Employee education is crucial to the success of every business – it increases the value of your workers while developing their self-esteem so that they can contribute in a more meaningful way. A professional development program that is well-designed will help contribute to employee loyalty, engagement, and motivation.
However, in many businesses, employee education is often forgotten about, as managers and business owners worry about spending money and time on educating people who work for them. In fact, evidence suggests that only 24% of millennials are happy with the professional development opportunities in their working life.
Keep reading below to find out why it’s so important to educate your employees and how you should go about it:
Times are Changing
In the past, businesses hired employees who could show that they were good at:
This is no longer enough in the business world. For employees to be productive, efficient, and adaptable, they require a number of other skills including:
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and innovation
Your employees are a huge asset to your company as they are responsible for the work needed to meet your business objectives. Effective education and training that is designed specifically for your business can give your employees the skills that are needed while giving you a host of business benefits in the process.
Why is Employee Education So Important?
There are five important reasons why you should educate your employees. These are:
1. Support succession planning
Providing your employees with the right training and development can help support succession planning by increasing the number of capable and experienced employees who are able to take on senior roles in the company as they become available. Increasing the talent pool will reduce the risk of employees seen as irreplaceable leaving your company.
Areas of training you should focus on include strategic decision making, leadership, effective people management, and role-specific skills.
2. Keep skills up to date
The world is changing all the time, so it’s important employees stay up to date. Companies that accept the changing world and take the necessary steps to train their employees are often more successful.
One of the most important reasons to educate or train your employees is to ensure that their skills are up to date. Keeping your employees knowledgeable in the most up to date thinking on logistical methods, software applications, and ways they can enhance efficiency are all important to keep your business competitive. Companies who don’t train their employees often end up being unsuccessful.
3. Self-Development and Self-Esteem
No one wants to feel like they’re stuck in a dead-end job – everyone strives for career advancement and professional development. An employee who feels like they are contributing to a business will feel valued and have a sense of self-worth.
Educating your employees will help encourage these feelings because your employees will simply become more confident, as they will feel like they are able to contribute more. Often, employees will be able to use what they’ve learned in their personal lives (a new language, increased digital literacy, etc.), which will lead to improved work morals and personal satisfaction.
Education gives employees the chance to learn a wider skill-set. Once they have gained more skills, they will be better equipped to deal with potential problems and be more productive.
Workers who extend their skills will also be able to expand their roles by including more areas; this can only lead to increased productivity. On the other hand, employees who feel demotivated or unfit will become apathetic or will procrastinate, which will lead to reduced productivity. Investing in education and training will help lower the need for supervision.
Effective training can be used to multi-skill or up-skill your workforce. Up-Skilling means extending your workforce’s knowledge of a skill they already know – they will gain more experience within that subject area. Multi-Skilling means training your workforce in a related work area or a new work area so that they can work in other areas throughout the organisation.
Employees who are able to undertake a variety of tasks can perform a variety of different roles throughout the company and will be able to fit into other roles more easily.
There is a false idea that once you’ve trained or educated an employee, they will look for a better job opportunity somewhere else. The truth is that in most cases, employees who have undergone training feel more empowered and appreciated, which in turn increases their loyalty to the company. Employees who are given a chance of progressing in the business are less likely to look for work elsewhere. It’s important to remember that in most cases it costs more money to hire a new employee than it does to train and keep an existing employee.
When you think about your employees as long-term parts of the company, you will get a number of benefits. For example, an educated, well-trained employee has the ability to train other employees.
6. Exceed industry standards
Employees who have had the correct type of training will be able to help you improve your reputation and will help to give your competitors a run for their money. Many businesses work in extremely competitive markets, so it’s often the small touches that will make your company stand out from the competition. Y
our employees are a huge asset to your company. An employee who knows what they are doing and completes their work to a high standard will help to make your company shine above the rest.
Where To Begin
Now that you know some of the benefits of training and education, we need to start thinking about some of the things you can do:
1. Make clear your expectations
To start off you need to outline the relevant skills you expect for every role in the company and the current skill set your employees have. This will help you to notice if there are any gaps that can be filled with training programs. You need to make sure that the training you provide is aligned with the company priorities, as well as the employees’ priorities.
Before enrolling an employee in a training program, you need to create an atmosphere of trust by explaining to your employees what they are going to learn and why you are spending money training them. You should make it clear that the training is to improve their skill development and talent and not just to give them extra work to do – in other words you don’t want your employees to feel like the training is a burden, instead, you want them to think of it as an opportunity.
It’s also a good idea to talk to your employees about what their goals are. For example, an employee may want to learn a foreign language, which could be useful to your company.
2. Look at the different training methods
People learn in different ways, so it’s important to consider a number of different training methods that will suit your employees. One employee may be wanting to undertake an online MBA from Aston University Online while another may learn better from a tutor who teaches face-to-face.
Luckily, there are a number of different training opportunities for business and many of them are inexpensive. Peer to peer training like buddy programs or mentorship is also a brilliant idea.
3. Get some feedback
Once an employee has completed their training, it’s a good idea to talk to them about how they feel the training went and to find out whether it will have a positive impact on your business. You should ask your employees about what they gained from the training and whether they would recommend it to other employees.
Getting feedback will help you alter the program to suit your company. You should also recognise the efforts of your employees who have completed the training, e.g. you could offer them an incentive such as a bonus, gift or certification.
Recognising their achievements will help them feel appreciated and will encourage them to continue learning in the future.
When we announce our expectations, incorporate appropriate training methods and gain feedback, the training programs we implement will be much more meaningful and effective in the future. Remember, ambitious and capable employees are often looking to improve their skills and increase their expertise, so it’s a brilliant idea to give them this opportunity.
When money is tight in business, employee training is often the first thing to stop. However, this isn’t always the best move, particularly if you’re working in a competitive industry. Training and development can have a huge impact on the success of your business in the future.
In the past, employees were chosen by the 3 R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic, but things have changed. In today’s successful business environment, this is no longer enough. Training your employees is extremely important in order to keep them productive, so that they feel like they can make a valuable contribution to the company.