In the 2020 Deloitte Millennial and Gen Z survey, over two-thirds of those questioned said their employers support their development through training and mentorship.
It’s no surprise that the number is so high. Businesses that spend on workplace training have lower turnover, happier employees, and are more profitable than those that don’t prioritise learning.
But what if your company is part of the one-third that isn’t currently supporting employee development or investing in training? Well, to be quite honest, you'll want to change that.
In this article, we’ll highlight six reasons to invest in workplace training. First, we’ll explain what the term means.
What is workplace training?
Workplace training is the learning that employees participate in to improve performance. It refers to a wide variety of activities, from practical on-the-job instruction to online or classroom-based training courses.
The exact methods you use at your business will vary depending on the needs of your workforce.
Here are some examples of different types of training:
Orientation and onboarding
These are training sessions that provide new hires with the skills they need to succeed at your company. It typically takes place before they start work and during the initial weeks or months of employment.
The training may consist of introducing employees to the company and its culture, providing information about company policies (e.g. absence, holiday, expenses), ensuring they are aware of health and safety requirements, and taking part in practical training related to their role.
On-the-job training and development
This includes coaching and shadowing, and generally employees learning how to perform tasks while working. It’s a great way to quickly help employees learn the skills they need to work effectively. Classroom or online training can supplement this type of learning.
Classroom training courses
This can be anything from long-term training courses to one-off seminars. It’s an excellent way to provide the same knowledge to a large number of employees. The downside is that it can be expensive to run. An alternative is paying employees to attend classes provided by other operators.
This type of training encompasses anything from micro-courses that quickly teach specific skills to long-term higher education courses. It provides employees with the flexibility to learn where they want at a time that suits them. It’s also often significantly cheaper than classroom training.
A good training program will use several of these approaches. For example, you may teach the skills people need to perform a task through on-the-job training, while also providing upskilling opportunities via class-based or online learning.
Now we’ll explore six benefits of effective workplace training.
Six benefits of workplace training
Current employees perform better
Workplace training and development helps your employees gain new skills or perform existing tasks at a higher level—making them more valuable to your business.
Several reports show a direct correlation between high-performing companies and those that spend big on employee training.
A study of training practices in the U.S. found that companies which invested the most money in training experienced 24% higher gross profit margins and 218% higher income per staff member than lower-spending businesses.
Meanwhile, the IBM Smarter Workforce study found that 84% of employees in the best-performing organisations said they receive the training they need to work effectively, compared to just 16% of the worst-performing organisations.
These statistics show that failing to invest in learning and development can be costly.
Get new employees up to speed faster
Onboarding is critical to getting new hires up to speed quickly. This directly impacts your business, as effective onboarding processes have been found to improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by 72%.
But the latest State of the American Workplace report by Gallup found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their company did a great job during this process. This means many companies are failing to get the most from their employees.
A good onboarding process will show staff how to perform tasks and provide the skills and knowledge they need for their job. Consider everything an employee needs to be successful in their role and build your onboarding programme around this.
Reduce employee turnover
Staff turnover is costly and disrupts efforts to create a strong, consistent team. Salary and work-life balance play a significant role in retention; however, L&D at work is also important.
A study by Josh Bersin found that the number one reason employees would consider leaving a role was that they had an “inability to learn and grow” in their current position. This was more important than factors such as being overworked, lack of promotional prospects, and receiving an inadequate raise.
Deloitte’s Millennial Survey showed similar results. While it wasn’t the number one factor, 28% of millennials and 27% of Gen Z respondents said they were planning to leave a job in the next two years due to a lack of learning and development opportunities.
These studies show that employees put tremendous value on their ability to develop in their role. If you want to build a steady workforce at your organisation, you need to provide the growth opportunities they need.
Attract top talent
Launching a workplace training program attracts top talent by showing that you are willing to invest in your employees’ professional development. Offering different types of training will go even further by attracting a broader range of talent with different interests.
To plan your program, gather ideas by looking at postings for similar job roles to see what training and development your competitors are offering or companies you admire for their L&D efforts. Be sure to promote the learning opportunities you provide in your adverts.
Improve employee engagement
Research firm Gallup has tracked employee engagement at work since 2000. Its most recent study saw the highest engagement levels ever, but only 34% of staff reported being highly engaged.
Those who aren’t fully engaged will not do their best work. This can affect your bottom line: Gallup also found that companies in the top quartile of engagement had 21% higher profitability.
What does this have to do with workplace learning?
The research company found that businesses that invested in their employee learning programmes saw a 14% increase in the proportion of the workforce that was engaged compared to those who didn’t invest in learning.
Upskilling employees can be cheaper than hiring new ones
According to Glassdoor, the average cost of recruiting a new employee in the UK is £3,000. This is a significant amount that quickly adds up if your business has a high turnover.
The right training courses can be a great deal cheaper than this, especially when you consider that online providers like Codeacademy and Brilliant (both Learnerbly partners) offer high-quality, specialised education for just hundreds of pounds per year.
Next time you want to hire someone with specific expertise, consider whether anyone in your existing workforce could develop the skills required with training.
Get a practical workplace training strategy
The benefits listed above can be realised if you implement a practical workplace training strategy.
When deciding which type of training to offer employees, you need to consider your goals and your employees’ needs.
A good onboarding programme typically consists of on-the-job learning and practical walkthroughs that provide information about how employees complete their day-to-day tasks. This will improve an employee’s ability to do their job.
Meanwhile, investment in online training courses or mentorship programmes shows employees that you value their general development.