Investing in human resources
CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”
CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?” (peterbeeklund.com)
When it comes to the training and development of employees, too many organizations are reluctant to make the investment for fear that employees will gain the experience and expertise and other organizations will benefit from their investment. Some organizations are also deterred by various factors like giving time off from work to facilitate training as well as being able to measure returns on their investments when employees return to the workplace. Ultimately, employees are the key that drives the success or failure of an organization, and with lack of training, they can become your biggest failure. It is critical, therefore, that today’s organizations look beyond the dollars and cents and focus on the immediate positive effects that training and development of employees has on the organization.
As employers, the first step in resolving the uncertainty as to whether or not to invest in training is to answer the following questions:
1. Is it fair to expect an untrained employee to have the adequate skills and knowledge to develop exceptional customer service or perform their duties?
2. Is it fair to promote an employee to the position of manager or supervisor just because they are knowledgeable about their jobs, regardless of their inability to manage people, delegate work, resolve conflicts between employees, motivate staff, make decisions and adapt to changes within the organization?
3. How can my organization remain on the cutting edge if my employees are not given the opportunity to grow and develop?
4. Why are my employees not motivated to perform beyond their required job duties and responsibilities?
Let’s examine some of the positive benefits that investing in employee training and development can bring to the organization.
Helps with retention
Studies have shown that employees leave organizations when there are insufficient opportunities for growth and development. An anonymous quote reads, “We can’t stop employees from leaving unless we have a plan for them to stay.” If employees feel that they have an opportunity to develop new skills and grow, they are more inclined to remain with the organization. On the opposing side of this, employees also tend to become complacent when they feel that they do not have the necessary skills to explore new opportunities. This can prove detrimental for an organization, as this means that you have a workforce of unskilled workers.
No organization wants to have an overwhelming high turnover of employees. It speaks volume when an organization can retain its employees over years. How many organizations have you visited and observed with low employee turnover rates? One of the possible reasons for this is that the organization is a great place to work. Additionally, the cost of replacing employees far outweighs the cost of investing in the training and development of current employees.
Develops loyal employees
Employees who are given the opportunity to continuously develop their skills rarely leave an organization. These employees feel that the organization cares and values them enough to invest in them. This type of value that employers show in their employees is manifested through increased productivity and increased customer satisfaction. Employers need to be cognizant that there is a shift in the demographics of the workforce, and this new generation of employees is no longer prepared to stay on jobs that do not provide an opportunity for growth. The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey “Winning Over The Next Generation of Leaders” found that 70 percent of millennials will leave their organizations over lack of leadership and development opportunities.
There is always a demand for an increased level of productivity in the workplace. Is it reasonable to expect high levels of productivity and performance when employees are not equipped with the skills necessary to perform their duties or their current skill level has become obsolete according to industry standards? Remaining up-to-date and current with industry trends is not an option but a necessity for today’s businesses. When employees are trained they are able to prepare and adapt quickly to the changes in the industry. This keeps your organization on the cutting edge and one step ahead of your competitors. Employees who remain with an organization despite the lack of opportunity for training and development tend to become unproductive and stressed.
Attracts quality employees
Today’s workforce is becoming more interested in professional development; as people invest more in themselves, they are looking for more from employers. According to the Bahamas Department of Statistics May 2017 Labour Force Survey, our current employed labor force is 203,730. Of the employed persons in The Bahamas, 29 percent are degreed persons or professionals.
Organizations that have a reputation for training employees tend to attract highly qualified applicants who are interested in continuous growth. These are the organizations that remain on the cutting edge.
Creates promotable employees
Hiring employees can be a very costly process for organizations, especially when looking for individuals to outfit top positions. When organizations invest in their current employees, they are creating a skills bank within the organization and can develop a succession plan. These individuals are already accustomed to the culture of the organization and will spend less time integrating themselves into the organization at a higher level position. This is highly recommended, as it increases productivity and gives other employees a sense of assurance that there are opportunities for growth.
Increases employee satisfaction
Job satisfaction is defined as a feeling of fulfillment and enjoyment an individual receives from his or her job. Studies have linked continued training to job satisfaction. When employees feel that they are equipped with the necessary tools to perform their jobs, they feel more confident in the execution of their duties. The ultimate goal for organization is to have satisfied employees. After all, these are the individuals who will affect your bottom line and cause your organization to thrive. When we examine all the other benefits of investing in people, it is fair to conclude that if you have satisfied employees, the other benefits will eventually fall in place.
There are several opportunities available locally, internationally and online that employers can explore to ensure that they have the most effectively trained employees.
1. Employers can invest in yearly online subscriptions of periodicals and magazines for employees. This would provide them with an opportunity to keep abreast of trends in their respective industries while taking little time from their daily work routines.
2. Employers can invest in online courses or webinars.
3. Employers are also encouraged to allow employees take advantage of local and international workshops and conferences that address the concerns of their industry.
4. Make training a part of your yearly budget, allow for one offsite local or international training for their employees. Taking time away from the workplace to learn and develop gives employees an opportunity to network with their counterparts within their industry and gives them a new perspective on what they can do to improve their organization.
How much do you value your business? The value of your business depends heavily on your investment in your employees. Make that investment today!
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• Sherese Cunningham is the registrar at Queen’s College Centre for Further Education. She can be reached at [email protected].