The notion of training and development has been present within our companies for many years. First seen as a generous gesture from the employers, the access to training has become more and more essential for the well-being of the employees and the productivity of the company. This to the point where “training and development” is a key part of the business strategy with the most return on investment as it improves the business from top to bottom.
What is training and development?
Often mentioned together, there is a slight difference between the two terms, which may help understand the coming benefits they bring forth. If both terms mention the idea of improving knowledge and/or skill, the final purpose is somewhat different. The primary goal of training is to perform better at their existing job, while the main purpose of “development” is to face future challenges and/or develop a career path.
The obvious, gaining soft and hard skills
The three main reasons which come first in mind when an employee wishes to follow a training are either to face a new role, to keep his current position (due to the evolution of the industry) or to develop a career (promotion). Therefore, the main benefit seen by the employees is developing or gaining new hard and soft skills which will help them meet one of the previous needs. That benefit directly influences the company’s efficiency and productivity. A current employee looking to develop his competencies makes the company more agile when facing rapid changes. Nowadays, a successful company can adapt quickly and constantly to the new needs of the market by always being a step ahead of the transition and keeping its competitive advantage. This is why AION Consulting not only gives in-house training but also provides a notable budget to all employees allowing them to invest in their career development. This budget is based on AION Consulting’s SLIM model which forms one of the pillars of our liberated company.
Improving the working experience of the employee
In addition to the obvious benefits of training and development, there is a wide range of less evident benefits that positively influence individual well-being and therefore indirectly the productivity of the company. If it is true that a company’s biggest asset is its employees, then any business aware enough to act accordingly by investing in its people will surely reap the rewards. An employee who cares about his work and the company is likely to be more productive.
Furthermore, an employee being offered the possibility of learning and developing new skills will feel more valued. In turn, a worker feeling valued will be more motivated and less bored with his work routine which result in less absences and incidents.
Given the current climate of people becoming dissatisfied with their employers, employee retention is undoubtedly high on many organizations’ agenda. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one possible reason for lacking loyalty towards employers is the shortage of growth opportunities in-house. According to Amdocs, 64% of the people would leave their job if they did not have access to training and development. This includes the lack of growth and poor training within the organization (as seen in the figure below).
Figure 1: Survey from Amdocs of full-time workers across the US, 2021.
By creating a positive career trajectory, companies could significantly reduce turnover and hiring costs (measured both in time and in money) which are far greater than the gains of developing business strategies to retain talents. In the current period of the Great Resignation, access to training and development becomes essential as 56% of the people interviewed by Amdocs, require more training and career development in 2022.
Moreover, encouraging internal promotion, natural future leaders could be nurtured to take on more responsibility and to require less supervision due to their skills and experience in the organization.
Hidden gems for the company
An employee who sees that a company invests in his future will feel less bored and will be willing to use the newly acquired skills for the development of the company. This naturally encourages creativity and innovation within your teams, improves your business products, services, and processes and subsequently increases competitive advantages.
On top of that, satisfied and motivated employees naturally contribute to a good company image through word of mouth and social media. A company that values the culture of training and development will also attract better talents when hiring. According to Amdocs, 90% of the job seekers consider the opportunity of training and growth within a company as essential in their decision of applying and/or accepting an offer. A clear representation of training and development opportunities during the onboarding stage will introduce the newcomer to the culture of the company and encourage him to work better and harder thanks to a deep understanding of the growth perspective.
… but not an automatic answer to every problem
The return on investment is not always positive as training is not the solution to every problem within an organization but rather an option that should be considered when there is a real need and purpose. Many large companies tend to invest a lot in training and development, expecting a high return on investment. Yet, a training approach without a deep understanding of the current skills and a clear explanation of the objectives and vision of the business will be ineffectual and unusable for the company and the employees. For example, a lack of performance from an employee can be due to a lack of understanding of the task, a lack of tools or a lack of qualitative management. In other words, an employee can have the skills to do his work but not the right tools (software, machines, …) to be efficient.
Understanding the objectives of development is crucial for the company to offer the right type of training to the right people with the best delivery method. All three conditions need to apply for training to be most effective. Someone following theory training courses without having the opportunity to implement this in practice is an example of a bad delivery method even if the right training is given to the right people. As a result, for trainings to have a positive impact on the company, trainings shouldn’t always be proposed by management but should also come from the employees themselves. Employees have a better insight in their needs regarding their roles, professional ambitions and evolution of the market and therefore should be encouraged in creating their own training and development plan. In 2021, 91% of the employees surveyed would like a more personalized and relevant training as they would be more satisfied and productive if they are trained for the skills they need to carry out their duties. Therefore, aside from tailored in-house training, AION Consulting also allocates a training budget providing each employee with the necessary resources to efficiently develop the right skills for their specific roles and interests. Each employee can choose independently how they manage their budget to develop skills relevant to their career.
Training and development is becoming more and more present in the culture of a company. This is due to the numerous, often indirect, benefits it has both on the profits and the brand image. There is a constant causal relationship: the access of training creates a valuable feeling for the employees, who will as a result be more motivated and more productive which will finally have a positive impact on the profit and brand image of the business. As employees improve their skills through training and development, it will allow them to better reply to the new market needs within the company’s industry and to help the company keep its competitive advantages. However, this is only possible when relevant trainings are organized for the co-workers thanks to a previous understanding of the needs and a close collaboration with the employees.
Nathan Van Rompuy