Successful organisations have certain characteristics ingrained in their corporate culture, such as effective goal setting, teamwork and strong leadership. They also have in common an understanding of employee morale and place high emphasis on providing training and learning opportunities, recognising that continuously developing their employee base will allow them to adapt to the rapidly changing demands of today’s environment.
The Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey reported that ‘great workplaces have well-defined and comprehensive development programs for leaders and managers, and they emphasize the development of individuals and teams.’ They further found that they ‘treat employees as stakeholders of their future. They put their attention on concrete performance management activities, such as clarifying work expectations, providing development opportunities and promoting positive co-worker relationships. As a result, their employees create more and better work, stay with their organization longer and win the best customers for the future.’
Why is this important, you might ask? Because engaged employees are willing to go the extra mile. Training and development significantly enhances employee engagement and improves performance resulting in numerous benefits to an organisation, including:
- Increased efficiencies in processes, resulting in financial gain
- Less wastage and economical use of equipment and materials
- Minimised rate of damage to machinery and equipment, which allows for further cost savings
- Fewer significant incidents and a strengthened safety culture
- Well trained employees who have better skills, are more productive and produce a higher quality of work output
- Increased innovation
- Continuous development and growth due to well-structured training programmes, which also positively impacts employee morale and motivation
- Reduction in employee turnover
- Well trained employees who require less supervision to perform their daily tasks
Measuring the value of training
While most organisations recognise these benefits, when looking to reduce expenditure, training is often moved to the chopping block. It is therefore important to be able to measure the value of training and one can do so when linking training and development to specific objectives.
In order to ensure that training and employee development bring about organisational benefits such as increased profits, cost savings, improved safety and employee engagement, organisations can work to make learning and development a priority by including it in their mission statement, so that a clear training strategy is developed in alignment with company strategy. A clear training strategy, linked to set objectives and reinforced by measurable, individual performance goals, allows organisations to collect data on learning and link related performance improvements.
Training that is relevant and has a clear set of objectives can be measured. In other words, understand what participants will be able to do because they have been trained and in what way this should be observable and immediately applied into the work place. For this to work effectively, managers should have one-on-one developmental conversations with their team members about their training requirements and set specific learning objectives and performance targets.
It is important that employees view training as a reward, seeing themselves as valuable because their company is prepared to invest in them. They, in turn, will be willing to go the extra mile.