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No one can doubt the importance of enabling employees to develop themselves and learn new skills by attending relevant training sessions.
Not only does it improve productivity and encourage new ways of thinking, but it can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction as it aids career development.
However, in the day-to-day rush to get things done it’s easy to see training as a low priority.
Managers are under pressure to meet deadlines so feel they can’t afford to let staff take time out of the office for learning and development.
This is an understandable view point but one that is extremely short-sighted, as in the long term it will have a negative impact on productivity and staff retention.
So if you’re struggling to convince management of the need to allow staff time out of the office to attend training courses, here are a few arguments you can use to back up your case.
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Now, on with the blog post...
I'm not certain of the source of the following joke/quote, as it has done the rounds online for many years, but it illustrates the point well:
Learning and development can improve productivity thanks to a combination of two factors: improved skills and morale.
If staff are given the opportunity to learn new skills then it gives them a fresh perspective on their role and new ideas about how to approach their tasks and responsibilities.
On-the-job learning and experience is important, but it only goes so far.
Similarly, a big part of attending training sessions is the opportunity to take a break from the office and the grind of the daily routine.
This can help to reinvigorate your employees and improve their motivation, as the merry-go-round of meetings and deadlines will inevitably take its toll after a while.
In the never-ending competition to improve one’s career, a job change can often appear to be the most effective course of action.
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that aside from gripes about pay, dissatisfaction with employee-development efforts was a leading cause for many job exits.
Researchers conducted face-to-face interviews and analysed two large international databases created from online surveys of more than 1,200 employees.
It found that young, highly qualified employees often weren’t offered much formal training due to cost and time restraints.
To quote it directly:
Employers are understandably reluctant to make big investments in workers who might not stay long. But this creates a vicious circle: Companies won’t train workers because they might leave, and workers leave because they don’t get training.
By offering promising young managers a more balanced menu of development opportunities, employers might boost their inclination to stick around.
Therefore a decent training plan is vital if employees are to learn new skills and further their career within their current role.
A knock-on effect is that people feel that their manager has a genuine interest in their development, which helps to build loyalty and improves morale.
In order to maximise the potential benefits I feel that it’s important to give employees a say in the type of training they receive.
Your employees have different levels of knowledge and different responsibilities, so universal training is potentially a bad idea.
In the day-to-day routine of working life it’s difficult to take time out to analyse what you’re doing and try to find innovative ways of working.
External training sessions aid the innovation process as, aside from learning new skills, staff get a chance to meet people from other companies and share ideas.
This means employees return to work with a fresh pair of eyes and inspiration for new working practices, which should be seen as an extremely valuable benefit.