Your work environment never remains the same for long; there are always new challenges to address, new strategies to learn, and new market conditions to adapt to.
Your employees shouldn’t stay the same for too long either, but the only way to help them develop new skills and experience is to integrate some kind of training program.
Some entrepreneurs and employers are reluctant to consider the possibility of integrating a training and education program, mostly due to costs—even though the return on investment (ROI) for most employee training programs is positive.
So what’s the best way to integrate such a program, and what might it look like?
Why Ongoing Education Is So Important
The ongoing education of your employees is important for three main reasons:
New information, rules, regulations, and standards
In many cases, an employee’s performance will depend on the accuracy of their current knowledge. For example, the standards for emergency cardiovascular care are always changing, so it’s important for healthcare employees to stay informed about the latest procedures, standards, and recommendations.
Some industries and positions change faster than others, so use your knowledge of your industry and team roles to guide you.
Employee value, flexibility, and productivity
Education can also be used to increase the total value of each employee. An employee who’s capable of covering for another teammate while they’re out on vacation, or one capable of overseeing another, lower-level position, can get more done in a day and serve your organization more flexibly.
Of course, this also usually means the employee deserves to be paid more.
Employee morale (and recruiting potential)
Morale tends to drop if employees feel their job is too repetitive, or if they feel they aren’t growing. Offering a path toward further training and education makes them feel like they’re growing and improves morale.
A robust training program can also be used as a recruiting tool, helping you attract even more qualified candidates.
Understanding which of these motivations is most important for your company can guide you on how best to design and integrate a campaign.
Options for Integrating a Training Program
There are several ways to foster better employee training. These are just a few of the most common and popular:
One of the simplest, yet most expensive options, is to recommend and/or pay for external classes. Depending on the position and future of the employee, that might mean sponsoring their degree program at a major university or simply paying for a day-long training event.
Internal coaching, workshops, and seminars
You could also invite outside experts to your own organization, gathering your team for a half-day workshop or seminar, or in some cases, guiding specific individual employees with one-on-one coaching.
The costs for these types of events vary based on the nature of the training and the experience of the person running the session, but can be very affordable.
Reading material and sponsored certifications
You can also encourage your employees to take classes and/or certify themselves in new areas on their own, reimbursing them for at least some of the costs. For example, you could compensate them for getting certified in Google Ads, or in Project Management.
Cross-training and internal leadership
Of course, if you’re looking for something even simpler and less expensive, you could also tap the resources that are already available to you. Consider recruiting your most experienced leaders from various departments to cross-train their underlings and/or people from other departments. This can help eliminate silos in your business, while simultaneously increasing the skillsets and flexibility of each of your employees—all without spending much money or leaving the office.
Training as Necessity or Reward?
Should you treat employee training as a mandatory part of the job? Or should you treat training and education as a reward, since the better skilled employee will have better pay and more options for their future?
Some industries answer this question for you; for example, the healthcare industry requires doctors and nurses to stay up-to-date on the latest standards for treatment if they want to be effective.
If your industry is subject to frequent changes, or if you have rigorous standards for developing internal leadership, you might set a similar rule.
However, treating education as a perk of the job can boost morale even further—and make sure the least enthusiastic people aren’t wasting your time or money.
No matter what your budget, industry, or staff currently look like, it’s possible to integrate more training opportunities for your employees. Doing so can greatly boost both productivity and morale, while creating a stronger foundation for the rest of your business.
Consider your options carefully and choose the programs that best suit your brand and team.