The question is not if you can you afford to invest into employees development? The real question is, can you afford not to? Some of the tangible benefits of employees development training include:
better profit margins
Increased customer satisfaction
Increased Employee retention
More freedom for the employer
Training may look like an extra cost and compared to its benefits the cost is negligible. Cost to develop an existing employee is much smaller than the cost of recruiting, and training a new employee which can cost you between 70 to 200% of his/her annual salary.
I have listed 5 tips on how to cultivate the culture of employee development in your organization.
1. Believe in it
First and the foremost, you as a head of the organization must believe in it. You must know the importance of continuous development of your employees and have faith and passion to develop your employee because it is going to pay back to the organization. Once you have that zeal of employee development, follow the tips below to make it happen.
2. Transfer this belief to your managers
Managers used to be more involved with employees. They used to be great mentors, with a passion to pass on the knowledge and skills they have learned. In our modern digital age managers are overwhelmed with responsibilities. They are juggling so many balls at a time that training and developing employees is not even on their agenda as a last concern. They are least bothered because top management has made training HR department’s responsibility. Well HR should facilitate it but manager has be on the steering wheel. You need to motivate your managers to do that, by some sort of incentives. I remember in my last organization, upon a consultant’s recommendation top management started the training program and made HR the head of it while 90% of managers thought it was just waste of time. After six months the program failed and they went back to their old routine.
3. Make it a continuous process
If you are just going to tease your employees with once in a lifetime training, you should rather not do it at all. In today’s fast changing world training becomes obsolete in a month. You need to make it a continuous process. Spend some time to evaluate the right training for your employees. Too much in short time might be as ineffective as too little in long time. Make a process of evaluation to see what is working and what is not, to make employees more efficient and productive in what they do.
4. Make Employees the part of the process
Taking employees in confidence is as important as engaging their managers. They should understand whats happening and how it is going to help themselves as much as the organization. There is no point to implement a development program if your employees are not interested in it. Managers should have one to one meeting with employees to discuss how do they see their future in this organization. What kind of training do they need to get to the next level. Help them own their career development program. Managers and leader need to decrease the trust deficit between employees and the management. People appreciate transparency and honest from their managers. Share with them how are you part of this career development program and how important is it for them to be part of it. Lead your herd with example, not commands.
5. Make it easy and accessible. Give your employees some flexibility to learn and develop themselves. You cannot expect them to spend 100% of their private time especially if they are already overwhelmed with workload. Tailor the development program according to their individual needs. Don’t make one hat fit all, it doesn’t. explore all means of training delivery like, webinars, online, offline, learning games, etc. Explore all options, like job rotation, cross functional training, lateral roles.
As leaders it is our job to make the employee development program most effective for our organizations, and without making it effective for employees it would not be effective for the organization.