Training and Development Leads to Higher Productivity and Retention

by Gregory P. Smith

With the belt-tightening of recent months, you are probably tempted to cut down on training and development. But if you want to retain your employees and keep their productivity up, you might want to rethink that position.

Usually, the first thing out the window during an economic downturn is training and development. True during recent times as well. . .most companies have cut back on sending people to conferences and looked hard at cutting other expenses. Leading edge companies are still continuing to invest in training and development and will come out far ahead of those other businesses whose only management strategy is to cut, slash and burn.

Training, education and degree completion programs have become one of the most desired employee benefits available. Among younger job seekers, the opportunity to learn new skills is the number one benefit.

Gen. X and Gen. Y workforce view training and development as critical. They value the opportunity to advance and make more money. They also want to make a bigger contribution and have a fear of failing or falling behind in a competitive world.

Satisfying this desire with training accomplishes personal and organizational goals. Well-trained employees are more capable and willing to assume more control over their jobs. They need less supervision, which frees management for other tasks. Employees are more capable to answer the questions of customers, which builds better customer loyalty. Employees who understand the business complain less, are more satisfied, and are more motivated. All this leads to better management-employee relationships.



Last year the American Management Association (AMA) survey of 352 HR executives confirmed that certain enhancement issues were of top importance to employees and improved retention. "Investing in employees' future is more important than immediate compensation," said Eric Rolfe Greenberg, AMA's director of management studies. "Programs that improve work skills and future career development are seen as particularly effective." The AMA survey identified the following skill enhancement techniques and the percentage of companies employing them as a retention strategy:

  • Skill Enhancement Issue/Used in Organizations
  • External conferences/seminars/78.1% 
  • Tuition reimbursement/67.3% 
  • Managerial training/66.8% 
  • Company support for degree/62.2% 
  • Interpersonal skills training/56.8% 
  • Technical training/54.5% 
  • Employability training/35.2%

Other facts:

  • In a study of more than 3,100 U.S. workplaces, the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW) found that on average, a 10 percent increase in workforce education level led to an 8.6 percent gain in total productivity. But a 10 percent increase in the value of equipment increased productivity just 3.4 percent.
     
  • Another study by ASTD showed that "leading-edge" companies trained 86 percent of employees while "average" companies trained only 74 percent. Leading edge companies also spent twice as much per employee. Companies that invest the most in workplace learning, the study showed, yielded higher net sales per employee, higher gross profits per employee, and a higher ratio in market-to-book values.
     
  • In a study of more than 3,100 U.S. workplaces, the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW) found that on average, a 10 percent increase in workforce education level led to an 8.6 percent gain in total productivity. But a 10 percent increase in the value of equipment increased productivity just 3.4 percent.

In addition to better productivity, organizations that emphasize employee development make a lasting impression and earn lasting loyalty. Years ago when I was in the military, I took the time to coach one of my soldiers on getting a college education. We would sit down regularly to discuss his plans for the future. When we were transferred to different organizations, we lost track of each other until years later, when Sgt. White called me.

Sgt. White had taken my advice and gone to college. Now the Army was promoting him, and my interest in his future had made such an impact on him that he wanted me to come to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina to pin on his new rank. This was a great honor. I've never forgotten what he told me: "Sir, you were the only officer who took the time to help. I can't tell you how much that meant to me."

Greg new photoGreg Smith's cutting-edge keynotes, consulting and training programs have helped businesses accelerate organizational performance, reduce turnover, increase sales, hire better people and deliver better customer service.  As President and Lead Navigator of Chart Your Course International he has implemented professional development programs for thousands of organizations globally. He has authored nine informative books including his latest book Fired Up! Leading Your Organization to Achieve Exceptional Results.  He lives in Conyers, Georgia.  Sign up for his free Navigator Newsletter by visiting http://www.ChartCourse.com or call (770) 860-9464.

 

 
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