Learn how to build continuous learning into every employee’s job description. Get employee training and continuing education program guidance.
Today’s employees want to learn and grow on the job. Otherwise, they’ll be more open to moving on to a company that helps them develop.
A continuous education program at your business can meet your employees’ needs and your company’s goals. It may be one of the best investments your business can make. Learn about the benefits of continuous learning for employees, and how to integrate training and development in your business operations.
Why is employee training necessary?
Lifelong learning for employees benefits companies in multiple ways. It can help you attract and retain talent — and also help your business improve innovation and increase production. Employee training helps:
- Increase retention. A recent LinkedIn Workforce Learning Report found 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn. But according to the July 2021 Monster Job index, 80% of workers don’t think their current employer offers growth opportunities.
- You maintain and grow your business. A 2020 McKinsey Global Survey found 87% of executives said there were skills gaps in their workforces, or they expected them within a couple of years. Employee training can fill in the gaps.
- You to cultivate a talent pipeline from within. Skills training can develop leaders, managers, and innovators at your company.
- Attract talent. According to a 2021 Gallup survey, 48% of American workers would switch to a new job if they were offered skills training opportunities. Nearly 2/3 (65%) believe upskilling is very important when evaluating jobs.
Employee training helps your business stay competitive. Nearly half (47%) of U.S. jobs are vulnerable to displacement due to artificial intelligence and other technologies. To keep up with evolving technology, it’s imperative to upskill employees with continuous learning opportunities.
48% of American workers would switch to a new job if they were offered skills training opportunities. Nearly 2/3 (65%) believe upskilling is very important when evaluating jobs.
Training teaches skills that workers can directly apply in their roles. Employee development can also result in other benefits like:
- Improved collaboration and teamwork. Coworkers who go through training sessions together can build stronger relationships that result in more effective collaboration.
- Employees using their strengths. Continuous learning shows employees what’s possible in their career journeys. Gallup reports people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work, 15% less likely to quit their jobs, and 8% more productive. Training can alert employees to different types of work they might want to pursue at your company.
- Increased engagement. A survey of 2,000 employees by BetterBuys found employees with professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged. When you provide employees with learning and development opportunities, you show you care about their career growth. That can make them more loyal to your company and more enthusiastic about serving you as an employer.
- More innovation. Deloitte research shows businesses that have a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to develop novel products and processes. They’re also 52% more productive.
From when a candidate is being recruited through years of working with your company, employee development can serve as a tool to engage talent every step of the way.
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What are the methods of employee development?
Employee development should be part of the overall workplace culture, not just in the form of random training events. There are several ways to build continuous learning into each employee’s job.
1. Offer compensation for training
Some companies provide corporate training as part of the workday. Others offer a certain amount of tuition reimbursement for workers who want to study job-related education.
The 2021 Gallup study found 71% of U.S. workers want employers to pay for their time training. Nearly 2/3 (65%) want the training to be available during work hours. Some companies provide corporate training as part of the workday. Others offer a certain amount of tuition reimbursement for workers who want to study job-related education.
Another way to encourage employee learning is to pay for workers to attend relevant conferences or to take continuous learning courses online. You might build in a certain amount of hours each week an employee can devote to learning, including free courses on sites like Coursera or edX that relate to the job.
2. Provide career development plans
A career development plan is like a roadmap for an employee’s journey with your company. Career development plans:
- Give employees goals to work toward
- Provide specific skills to learn and training programs to complete to advance in their role
- Offer employees a long-term vision of how they can contribute to your business
Career development plans also help your business understand the skills you have and gaps you need to account for. You might have every employee create a career development plan with their manager and check in on it regularly to monitor and measure progress.
3. Create mentorship programs
Another way to support employee development is to create a company mentorship program. Mentorship can be good for both the mentee and the mentor. According to National Mentoring Day, 67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring. Employees who receive mentoring are promoted 5 times more often compared to those who don’t.
Guiding someone else can increase employee engagement for mentors, as well. A 2020 meta-analysis of research studies in the journal Psychological Bulletin found helping others boosts mental and physical health, as well as happiness levels.
Be sure your company offers employees the ability to gain a mentor and become a mentor to a coworker. This program can include training sessions on the job and one-on-one meetings where employees can check in with their mentor or mentee. These are important opportunities to ask questions, give or solicit advice, and gain insights into recommended resources and training.
Integrate employee development in your company culture
Continuous learning will help employees develop and be more productive for your company. Regular employee training can help your workforce discover new skills and use their strengths. A continuing education program can strengthen your company’s retention and innovation.
You might recognize learning achievements in group meetings or highlight training opportunities and conferences in employee newsletters. Give employees a chance to teach others through events like lunch and learns. Create an online repository of learning material so employees can access resources on demand.
Put measurement methods in place so you can track your continuous learning efforts. You can use employee engagement surveys to ask employees their thoughts on your continuing education programs. As you gain feedback, you can evolve your employee development initiatives.