6 reasons why businesses should invest in the development of their employees
The only way to get better at something, regardless of what it is, is to learn more about it. For all of us, that’s how our early life is spent, but it’s surprising how much education can take a backseat when we enter the world of work. And while businesses will rightly be focused on hitting targets, they simply cannot afford to underestimate the importance of continual staff development.
Research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Halogen in their latest Employee Outlook report, found that more than a quarter (27%) of the employees they surveyed were “dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job”.
This tallies up with figures from Love Energy Savings who, after surveying more than 1,400 people, found that almost half of them (49%) didn’t believe that their employer was offering them enough learning and development opportunities.
The week commencing 16th May 2016 marks the start of Learning at Work Week. The week encourages businesses of all shapes and sizes to come up with a plan on how to extend training programmes to all their employees.
In honour of Learning at Work Week, Love Energy Savings aims to educate SMEs on the importance of training and development in the workplace, and how to make it a key focus of your business strategy.
Six reasons why you should invest in training
1) Better employee performance
This almost goes without saying, but of course any employee who receives training to further their skills and education will be able to perform their job better. This applies to all sectors, departments and levels of employees within your business.
Through regular training programmes, you may also find that the confidence of your employees improves, as they are gaining a much stronger grasp on your industry, the purpose of the business and the responsibilities of their own job.
2) Wider understanding of the business
If your organisation is made up of multiple different departments, make sure you create a collaborative environment that encourages members of each team to learn from others. If one team is holding a training session, don’t be afraid to open it up to the wider business. You might be surprised at who wants to attend and learn a little more about an area of the business they weren’t involved with at all.
If your staff can see the wider picture, they’ll naturally feel more accountable and driven to achieve your company’s overarching goals.
3) Lower staff turnover
Some staff turnover within your organisation is normal. Many people would even say that it is healthy for an organisation to have fresh faces bringing new ideas to a business. But high staff turnover can mean great amounts of disruption and wasted money for your organisation. Investing in training is a far more effective way to spend your money (rather than on recruitment costs). By learning new things that will help their career development, your employees will feel more valued, and are therefore more likely to stay loyal.
4) Higher employee engagement
We’ve talked a great deal about the importance of employee engagement before, and it’s something that shouldn’t be underestimated. Nor should the impact that a lack of training and development can have on a person’s engagement and ambition. The majority of your employees will greatly value and appreciate the opportunity to learn - they want to work in a place where things feel fresh, rather than stagnant and uninspiring. If they’re doing the same thing day-in, day-out with no excitement on the horizon, their motivation levels will nosedive.
5) Develop the business
Regular training sessions ensure that your teams are staying ahead of the curve; perfect for any SME who is looking to beat the competition. Encourage your different departments to keep regular tabs on any developments in their particular niche and, if someone spots something particularly interesting, have them do a presentation on it for anyone else who is interested. This way you’ll always stay ahead of the curve, offering the very best service to your customers.
6) Improve your bottom line
Maintaining high levels of employee engagement is crucial to boosting your business’ bottom line, but better internal training also contributes in another way. It’s only logical that by improving your employees’ skills, whether that’s customer service or administration, they are going to be better at their jobs, which means more business for you.
What do employees themselves think?
Here at Love Energy Savings, we’ve recognised the importance of providing training and learning opportunities to all of our staff. As part of our ongoing commitment to developing our team, BTEC courses in subjects such as team leadership, customer service, and business administration have been introduced.
Since February 2016, members of the Love Energy Savings team have been taking part in these extra courses. And while we’ve told you the numerous benefits of introducing some form of training into your business, nobody is better placed to comment on the benefits of such programmes than those who are actively doing them.
Jayde Smith - Customer Service Level 3 - “It’s crucial because it’s not just the employees who benefit from being trained. Not only will they learn new skills that they can put to use within the company, by showing consideration for employees’ development it will, in the long-term, get the best results for the business.”
Martin Caldwell - Management Level 3 - “It’s very important because it’s reciprocal. By developing its employees, the business is more likely to achieve its goals and ambitions. The credentials that are gained from NVQ and other qualifications sets you as individuals, as well as the business, apart from the rest.”
How should you go about implementing training for your SMEs?
So, now you know why you should do it, and you know that it works. But how do you actually go about starting a training and development campaign?
Here’s a good place to start...
Research and identify gaps - As companies are usually made up of different departments, take a look at each one individually, and then each person within that department. Are there any gaps in their knowledge that you can see? Would the business benefit from them adding a new string to their bow? Don’t forget that your managers will know their own teams better than anyone, so get their input before you decide to hold any specific sessions - you don’t want to teach them something they already have a good grasp on!
Make it part of their progression plan - No one wants to stay in the same role forever, and putting ambitious progression plans in place for each of your employees is a great way to encourage them to develop. Knowing that they are heading towards a different job title, a higher salary and more responsibilities can act as an incredible motivator - it’s very important! The research conducted by the CIPD and Halogen also discovered that 36% of workers surveyed felt that like were “unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation.” Establishing formal progression plans also ensures that things are constantly reviewed and not just put on the backburner while everyone is busy.
Consider external training - Not all of your training has to be done in-house. As part of your research, if you come across any training events or courses being held, don’t be afraid to suggest them to your staff. Even if it piques the interest of one person, it would be well worth sending them along. As your staff attend more and more events, you’ll become more attuned to which are worth going along to, and it’ll encourage others to get involved.
Ask them! - If you want to know what your employees and colleagues want from an internal training programme, just ask them! Chances are they’ve already put some thought into it and have a plethora of ideas. If not, then you asking will encourage them to devote some time to thinking about what they want to learn from their role. If they need to mull it over, reconvene everyone in a week or two to share ideas and work together to come up with a rock solid training programme that you can build on over time.
Get everyone involved - Last, but certainly not least, get as many people as you can involved with delivering the training. If you have the same person presenting week after week, chances are it’ll start to go a bit stale after the fifth Powerpoint presentation. While presenting won’t be for everyone, that’s why we suggest introducing it as part of people’s progression; those who want to learn presentation skills get the chance to develop too.
These steps should help you get the basic building blocks of your training programme together, but remember that nothing is set in stone! Using feedback from your employees, managers and even your customers, you should adapt and tweak your processes to ensure that only the best training is being delivered. That way you can build a programme that’s unique to you, your staff and your business, and one that delivers results.
As well as saving you money on your energy bills, the team here at Love Energy Savings are also committed to helping businesses to develop themselves and grow. If you need more advice on staff training, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today!