Employee training has been a crucial part of business planning for decades, if not centuries, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more crucial.
The pandemic accelerated digital transformation across the business ecosystem and brought significant changes to work patterns and processes, and this in turn increased the need for new skills and capabilities in the workforce.
There’s a widespread belief and hope that 2021 will be the year in which businesses bounce back from the impact of a year of lost revenues and drive significant growth and productivity, but that can’t appear from thin air.
Every company needs to rethink its strategy, consolidate the strides it made towards digital transformation, reassess its markets and customer needs, and find ways to use new work practices to the greatest effect.
Employee training is the key to meeting all these challenges and building a stable financial outlook.
Employee training builds a capable workforce
COVID-19 widened the skills gap between those employees who feel confident around the latest wave of tech development, and those who have more or less missed out on a year of education and self-improvement, but businesses can’t grow by relying only on top performers.
Nor is it possible to hire your way out of a skills deficit. The costs of advertising, recruiting, assessing applicants, performing background checks and pre-hiring tests, and interviewing all add up, plus there’s always a period of low productivity while the new hire is onboarded and comes up to speed.
It’s estimated that it takes around 6 months for a company to break even on the cost of hiring a new mid-level manager, and can cost around $3,500 even to hire someone for a beginner position.
Sometimes there simply aren’t enough candidates with the desired capabilities. Employee training enables employers to close skills gaps for all their employees and ensure that everyone is equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to help the business advance.
Committed employees need opportunity
The pandemic pushed a lot of talented people back into the job market, but companies still need to do all they can to appeal to the top talent and ensure their existing workforce stays with the organization.
Employees crave not just a job, but an opportunity to develop their abilities and use them in meeting new challenges.
A recent study found that only 34% of workers are happy with their organization’s investment in their development, only 32% are rewarded for developing new skills, and close to 50% would leave their company if offered a severance package.
Without employee training that has a visible impact on workers’ professional and personal development, businesses will hemorrhage both employees, and employee dedication.
In contrast, employees who feel both fully-equipped with the necessary skills, and that the organization trusts them to overcome obstacles and innovate when needed, will rise to meet new difficulties.
Employee training helps build a positive corporate culture that makes employees feel invested in overall business success.
Business strategy rests on employee training
With markets in flux and customer expectations changing rapidly, business strategy has to be agile and effective. But it’s hard to plan ahead when you don’t have an accurate understanding of the skills and capabilities within your workforce.
In 2019, 55% of CEOs told PWC that the skills gap was preventing them from innovating efficiently, and COVID-19 has only widened it.
Employee training gives executives an insight into the needs, abilities, and interests of their employees so that they can plan ways to use them most efficiently.
Keeping track of the training that employees request enables business leaders to understand and respond to the strengths and weaknesses of their workforce.
It reveals which employees want to move sideways to try a new department, who is eager to rise to managerial level, and who is feeling unmotivated and needs a new challenge.
Good CX is the foundation of business growth
The only way for a business to thrive is to deliver excellence in customer experience, from designing the products and services that customers want to providing fast, friendly, and efficient customer support. Employee training is the prerequisite for positive CX in a number of ways.
Customer-facing employees deliver better service and a warmer attitude when they feel valued and appreciated by their company, plus it’s hard to quickly process customer questions if you don’t understand the products or system yourself.
Full-trained employees protect your business
Businesses today need to comply with a slew of governmental and industry regulations, from employee safety to data privacy and corporate governance. Without effective employee training, it’s impossible to meet these requirements.
Your employees are the ones who implement your data privacy policies and make sure that you’re complying with industrial rules. They need to know all the requirements, but also to understand why they matter.
Otherwise you’re at risk of presiding over a culture of box-ticking that is vulnerable to neglect.
The same applies to cybersecurity. With so many firewalls and threat detection tools, employees are now the weakest link in your business’ protection.
Employees who are not trained to recognize phishing emails, use strong passwords, and avoid malware threats are likely to inadvertently open the door to hackers and cyberthieves. It only takes one data breach to harm your business reputation and cost you thousands of dollars in fines.
Employee training is the road to financial stability
Among the many moving parts in every enterprise, employee training still stands out as one of the main pillars for a positive financial future.
By investing in employee training, enterprises equip employees to ensure compliance and security, offer them opportunities to thrive, save money on talent acquisition and retention, improve CX, and position themselves to develop effective business strategy.