This connection guest blog comes to you from Rocco Lungariello. Rocco is a Marketing and Social Media Content Creator at New Horizons , the largest group of New Horizons training centers in America. He has been generating content related to the IT industry for more than four years.
If, like many small-business owners, you believe your employees are among your most valuable resources, it’s critically important to keep them engaged and productive. One key method for achieving this goal is by offering ongoing employee training and development.
Engagement is only one of many benefits employers realize with a commitment to employee learning and development. Here are additional things that having a formal training program in place might allow you to accomplish:
Keep Pace With Your Industry
Regardless of industry, your small business is subject to changes in the marketplace. New products are launched, new competitors emerge, new customer trends develop. In order to survive, small-business owners really have no choice but to keep pace with these changes. This requires ongoing development so your workforce stays sharp and employees gain the new skills and knowledge to help your business remain competitive.
Retain Mastery of Innovative Technology
With digital technology changing at near-blinding speed, employees can’t possibly keep up with essential tech skills and fulfill all of their job responsibilities at the same time. Ongoing training — both for your IT team and other employees — enables them to master innovative technology and use it to the advantage of your business.
Increase Job Satisfaction
Employees who do the same thing every day generally feel unfulfilled by their jobs. An investment in training and development can result in renewed enthusiasm and greater motivation. Acquiring new skills leads to a boost in self-confidence, which in turn breeds a higher level of job satisfaction. Employees who believe they are building on their current skill sets are far less likely to look elsewhere for employment.
Leverage for Better Employee Recruitment and Retention
Speaking of retention, employees with expanded skill sets may become eligible for promotion in your business. Providing the ability to advance within the organization is frequently cited as a key to retaining a talented workforce. In the same respect, if your employee brand becomes synonymous with ongoing training and development, word will get around among qualified job seekers. Millennials (as well as other generations) value every opportunity they can find to work for an employer committed to individual development. This factor alone could make the difference between recruiting the employees you want and those for whom you settle.
Hone Your Employees’ Soft Skills
Skills needed for a position aren’t the only skills your employees must possess. In fact, 77 percent of employers say soft skills are just as important as hard skills.’ Whether employees interact with customers or collaborate with co-workers, they must overcome any “soft skill gaps” in their job. Ongoing training can address such soft skills as communications (both oral and written); the ability to function productively within a team; and being able to make rapid-fire decisions and solve workplace problems. Retaining valued customers and employees often hinges on how well these soft skills are developed.
Grow a Culture of Learning
When we think of companies with a strong culture of learning, Google is at the top of the list. There’s something infectious about acquiring new knowledge and skills. Making a commitment to ongoing training can lead to a culture of learning within your organization, so that even employees who initially resist learning opportunities come to embrace activities that make them more engaged and productive. Soon employees come up with their own suggestions for training, based on their specific experiences with both customers and co-workers.
Ongoing development does require time and resources from a small business, but the results are well worth the investment. On top of the benefits listed above, a formal employee training program forces a business to consider its “future path,” according to business growth specialist Chad Halvorson. It also provides a key competitive advantage because the business is “thinking ahead of the curve,” according to Halvorson.
Professional development for employees doesn’t have to cost your business money. Sites like the Google Analytics Academy offer free training programs for certification in Google Analytics. Microsoft offers free online training for Microsoft office products, and YouTube offers sites like The Kahn Academy, that specialize in unique training content.