employees:
- Correspond with a 10% boost in customer opinion.
- Correspond with a 23% higher profitability.
- Are far less likely to be absent and go looking for other jobs.
- Are far less likely (by almost half) to incur safety incidents.
Introducing training and development
Trying to help employees achieve their work-life balance and strive for a growth mindset can help get them to invest in themselves in this way.
Once you’ve decided to implement an employee training and development program, it’s important to introduce it officially to employees and encourage their participation as something that will benefit them personally. Training methods and programs might hit differently with different groups of employees. If they are already so busy they can barely keep up, it may stress them out more. Some may immediately see the benefits and reach out. Trying to help employees achieve their work-life balance and strive for a growth mindset can help get them to invest in themselves in this way.
It’s also important to use engaging, exciting training methods that are focused and tailored to help achieve company objectives. A mix of hands-on, classroom, and self-directed video training usually works better than just reading.
Invest in employee development today
In the past few years, as so much has changed in the workplace and employees have jumped to seek greener pastures, it’s important to make your workplace pastures, in-person and remote, as green as possible. The growing demands of the market have created a stronger need for employee education and development. Companies that invest heavily in this see more success than ones that don’t. Zenefits can help HR professionals and business leaders develop their employee training and development programs.