The Value of Employee Training & Certification and The Role Technology Plays CEO Insights 10-13-2022 By Jim Steinlage President & Chief Executive Officer Organizations spend significant time and money recruiting, hiring, and training staff. Unfortunately, far too many do not put as much effort into their employees’ professional development after onboarding is complete. This could be short-sighted and a potentially costly mistake. Voluntary employee turnover costs organizations massive amounts of dollars annually, but showing an interest in your employees’ continued development by offering training can help reduce turnover while also increasing productivity and efficiencies for your company. Investing in continual employee training and development makes sense and can also be a great recruitment tool. Why Organizations Don’t Invest in Employee Training & Certification Some organizations view training as an expense and not as investment in employee development. Our corporate WIG’s (Wildly Important Goals) include goals on training and certification for all team members as our success is not defined just by financial numbers but also by our team members’ growth. This comes with a challenge we routinely face – the fear that newly trained and certified staff will leave for higher paying jobs as their skills and certifications are upgraded. Which is worse – having untrained people who do poor quality work stay or having skilled team members who do excellent work but may leave or may continue to contribute to your company’s success? Lack of training can cause high attrition and low productivity. Employee development is a retention tool that instills loyalty and commitment from dedicated workers who are more likely to stay with an employer for longer. Yes, training programs require investment, but the reward is more confident employees who feel empowered and whose own growth is directly tied to your organization’s growth. There is so much untapped greatness instilled divinely in every team member and the more organizations help tap into their potential the more both parties win. 6 Benefits of Employee Development Technological advances and shifting workplace environments are two critical reasons organizations must invest in employee training and certification. There are other considerations, including helping employees improve their hard and soft skillsets which many may be lacking. When you initiate employee training programs, the results are noticeable. Improved knowledge and skills. Many employers are facing a growing skills gap. Training programs improve employee performance and equip team members with the tools they need to help your organization meet long-term organizational goals. Classes and courses can include everything from human relations to safety, security, ethics, conflict resolution, goal setting, and new software adoption. By increasing knowledge and skills, companies are better able to prepare employees for future roles within the organization and help create a culture of lifelong learning in the process. Enhanced employee engagement. The last thing your organization needs is bored employees who eventually feel dissatisfied with their job and develop negative work habits. Continual training and development help create a culture where people feel valued and proud of the work, they do to promote your company goals. Future leader support. Many organizations acquire leaders through new hires but equipping current employees with leadership skills can be far more profitable and noticeable to other team members. Professional development programs prepare talent to be ready to step in and support your growth goals when needed. Promoting someone already familiar with your organization’s vision, mission and culture is a win-win for everyone. Employees feel valued. Every worker wants to feel like their employer is invested in them personally and professionally and really care about their future. Teaching employees’ new skills helps them become more engaged and feel more productive, which, in turn, improves their overall morale. Feedback on performance management system efficiency. You want to make sure team members understand your training, certification, and performance expectations as to what’s anticipated of them. We do this through our annual WIG’s, and through team members’ bonus and salary incentives in their annual compensation letters and with regular meetings with their coaches. Improved IT and computer skills. A significant portion of employee growth opportunities lies in learning advanced computer skills, including the use of software systems. Companies that train employees in office technical productivity skills and understanding technology improve workplace efficiency and show employees they care about their professional growth. It can also help you attract and retain top talent to take your business to the next level. Continuous Training Options when it comes to employee training and development. Instructor-led training takes place either in-person or virtually for sharing knowledge and teaching skills with individual or groups of employees. Sessions could come as presentations, lectures, demonstrations, labs, and discussions. On-the-job training has people learning skills in their actual work environment. We have team members shadow others with more skills. It is a great way to learn and build camaraderie. Coaching and mentoring are collaborative approaches that help enhance an individual’s or team’s performance. Our coaches provide team members with the guidance they need to reach their goals and progress professionally. Manufacturer’s training. Most product manufacturers usually have online training and certifications available. Online Training, Podcasts, & Books We make available unlimited access to LinkedIn,Learning and Skillsets. There are many other online training platforms available as well depending on you company’s industry and goals. There are also some tremendous podcasts and books, so we encourage team members to engaged use all available platforms for their continuous training. Certifications Professional certifications help people advance faster in their careers, especially in highly specialized industries such as technology. While certifications don’t replace experience, they do provide assurance of professional competence along with a professional degree or work experience. Like other employee development initiatives, offering certification opportunities helps you retain talent and drive profits through efficiencies. Multiple studies have found that people don’t remain in their jobs for money; they stay because their needs are being met, they feel recognized, and they enjoy being part of a supportive team where they can grow professionally. Long-term benefits of professional certifications include: Motivated employees Increased retention Competitive skilled advantage Encouraged collaboration and team support Way to attract top talent Manufacturer recognition In today’s tight labor market, employers are hard-pressed to find and keep top talent. By offering certification opportunities, you send a message to current and future employees that you value the people who work for you and view them as skilled professionals with long-term career goals. As forementioned, there is also a risk with providing certification opportunities in that recruiters are constantly surfing for people with certifications. Every time someone updates their LinkedIn account with a new certification it flags that is has changed. Certification mixed with some experience is a good barometer of a person’s overall skills. How Technology Supports Employee Development Like the rest of the workplace, employee training over the past several years has evolved. New employees are onboarded without stepping into an office, and on-the-job training frequently takes place out of the workplace as well. These remote realities can be opportunities to improve upon old models and ways of doing. Organizations need to explore how they could provide better training and certification programs in a hybrid workplace. Getting productive faster makes a great impression on new members. Personalizing Employee Training Traditional employee training is a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t consider individual, or organization needs. Customized training allows employees to learn new skills based on their unique requirements and the needs of the organization. Digital tools, including training software, offer incredible opportunities for employees to improve their current responsibilities and reach for future goals and meet organizations’ needs in relevant ways. Personalizing your organization’s training program starts with understanding what employees need. What roadblocks do they face? What problems are unique to new hires? Sitting down regularly with their coaches is a great way for team members to give feedback and discuss both organization needs and team members future goals and desires. Ask questions like: What skills do you want to develop in your current role? Which skills do you think you need to grow into your next role? What type of training do you prefer, i.e., remote, in-person, or hybrid? Here are some skills we need; we think you might fit; are you interested? Looking Ahead: The Future of Employee Training Upgrading employee skills makes good organizational sense. And while it might take some time to see a return on your investment, the gains will be well worth the wait. Providing employee training and certification opportunities ensures you keep qualified and productive workers who help your organization succeed. Fortunately, new technologies are continually being introduced that help make the employee development process smoother and more enjoyable. The future digital tools will provide automated training tailored to an individual user. Determining an employee’s role in the organization, creating personalized development goals, and adapting current training needs to an employee should be next steps in training development process. You also might suggest courses or certifications an employee might need or want to complete next. Looking ahead, it’s likely employees will experience far less face-to-face training than they once did. Instead, technology will deliver more personalized training methods that adapt to an employee’s needs on the fly. Organizations will integrate training programs into an employee’s workflow and help them to learn as they work instead of having them stop working to train. Ultimately, onboarding, training, and certification will be smoother processes that don’t require hands-on training. Technology will allow your company to adapt to remote and hybrid training work environments, making employee education better than it’s ever been.