Virtually every organization engages in some form of employee development and training. There are so many obvious benefits to training, such as ensuring that employees have specific skills or understand basic workplace rules.
However, there are benefits to training and development programs that go much further than simply communicating basic information that employees need to do their jobs. Transform these programs from “just more meetings” to impactful and engaging employee experiences.
Here are a few of the potential benefits organizations can gain by emphasizing employee development and training in the workplace.
1) Improve Collaboration Between Workers
Train employees to listen intelligently; to not only respond, but to also understand what others are saying and consider their viewpoints. This can dramatically improve each employee’s ability to collaborate efficiently.
An example of how listening skills improve collaboration can be found in unexpected places like improvisational theatre! In a Big Think article about “the most important skill that nobody teaches,” Kelly Leonard, Executive Vice President of Insights & Applied Improvisation at The Second City, talks about the importance of listening skills. “Performers of improv must necessarily be attentive to the entirety of what their collaborators say, lest the performance become imbalanced or incoherent.”
This applies to work settings, as well. In a workplace setting, the ability of employees to listen to one another and focus not just on their own reactions and views, but also on the views of others, can have a significant positive impact on their ability to work together and achieve team goals. It also helps to prevent teams from developing a monomaniacal focus on just one person’s priorities.
2) Attract & Retain Great Employees
Internal mobility within an organization can be an important means of attracting the attention of great employees. It can also motivate great workers to stay on by providing the opportunity for growth and advancement.
Inc.com highlighted this as one of the bigger benefits of an internal training and development program. In the Inc.com article, it stated that “Employee development can be seen as a benefit” and that “Knowing that an employer is willing to provide training and development makes an employee feel more important and it makes them loyal.”
Implementing these programs into your organization can attract new talent with the benefit of growth and learning opportunities, while also making existing employees more invested.
3) Create a Pipeline of Replacement Leaders
When an employee leaves the workforce, it can be disruptive. However, when a leader leaves, the work of entire teams or business units can be negatively impacted. The longer the leadership position is left unfilled (or filled by an under-qualified employee), the worse the impact will be.
Having a program to train and develop employees helps to minimize these impacts by giving your organization a ready pool of qualified individuals to replace gaps in leadership.
Although, as the Inc.com article states, “not every long-time employee is ready for such positions, and promoting them when they aren’t leads to problems,” having a prepared funnel of replacement candidates for each leadership position in your organization can smooth out the transition immensely.
During your internal training and employee development processes, you can also gather data on each employee to help better identify the best candidates to fill each leadership position based on skills, past work, ability to motivate others, etc.—all valuable information that you would be more difficult to find on an external hire when trying to fill specific positions.
4) Make Your Organization a Better Place to Work
Training employees and guiding their development can actually help transform your organization into a better place to work—especially if some of that employee development is focused on diversity and inclusion.
As noted in another Big Think Edge article on the benefits of diversity training programs, “by breaking down the habits that lead to discriminatory or exclusive behavior, encouraging cohesion, building relationships, and giving employees a place where they can voice their opinions safely, diversity training programs can make your office a much better place to work.”
Jennifer Brown reinforces this idea in an article titled Diversity Training Makes Your Organization Stronger, saying that “Studies show that the source of our happiness comes from the quality of our relationships. Strong networks benefit us in terms of quality of life and how productive we can be. By helping your employees build strong networks you’re really helping your organization succeed.”
This helps to further improve employee retention and engagement by creating a positive, inclusive atmosphere. Over time, it can also help improve your organization’s reputation, as well—which can positively impact new employee recruitment efforts.
Long story short, the benefits of training and development in the workplace are that they help you make your employees more skilled and engaged with work, while also turning your organization into a more attractive employment option.
Of course, to make the most of these benefits, it’s important to have access to all of the training resources your employees might need in a format that’s both convenient and effective—such as short-form online videos featuring lessons from industry luminaries that your workers respect or even admire.