Employee Training Needs to be Strategic and Here’s Why

We recently came across a startling statistic: almost half of companies in the United States spend more on coffee per day than they do on employee training. This stat should alarm companies for two reasons: one, that much caffeine can’t be good for you, and two, that’s far too low an amount to spend on training. More companies seem to disregard training as vital to the workplace every day, but companies need to learn that training is not only important, but it also needs to be strategicHere’s why.

All Part of the Plan

Companies need to think about training not as something they need to do in order to put their business plans into action, but part of the plans themselves. In the same way many companies create plans and business goals for the coming year and track their progress accordingly, they need to create these plans for their employees as well. Unfortunately, many companies are choosing to forego extensive training altogether.

Employees are a company’s most important asset, and if you’re not factoring their progress into your business, you’re going to have some upset workers. Currently, 55% of employees cite a “lack of growth opportunities” as their greatest frustration with work, so employees are more receptive to training than you might think, even after they’re already up to speed in their current role.

Training for Interest

When developing your strategic training, you need to discuss specific interests with your managers and employees. Forcing employees to undertake training in areas they may not be suited for won’t work out as well as having them train in areas they’ll find both interesting and useful. Surveys show that 25% of employees would be more satisfied at work if they were doing what they did best.

So instead of matching an employee’s training to their role, companies should match it to their interest instead. Before assigning them training, they should talk to them about what they’d like to do at the company, which aspects of the business they’d like to grow into. Companies should then develop a training program that caters to those interests. Employees will not only appreciate that the company listened to them, but they’ll be more interested in learning something they asked for, making them more productive and engaged.

Hiring With Training in Mind

Companies can also take their approach one step further and develop a training program specific to the company’s needs and less reliant on the candidate market. Recent surveys reveal 61% of companies hire untrained candidates, looking for soft skills instead of hard ones and then training them on the job. Additionally, 49% of companies plan to do the same in the future.

For companies looking to hire entry-level positions, this is a solid plan of action. Even in the most hard skill-ridden industries, a good mentor on the job can make a big difference for new employees, showing them the ins and outs of the industry. Some industries will require certifications no matter what, but since 56% of new hires want a mentor or buddy program as part of their first week, using employees they already have as a teaching tool should prove a valuable training avenue for companies. 

Companies don’t have to develop their own college courses in order to train employees, but no matter how they implement training on their workplace, it needs to be strategic. They must incorporate their hiring as part of their wider business plan, create plans that appeal to the work interests of their employees, and create hiring plans which factor in these two aspects along with their business interests. When hiring is strategic, employees and companies alike reap the benefits.

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