Running a successful business is not like riding a bicycle. You can’t expect the engine to “keep going” (aka your team to keep hitting its goals) based solely on momentum. Your company’s success, stability, and growth require a lot more than that. And that’s where the importance of training comes into play.
There’s not an app or a magic spell that turns disengaged employees who can’t wait to clock out at 5 p.m. into excited team players. It’s all about workplace training.
Think about all the things that have stalled your company’s growth at some point. Which are the worst offenders: An increasing inability of your team to hit deadlines? A disconcerting amount of variation in your customer service? That new integration in your systems that half the employees are still struggling to learn how to use?
You can solve these and similar issues with proper employee training. And the sooner you get some clarity on this, the easier it will be to convince your boss about it, as well.
The benefits of employee training
The importance of training employees has been recognized since the Industrial Revolution. (Although thankfully we’re a bit less analog now.) For decades, corporate training systems have been put in place to make sure employees actually know how to undertake a specific task.
But they usually fail to “tell” employees why they should tackle that task. What will it really bring to the team and to themselves as professionals?
Without the “why”, sitting through conferences, workshops, and enduring endless team-building exercises (that usually involve drawing on post-its) can be grating. And inefficient. Let alone expensive. It’s no wonder then that many managers, including your boss, shirk away from workplace training altogether. They just address issues in an ad hoc way.
But here’s the pickle: the importance of training in the workplace cannot be understated. It’s not something you can skip and expect your company to keep going (see bicycle simile above). You just need to find and implement the right system. One that will make people feel part of the team, and will allow them to become the best version of themselves.
If you’re still unsure about why you and senior management should bother, below you’ll find some of the most important benefits of employee training and development. TLDR; employee training is good for everyone — business and employees.
1. Contribute to business growth goals
What does growth look like for your company? Moving out of that co-working space? Exploring franchise opportunities? Expanding to new markets? In any case, growth translates to new hires, aka people who need to catch up with the rest of the team. It also translates to new systems and tools that employees will need to start using asap.
A new study by Gallup and TrueSpace sheds some light on the importance of training and development in organizations when it comes to achieving growth. The study looks at 2,494 businesses to identify the 5 key conditions necessary for a company to grow at least 10% within 2 years.
One of these conditions is Endurance: whether your employees and stakeholders can “endure the growth journey”. According to the study, companies that are able to keep employees emotionally invested have better chances of achieving growth. The right type of employee training will maintain and nurture that emotional bond.
But hey, you’re also part of this equation. Another condition of growth in the Gallup and True Space study is Predictability, aka whether managers can learn from past experiences to improve decision-making. When you are continuously learning, you have better chances to see your company grow. That’s why your employee training system should also include leadership training — for you and for everyone else in the company.
Managers who keep learning + employees who keep feeling connected = better growth for all.
2. Build trust (both internally and externally)
Julia Skupchenko, CEO of Business GreenHouse, identifies trust as one of the key principles that will guide European entrepreneurship in the new decade. You need clients to trust that your product or service is worth their time and money (especially if your product or service is online). But that trust starts internally: your employees need to be the first ones to drink your kool-aid.
Speaking of drinking, picture this scenario: you’re headed to Starbucks to get a latte. On the way there, you notice a face that feels familiar. It’s your usual barista, walking to start their shift. Only they’re sipping their coffee from a Costa Coffee cup.
Now, that person may have many valid reasons why they chose a beverage from a direct competitor of Starbucks. It may have been for research purposes, out of convenience, or simply as a way to rebel a bit. Either way, it doesn’t look good — and is probably making you second guess your latte order.
Working with Instagram influencers is nice and all, but your true ambassadors need to be your employees. According to that same Gallup and TrueSpace study, companies with high levels of trust among their employees are 2.7 times more likely to hit their growth goals.
How do you turn employees into ambassadors? You invest in training, particularly online employee training. A system that’s fun, easy, and accessible (so on a screen, not on a whiteboard) will increase the chances of your employees actually engaging with it. And once they’re engaged and invested in your company, you can rest assured there will be no more Costa Coffee cups in sight.
3. Deliver consistent customer service
The benefits of employee training are not just soft ones, like building trust. They’re also very measurable, like performance and consistency. When everyone on your team knows how things are supposed to be done (and why), there is less room for errors.
This Forbes article by customer service consultant Micah Solomon explains why “for repeatable, sustainable customer service excellence”, you need much more than smiles. You need systems and standards, like employee training software that will act as a reference point for all.
Imagine having one or two charismatic employees, who deliver excellent customer service and keep people coming back. And then imagine these returning customers being paired with one of your less charismatic employees, and having a bad experience. This lack of consistency hurts the credibility of your company. But with the proper online employee training system in place, you don’t have to worry about variation.
Sure, people are not robots. Some employees will be better at certain tasks than others. But with the help of a training system, managers will be able to identify any shortcomings and help employees overcome them. Which brings us to our next point.
4. Unlock the full potential of your team
The struggle for self-improvement is real. Gwyneth Paltrow built a whole Goop empire based on that. And because we all spend so many hours at work, professional improvement goes hand-in-hand with personal development. So how can you help employees be, perform, and feel their best? Short of spraying them with quartz water and lighting Goop candles at the office?
According to this article from the Training Industry, breaking down the traditional “pyramid” structure and adapting a more flat hierarchy will make people feel their voice matters. When employees feel safe to express themselves, then your boss will be able to know their full potential and hidden skills.
What if your data analyst is also a very skilled photographer and would be happy to take photos at your corporate event? You will never know unless you foster an environment of openness. But this goes beyond casual water cooler chats. In the modern semi or fully-virtual and fast-paced work environment, you need to find ways to communicate with your employees, get their insights, and support them.
It all goes back to the importance of training in the workplace. When training employees or evaluating their skills, leverage new technologies that “speak their language”. Nobody can ace a test if the instructions are written in a language they don’t understand.
5. Decrease employee turnover
On the list of employee training benefits, we would be remiss not to include how training affects retention. You already know employee turnover is a costly thing that hurts both your budget and overall productivity.
Training your employees and keeping them engaged means you probably won’t have to replace them soon. It also means that, when a new position opens, it will be easier to promote from within. Because your HR department will know your employees’ skills. Even their hidden ones.
By now you understand the importance of employee training — and hopefully, senior management, too. So how should you go about implementing it? And how much will it cost? Employee training programs can be expensive. They can also be tough on your servers and difficult to maintain.
Don’t worry. A Learning Management System can help you deliver engaging and cost-effective training. Here’s what you should take into account when looking for an LMS and how to pick the best training platform for your business needs. The best version of your team, the one that will help your company hit all those sweet growth goals, is closer than you think.
Improve your employee, partner and customer training with our enterprise-ready learning management system. Book a demo now and see why our diverse portfolio of customers consistently give us 5 stars (out of 5!)