Training: Your Investment in People Development and Retention

By , Guide

Man leading a training session with the view from the back of the room.
Training Is Making an Investment in Your Employees

The right employee training, development and education, at the right time, provides big payoffs for the employer in increased productivity, knowledge, loyalty, and contribution. Learn the approaches that will guarantee your training brings a return on your investment.

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) says:

“Although organizations grappled with some of the worst economic conditions in several decades, business leaders continued to dedicate substantial resources to employee learning in 2009. ASTD estimates that U.S. organizations spent $125.88 billion on employee learning and development in 2009. Nearly two-thirds of the total ($78.61 billion) was spent on the internal learning function, and the remainder ($47.27 billion) was allocated to external services. Direct learning expenditures, such as the learning function’s staff salaries, administrative costs, and non-salary delivery costs are included in this figure. A drop of 6.1 percent in overall spending from 2008 to 2009 is due to cuts in these expenditures by some organizations.”

The ASTD study found that:

“the average annual expenditure per employee in ASTD’s sample of large organizations (BMF) there was a slight increase in spending on workplace learning and development in 2009. The average annual learning expenditure per employee for all companies surveyed grew from $1,068 in 2008 to $1,081 in 2009—an increase of 1.2 percent. Although overall spending on employee learning and development decreased slightly in 2009, on average, learning functions were serving a smaller workforce; therefore the annual learning expenditure per employee increased slightly.”

“As in past years, Forum organizations and BEST Award winners spent more on learning and development per employee than the consolidated sample. However, they spent less overall per employee in 2009 than in 2008.”

With this investment of hours and dollars in training, organizations need to make certain their investments in training are wise.

Important Aspects of Training

How training needs are determined, how training is viewed by employees, and how training is delivered become critically important issues. Training trends and methods for gaining knowledge, other than traditional classroom training, such as coaching and mentoring, take center stage.New employee orientation, or new employee onboarding, is a significant factor in helping new employees hit the ground running. Training that helps each employee grow their skills and knowledge to better perform their current job is appreciated as a benefit. Training also increases employee loyalty, and thus retention, and helps you attract the best possible employees.

Transfer of training from the training provider, whether online or in a classroom, to the job, is also increasingly reviewed as you invest more resources in training.

Learn the approaches that will guarantee a return on your investment and ensure employee loyalty. Organizations are increasingly asking for monetary justification that the training provided produces results – be prepared to demonstrate your results.

Options for Training and Education for Employees

Options for employee training and development are magnifying due to these factors:

  • technological innovations,
  • employee retention strategies, and
  • the need for organizations to constantly develop their employees’ ability to keep up with the pace of change.

So, sending an employee off for training at a one-day seminar or a week-long workshop is only one of many options that exist now.The American Society for Training and Development has traditionally recommended a minimum of 40 hours of training a year for every employee. This is consistent with the emphasis employees place on the opportunity to grow and develop both their skills and career while in your employ. The chance for ongoing development, is one of the top five factors employees want to experience at work. In fact, the inability of an employee to see progress is an often cited reason for leaving an employer.

As a retention strategy for your preferred employees, training and development rates highly. Only their perception of their salary and benefits as competitive, and reporting to a manager they like, rate higher.

Options for Employee Training and Development

When you think about education, training, and development, options exist externally, internally, and online. Choices range from seminars to book clubs to mentoring programs. Here are the existing alternatives to help your employees continue to grow. For recruiting, retention, and managing change and continuous improvement, adopt all of these practices within your organization.

External Education, Training, and Development

  • Seminars, workshops, and classes come in every variety imaginable, both in-person and online.
  • Take field trips to other companies and organizations.
  • Colleges and universities, and occasionally, local adult education, community colleges or technical schools provide classes. Universities are reaching out to adult learners with evening and weekend MBA and business programs.
  • Professional association seminars, meetings, and conferences offer training opportunities.

Internal Education, Training, and Development

What Your Organization Can Do to Facilitate Continuous Learning and Regular Training

  • Create a learning environment. Communicate the expectation for learning.
  • Offer work time support for learning. Make online learning and reading part of every employee’s day.
  • Provide a professional library.
  • Offer college tuition reimbursement.
  • Enable flexible schedules so employees can attend classes.
  • Pay for professional association memberships and conference attendance annually for employees.

Training is crucial to the ongoing development of the people you employ and their retention and success. Be creative to provide diverse opportunities for training.