There’s an old joke about an executive who worries that training their employees will be a bad investment because they might leave, to which the sage CEO says, “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”
Contrary to common fears, training employees doesn’t usher them out the door. Yes, training may prepare employees for employment outside your company, but it also prepares them for a better future working for you.
"Training shows you trust your employees and that you’re committed to their career growth."
You can increase the likelihood that your employees will use the training they receive for your benefit by giving them opportunities to put what they’ve learned to immediate use and rewarding them when the new skills and extra effort pay off. Prompt application of what they’ve learned will help solidify their knowledge, while the positive reinforcement will encourage continued use of the new skills.
Aside from developing practical skills and knowledge among employees that will contribute to your bottom line, training can be a way of building good professional relationships. This goes for both team training and individual training. Training shows you trust your employees and that you’re committed to their career growth. Be up front about this. Tell them that you hope the training you provide to them gives them more opportunities within your organization, but also more opportunities in their overall career development and growth. Then involve them as much as you can in the future of your organization. They’ll be more likely to stay if they believe they have a place as your company grows, overcomes challenges, and prospers.
Having trouble getting buy-in? Employees will be more receptive to training if they’re involved in deciding where to focus their development. Ask them what knowledge, skills, and abilities they would like to work on. The training might pertain directly to their jobs or cover matters beyond their day-to-day work. Time management, injury prevention, and customer relations are popular training topics.
And don’t forget to set training goals. Without goals it’s not only hard for you to know how effective your training program is, but it’s also difficult for your employees to stay on track. So that both the employee and their manager have shared expectations, it is important to ensure that goals contain all components of the SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Because of their specificity and concrete detail, SMART goals provide clear expectations and accountability—a roadmap for success! They can be monitored regularly and there’s no question as to whether or not the employee achieved them. They give employees and managers something to work with during future check-ins or performance reviews.
In sum, training makes for a better workplace. When your employees expand their knowledge, skills, and abilities, they’ll do better work. When they do better work, they’ll better the company. Morale will increase as their passion and excitement grow and as the company performs better.