Every leader and HR professional understands the importance of employee onboarding. However, that’s where many organizations’ training programs end, and there are many benefits to educating workers throughout their careers. Ongoing education, especially in broader industry skills, should be part of everyone’s role, regardless of their experience level.
Workers that know the basic ins and outs of their jobs should receive training that hones their skills and endows them with new ones. Upskilling, career development, and similar programs are crucial aspects of running a successful business, but they’re easy to overlook. Here are some of the most significant benefits of training employees to illustrate their importance.
One of the most important benefits of training employees is increased worker retention. Turnover is an issue for virtually every industry today, and while it’s a complex issue with multiple influencing factors, upskilling is an important part of addressing it. Studies find that 86 percent of professionals would change jobs for more professional development opportunities.
Offering ongoing training programs helps employees feel valued and confident. It shows the company is invested in their success as professionals, not just as a way to fill a need. As a result, workers are more likely to stay with the business instead of seeking more mobility elsewhere.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by assisting employees with higher education. Insurance giant Cigna offered tuition assistance for its workers and achieved a 129 percent return on investment from reduced talent management costs. Worker churn dropped as people stayed to take advantage of the program, saving the company money while boosting employees’ salaries.
Similarly, ongoing training programs can boost productivity within the workplace. Much of that stems from higher employee engagement. Workers who see longer-term potential in their jobs are more motivated to devote themselves to succeed in their current roles.
One study among professional services organizations found that 10 out of 18 employees found new ways to perform their tasks more effectively after just six months of career development. Similarly, more workers felt inclined to emphasize their roles within the company rather than outside it and felt more confident in their work.
Ensure your career development programs focus on skills relevant to your industry and employees’ workflows. They’ll become better equipped to take on new tasks and accomplish their daily work more efficiently as they learn more in these areas. Gamifying the process of setting and reaching goals can further boost engagement, driving productivity.
Another benefit of training employees is that the quality of their work will improve. Onboarding teaches workers the necessary skills and knowledge to do their job, and ongoing learning can help them find ways to do it better.
For example, training programs for installation professionals can let them work alongside the engineers who make the products they install. By learning from the people who develop these technologies, technicians will get a more well-rounded knowledge of how they work. They’ll also understand more about different product applications, helping them meet more of their clients’ needs and take on new challenges.
Similar free training programs in other industries can offer the same benefits. Employees working alongside people in other parts of the industry will make helpful connections, learn how their partners operate, and better understand products or services.
Ongoing employee training can also help your workforce become more flexible. Today’s most pressing issues may not be tomorrow’s. Similarly, ideal workflows or practices in the current economy and labor market may shift over time. Equipping workers with a broader skill set and knowledge base will help your business adapt to these changes.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how crucial flexibility is. After widespread disruptions and delays, many supply chains have embraced agility over lean practices, realizing the need for quick adjustments. Achieving that requires employees who can understand and adapt to different scenarios, which ongoing training can provide.
A 2020 survey found that 48.9 percent of manufacturers who offered upskilling programs extended employees’ careers. Even more said it helped workers move into supervisory roles and boosted morale.
Upskilling in some industries may look like teaching workers in repetitive, manual jobs engineering skills to help work with robots amid rising automation. In others, it could involve emphasizing nuanced problem-solving as artificial intelligence (AI) takes over more administrative work in knowledge roles. Whatever the specifics, career development can future-proof your workforce.
Training employees more thoroughly across their careers will also help cut out waste. That mostly takes the form of physical waste in manufacturing, construction and related industries. More confident, well-rounded workers will make fewer mistakes, leading to less scrap and rework.
This waste reduction deals mainly with time in the warehouse, logistics, and office roles. Finding and fixing mistakes takes time, a resource that often isn’t abundant. Even if workers don’t make errors, a lack of confidence can lead them to make crucial decisions or accomplish tasks too slowly. By contrast, someone with more knowledge and experience can avoid mistakes and work faster.
Consider how you can foster autonomy when establishing training programs. The more workers can confidently do by themselves, the less they’ll rely on supervisors, further reducing time waste and letting everyone reach full productivity.
Promotion From Within
Another important benefit of training employees on broader industry skills is a promotion from within. Higher-level roles often require different skill sets and experience, leading many companies to look outwardly. However, hiring from within is usually the better option.
Teams working under internally promoted leaders are 15 percent more likely to report high productivity, and 66 percent prefer to work for promoted bosses over outside hires. Finding new workers to fill leadership roles can be costly, so promoting from within can save money.
Greg Chansler, senior manager of HR at Kawasaki Motors, emphasizes the benefits of training employees to prepare them for future promotions. By encouraging job shadowing and mentorship, the company has saved time and money hiring leaders, improved morale, and gained more trust in the people they promote.
To fully capitalize on these benefits, you must ensure your workers have the tools they need to thrive in new roles. That means providing ongoing training that slowly introduces them to new concepts, workflows, and responsibilities. A thorough career development program will foster strong leaders, so you don’t have to spend time and money looking for them outside the company.
There Are Many Benefits of Training Employees
These six benefits of training employees on industry skills and ideas show how critical career development programs can be. Managing a workforce today comes with many challenges, but looking inward instead of outward to overcome these obstacles has many advantages.
There is always something new to learn or a habit to improve, so training shouldn’t end with onboarding. As these benefits show, taking the time and effort to train employees throughout their time with the company will yield the best results.