Why You Should Care About Employee Skill Development, And How You Can Encourage It

One thing every employer wants is a workforce of employees who are skilled, smart, and one red figure surrounded by gray figures standing on gear wheelsknowledgeable. Far from simply the province of HR professionals conducting on-boarding, skill development is a thing that should continue well beyond the the initial corporate training programs, and extend to cover the entirety of an employee’s tenure with the company.

For some employers, it may seem to be something of a balancing act between making sure employees have the necessary training they need to do their jobs effectively and avoiding unnecessary time or financial expenditures for the sake of what may be seen as diminishing returns. However, keeping on top of ongoing development training can yield important benefits not just for your company, but for your employees as well.

Why continue training?

According to a study reported by the HR Council, consistent employee training should extend far beyond the first week. Sure it’s important to make sure your staff understand the basics of their job, but there are far greater benefits that can be gleaned from effective development training. One of the biggest benefits of development training programs is that it sets a precedent for your company. In-depth and ongoing training can help improve employee retention rates by dialing into one of the major desire of the workforce—the chance to develop and improve.

“Studies of what factors influence employee retention suggest that working with good colleagues, challenging job assignments and opportunities for career growth and development are among the top reasons for staying with a company,” Raymond Noe, author of the book Employee Training and Development, 2nd Edition reported to the HR Council.

Not only will good training practices ensure you employ only the most competent and best-prepared staff for any given situation, but it’s good for the individuals who are doing the learning as well. Many companies already provide corporate language training programs as part of their globalization initiatives, but far beyond a corporate benefit, this provides employees with a sense of personal satisfaction and can even be physically good for them.

A study reported by the Science World Report found that learning a second language, even in adults, can produce an overall healthier brain, staving off cognitive decline later in life—and keeping your workforce happier, smarter, and healthier today.

Encouraging development

Anyone who’s attempted to carry out corporate training may know that it can be difficult to impart the necessary information, and encourage its retention, in a classroom setting. In fact, recent data coming from New York University has found that, perhaps paradoxically, the most effective tactic for retaining new knowledge is to follow learning up with a good night’s sleep. Researchers found that sleeping after learning a skill can actually promote the creation of new physical pathways in the brain, strengthening brain connections and encouraging better retention of information.

Of course, employers can’t send staff to the nap room after training, but that doesn’t mean that outside-the-box thinking coupled with adoption of new technology can’t greatly improve circumstances of employee training. Recently, more and more managers have been turning to cloud services, MOOCs, and even mobile technology to facilitate their training endeavors. Not only do such technologies allow for learners to engage with material at their own pace, but allowing employees to self-manage their own training outside of a workplace or classroom setting encourages greater engagement.

More conventional training methods can be adopted as well. The HR Council indicated that providing workers flexible time each week to devote to training and development can be an effective method of enabling staff to develop their skills in a way that boosts job performance instead of compromising it.

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