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Businesses that invest in their employees can see an increase in employee engagement and loyalty, while also improving the employee’s professional skills and reducing organizational inefficiencies. These changes directly impact the companies bottom line by decreasing the costs of employee turnover and optimizing production.

Companies with formalized training programs reported a 218% higher income per employee than organizations without employee training programs.

Investing in employee growth and training program doesn’t just help you improve employee satisfaction and increase productivity; it helps you attract top candidates for open positions in your organization. Talent competition is only getting worse, so companies must find ways to separate themselves from other businesses. Having an employee growth and development program is an additional benefit that will

Understanding the importance of employee growth programs is one thing – but implementing changes to encourage employee development is another story.

If your organization wants to get serious about its employee growth strategy, then you need to consider the four tips below on encouraging employee development.

Learn What Skills They Want to Improve

Organizations that want to encourage employee growth and development should start by understanding the skills their employees are interested in improving. Your employees are passionate about professional development, but they aren’t being incentivized to pursue that passion.

This is further supported by a recent study on employee growth and engagement which found that 76% of employees are actively looking to advance in their careers – yet 84% were disengaged with their current work.

The gap in employees’ desire to grow and their engagement suggests that managers and organizations are struggling to implement employee growth programs effectively.

One of the reasons for this struggle is that organizations don’t know how to align their training initiatives so that it’s mutually beneficial to the company and the employee.

You can mitigate this issue by simply asking employees what skills and vocational areas they want to improve, and finding ones that relate to their role within your organization. By collecting feedback from your employees about the growth areas that interest them, you can also gain their commitment to the training program – increasing its effectiveness.

This is further supported by a study from Clear Company that found 25% of employees would be more satisfied in their organization if they were given a chance to develop a skill that would translate to their job.

Not only can you make the employee more satisfied and comfortable in their role, but your organization will benefit through increased productivity and quality.

1. Improve Your Training Programs

Poor or nonexistent training programs can be the underlining cause of more issues than you might realize. According to a recent study on employee retention, an astounding 40% of employees leave a new job within the first year due to ineffective training and development practices.

Training is an important part of new hire onboarding – and as the data suggest, it can have a huge effect on the speed at which these hires acclimate and their commitment to the company.

Improving your organization’s employee training isn’t just important for new hires; poor training and development initiatives can affect your tenured employees, too. A 2018 study from the Conference Board found that almost 68% of employees are dissatisfied with their company’s job and educational training initiatives.  

Having poor or nonexistent employee training can increase your employee turnover, decrease production levels, and demotivate your staff. Take time to assess and iterate your current training programs, looking for opportunities to make the training material more engaging and relevant.

If you don’t have a formalized training program, you need to get one started quickly. Many companies are turning to professional employer organizations (PEO) instead of creating an employee development program from scratch. PEOs specialize in various operational areas such as employee training and onboarding – which means they can implement and optimize your employee training program in no time.

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2. Support Employee Continuing Education Programs

Do you want to show your employees that you value their professional development while at the same time improving retention and reducing the expenses that come with increased turnover? Then, you should consider supporting continuing education for your employees.

Many organizations support continuing education for employees by offering reimbursement for undergraduate programs, master’s degrees, licenses, certifications, seminars, conferences, and other education-oriented activities. By investing in your employee’s future development, you are creating a culture that values ambition, drive, and learning – which will benefit your organization immediately and in the future.

You may be hesitant to add workload to your employees’ plates, or you might worry about the prospect of them finding another job after they finish their coursework or training. However, the reality is that most employees crave learning, and the value of employees developing new skills and insight outweigh the risks.

Even if your company doesn’t implement a reimbursement program for continuing education, you can still support external training and education by providing employees with the flexibility to complete the outside coursework. Being flexible with employees pursuing additional education is an important step in supporting their development and helping them achieve their personal goals.

3. Find Unconventional Learning Opportunities

The traditional employee training program follows a more formal approach to employee growth and development – wherein training material is presented in a curriculum format and employees are instructed when and how to complete the training. This style is almost forced on employees, and the results are not always favorable.

Ironically, it’s estimated that 70% of employee training occurs through action or on-the-job activities instead of formal training courses. In other words, employees retain information better when they need it – not when it’s being forced on them.

Organizations have begun to recognize this shift away from traditional training material and creating a more on-demand, support-ticket style approach to employee education. Do you need help executing this task? Watch this short video or message a support member who will walk you through it in person or remotely.

Technology is making it easier for organizations to create video and real-time training opportunities that employees can access when they are curious or interested in that information. Employees love the autonomy that this affords them, and it prevents them from having to sit through a lecture or training seminar about something they may or may not ever need to know.

Unconventional training doesn’t just mean interactive or on-demand tutorials; it’s a cultural shift that starts from the top-down. Managers must find opportunities to teach and mentor their employees. 24% of employees would consider leaving their job if their manager was not providing adequate feedback – and, 68% of employees who receive feedback consistently feel fulfilled.

Getting managers to spearhead employee learning in the workplace will make the training more engaging and relevant to the employee. It will also foster a culture that supports the continued growth and development of its employees.

According to Forbes, companies lose an estimated $550 billion annually due to disengaged employees. Organizations can combat this by making a concerted effort to prioritize employee growth and development. Businesses that are willing to invest in their employees are likely to see an increase in employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity – creating a win-win for companies and employees.

Ultimately, companies and managers must be the driving force behind employee growth initiatives. It’s the employer’s responsibility to engage employees, to learn their interest, provide them with educational resources and tools, and incentivize them to make professional development a priority.

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