The Importance of Employee Development and Where Businesses Go Wrong

Why Is Employee Development Important?

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Operating a business in today's modern economy demands rapid innovation, optimized processes, and world-class customer service. While these give you a competitive edge, the true pulse of your organization and the biggest differentiator is your employees.

Developing your employees doesn't simply mean offering them training. Each person, no matter their level, wants to feel that they are genuinely cared for. An effective way to do this is through a commitment to support their professional and personal growth.

Businesses should invest in employee development for the following 3 reasons-

1. Attract and Retain Top Employees
Here's a shocking statistic that you might not know of- 94% of employees would stay with their employers longer if they invested in their career development.

42% of millennials say learning and development is among the most important benefits when deciding where to work, followed by health insurance.

By offering a robust employee development program, your job posting not only stands out to top talents but your organization also retains loyalty among its current employees.

2. Save Money
As a result of high employee loyalty, your organization doesn't have to waste money acquiring new talent and training them from scratch.

At the beginning of 2008, AT&T executives started examining the kind of employee skills that the company needs to thrive in this digital age. Their research brought to light a brutal truth- The employees didn't have the skills necessary to allow the company to maintain its competitive edge.

AT&T decided to invest $1 billion in retraining its employees because of the high cost of acquiring new experienced workers. The median cost of substituting an employee is 21% of an employee's salarythe percentage increases as the base wage rises.

Thus, retraining employees make much more sense than going out and finding someone else to replace them.

3. Stay ahead of the curve
How do most companies work to stay ahead of the competition?

You might be thinking that its better products or services, effective sales, and marketing strategies, optimized business processes, or superior customer service. But the most essential gear that gets everything moving is improving your employee's skill level.

The more skillful your employees are, the easier and faster it is for your organization to invent, optimize, and serve your customers better than your competitors.

How Businesses Miss the Mark When Promoting Employee Development

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No business wants to fall behind when developing their employees. It's important to lay out a plan to ensure your employees are continuously developing. Ensuring this means understanding what mistakes you could make before you get started-

Mistake 1- Training as a one-time investment
What companies expect- I just need to invest in one training and see all the results I want.
In reality, training is not a magic pill that works for years. In this ever-changing world, knowledge and skills can be obsolete in the span of a few weeks. This makes the need to learn continuously and rapidly more vital than ever.

Rather than seeing training as a once-in-a-while activity, think of training as an ongoing, regular campaign. Employers need to help their people stay on top of trends and fill in the skills gaps that arise over time.

Mistake 2- Status-quo training
With five generations currently in the workforce, "one-size-fits-all" training programs no longer cut it. While the content of the training may be similar, different generations have distinct learning styles and preferences.

Baby Boomers, for instance, like a competitive environment with a goal in sight. They are self-reliant and independent.

When they want to learn, they would be happy to do so by themselves. Millennials, on the other hand, learn best under a mentor or when they feel connected to their peers. They prefer to work with familiar forms of technology which provide ease of training from anywhere.

Instead of creating one training that is meant to fit all generations in the workforce, think of different training delivery methods that suit all generations in your business.

Mistake 3- Mistakes and failures are penalized
With no rooms for failure, employees will be more risk-averse, anxious, and have a tendency to sweep mistakes under the rug. This results in stagnant culture with low employee engagement and morale as well as high absenteeism and turnover.

Brand Rigney, the VP of People Operations at Earls Restaurants, highlighted a common problem, Who would be looking forward to coming into work for an organization that makes you feel bad about your decisions or watches every move you make?

Understand that your people need consistent growth this means mistakes are bound to happen. Without errors, there is no room to grow. What matters is how you help them learn from the mistakes and prevent them from happening again.

Key Takeaways

When you hire skilled employees, their existing skills can only take your organization so far. As the industry changes, only a force of ever-growing employees can keep up the pace.

You should invest in employee development because it helps you to attract and retain top talent, save money, and keep you ahead of the curve.

While the benefits sound good, developing a robust employee development program for your team is not as straight-forward as it seems. Most employers fail due to 3 costly mistakes-

1. Treat training as a one-time investment
2. Employ status-quo training for all generations
3. Penalize mistakes and failures

What you want to do is to not only avoid these mistakes but also to learn from the success of other organizations and employ the best ideas to improve your employee development programs

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