In most cases, this happens because training is still seen as a cost, rather than an investment. However, this is the wrong way of looking at it. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why training your staff can improve your business returns and why exactly training pays for itself, many times over.
1. It motivates employeesIt seems intuitive that a motivated workforce is a productive workforce, and research bears out this hypothesis.
Whenever a company employs an individual, not only does this individual enter an employment contract, but also a psychological one. The company expects certain things of its employees. Similarly, employees expect certain things of the company as well, and one of these things is adequate training.
Employees expect to be trained to a level where they can competently and comfortably fulfil their tasks, and rightfully so. If training is not adequate, then employees will struggle in their roles and may very well choose to leave the company.
Think about it – no one likes to feel inadequate. But inadequate training produces employees who are less motivated and feel as if they’re not being supported, which in turn leads to a much higher employee turnover. And a high turnover rate can most definitely have an adverse effect on profits.
2. It improves job performanceTraining also provides an opportunity for a company to fill the gaps – in knowledge, skills, and attitudes – that would otherwise diminish its bottom line. Imagine a sales person who is unable to overcome objections – by addressing this weakness, he'd become more of a profit centre and directly increase the bottom-line.
And this doesn’t just apply to sales. Whether in the area of administration, management, customer service, or production, any training that increases performance, should logically increase the ROI of employees.
3. It builds corporate reputationInvestors in People is a well-known mark of quality. Investing in your people through training absolutely improves the way a business is seen by everyone, both in and outside of your company. Most business professionals would agree that in order to be an effective authority in an industry, you need to have a good reputation.
It’s a funny thing – your industry will know how well you train your staff, and that information will go a long way toward creating your organisational reputation. It doesn’t matter whether your business is B2B or B2C, your reputation is vital to your growth and your bottom line.
4. It creates a flexible workforceThere is no denying it – the way we do business has changed drastically over the last decade or so. More likely than not, employees are now expected to have more skills and be able to perform multiple tasks. In today’s world, it is virtually unheard of for an employee to wear only one hat throughout his career.
This new reality makes it crucial to train your staff in multiple areas, in order to build a flexible workforce that is capable of dealing with the challenges of today’s environment, and also to adapt as the market changes.
By regularly training staff on skills that build flexibility, such as leadership, soft skills, and industry context, you’re building an “anti-fragile” workforce. That naturally leads to more productivity, which in contributes to long-term profits.
5. It improves employee retentionImproving retention in your organisation is crucial to your bottom line. Satisfied, long-term employees tend to be far more productive than a high-turnover workforce.
Not to mention the fact that recruitment is an expensive business. By offering effective training that empowers people within your organisation, you are ensuring that you retain a higher percentage of staff and that they are likely to seek internal promotions.
By promoting people within your organisation to leadership roles, you will build a strong company culture that values its employees, which in turn will create a better atmosphere and morale within the company. This atmosphere of progress, where people feel they are valued and active stakeholders, can only serve to improve your business returns.
6. It helps you make better strategic decisionsStrategic decision making is perhaps the most crucial area through which an organisation can improve its bottom line. One single decision – good or bad – can have a huge impact on productivity within a company. Critical thinking skills and the ability to negotiate good decisions, for example, are skills that need to be strong, especially at the top of an organisation. But this doesn’t just happen by accident.
Many of these high level, complex competencies require advanced trainers and advanced training techniques. This type of training is especially important in environments that are subject to frequent changes and require leaders to be on top of their game all the time.
If you can improve your strategic decision-making even marginally, the results can be striking, and directly correlate with increased profits.
7. It helps you attract the best talentThere is no doubt that attracting the best talent in an industry involves providing recruits with great opportunities. By offering excellent training schemes and opportunities for progression, you can attract the best graduates, the best managers, and the best leaders.
This in turn leads to a higher quality of workforce and a healthier bottom line down the road.
In certain industries, it is impossible to attract the quality of talent that you require to help your organisation thrive without high quality training. Talented employees will help keep your company on track for growth, productivity, and earnings.
8. It helps you deliver a great customer experienceEvery company in the 21st century must strive to deliver excellent customer service. It's at the interface with customers where the business can live or die. The bottom line is dependent on the relationships that are built with customers and nurtured over time.
Repeat and referral business is often responsible for large portions of revenue. Soft-skills training is key here – organisations that produce “happy customers” and deliver an amazing customer experience are the ones that outshine their competitors and generate repeat profits year on year.
ConclusionTraining impacts every area of business. Not only does training pay for itself many times over, but high level training will help an organisation to increase its bottom line through both direct and indirect effects.
A company that fails to invest adequately in the training of its staff has a short term approach to business, and will likely not survive when the next big shock arrives in the marketplace. And, if recent history is any indication, the next challenge in your industry is likely not far away.