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Getting the most out of employee training programs

Training programs lead to a more engaged workforce with lower turnover and higher productivity.

Training programs can provide a lot of benefits for organizations. In addition to creating more competent workforces, these initiatives can also improve employee engagement and retention of staff. However, many companies struggle to get workers to participate in these programs, as employees often feel classes are a waste of time.

When used properly, staff development can improve the performance of the workforce. A study by the American Management Association found that companies which increase the number of training courses they offer see higher levels of productivity, profits and product quality. Reward and recognition programs could help organizations get employees to participate in these programs. Recognizing the importance of continuous learning can lead to a culture where workers are expected to pursue new development opportunities.

Zappos, known for its high level of employee engagement, recognizes the importance of providing learning opportunities for workers, according to U.S News and World Report. One of the firm's core values is "pursue growth and learning." Part of this involves maintaining employee incentive programs that reward workers for taking professional development classes, enabling them to become better employees and take more control over their career development. This process creates a company culture that creates more engaged workers, improves productivity, reduces turnovers and allows the organization to pursue its other core values.

In most cases, instilling the value for continuous education starts with the recruitment process. PayScale reports that career development plans can make recruiting top talent easier, as well as help retain those hires. Employees like to know they will have the ability to move along the career paths of their choice. By working developmental goals into employee rewards programs, companies can show the value that they place on training and staff development.

Attending seminars, workshop and classes is not enough – workers need to show steady improvement. Holding employees accountable for the skills they learned in these programs will encourage them to use new techniques or procedures, but many companies fail to follow through with these development goals. One potential opportunity is having workers train others. This allows them to share their knowledge and creates a more competent staff. However, these trainers need to be supported in their efforts. Reliable Plant notes that not everyone is a natural teacher, and just because a person is good at a specific job, that does not mean he or she can necessarily train others how to do it effectively.

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