According to the World Economic Forum, more than half of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling by 2025. But while many companies understand the importance of employee training, implementation remains a challenge.
Nationally, less than 10% of eligible employees access tuition reimbursement programs. This is often because traditional educational models like college degrees don’t meet their needs or fit within their lifestyle. Plus, many organizations’ training programs are not well-aligned with the company’s and employees’ objectives.
Despite these challenges, the benefits of training employees far outweigh the challenge of designing an effective training program. From increasing employee morale to growing the company’s output, organizations that invest in their workforce are likely to reap significant rewards.
The Benefits of Employee Training
Below are 12 benefits of training employees in today’s workplace, whether you’re working remotely, in-person, or a mix of both.
1. Reduce Employee Turnover
Employee turnover can be highly disruptive–and costly. The average cost of replacing an employee ranges from about one-third to twice their annual salary, depending on the level and complexity of their position. Doing so can also take months or more.
Offering employee training is a straightforward and effective way to reduce turnover. According to LinkedIn Learning, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their development.
2. Reduce Layoffs
Business priorities can change fast in today’s world. And unfortunately, that can lead to layoffs when employees skills no longer align with their employer’s needs. Layoffs can significantly impact morale among the employees left behind and come with the costs of severance payments and rehiring.
Oftentimes, there are ways to avoid layoffs. Upskilling and reskilling employees for new or expanded roles that meet business priorities allows companies to shift existing talent rather than start from scratch. According to recent research from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, companies that invested in employee training prior to COVID-19 were significantly less likely to lay off employees during the pandemic.
3. Improve Employee Engagement
Employee engagement remains a moving target for most organizations, but it’s critical for company outcomes. Gallup found that the companies with the highest engagement are 23% more profitable than those with the lowest engagement. And since only 35% of American employees say they are engaged with their jobs, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
In the 2022 Emeritus Global Career Impact Survey, 89% of past Emeritus learners also said they feel more engaged at work if they are learning new skills and concepts.
And since LinkedIn Learning reports that employees who feel they have room to learn and grow at their companies are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged, employee training opportunities present an ideal tool for increasing both engagement and profit.
4. Gain a Recruitment Tool
Most job seekers are aware that the world of work is changing fast, and they’re looking for roles where they can grow. A Citrix study found 82% of employees believe they will need to continue to develop new skills at least once a year to remain competitive in the marketplace, so employee training opportunities can be a powerful recruitment tool.
And since employees with access to training are more likely to be engaged, the overall public perception of the company is likely to improve, too.
5. Increase Productivity
Productivity is essential for profitability. And offering employee training is one of the most straightforward ways organizations can increase their outputs. Learning how to use new technologies or tools, ranging from scheduling apps to artificial intelligence, can significantly cut the time it takes to perform everyday tasks. The benefits of training employees on soft skills such as time management and delegation also include streamlined processes and reduced time wastage.
6. Improve Team Functionality
Most employees work in teams, yet those teams are rarely optimized for success. To succeed, teams need complementary skill sets that help them work in a cohesive, efficient way. Identifying skill gaps on teams (for instance, a lack of writing or technical skills) can impact the productivity of every member. Team training on communications skills, conflict management, and diversity and equity can also help build trust among employees and reduce time lost to misunderstandings and conflict.
7. Build a Competitive Advantage
When employees are up to date on the latest business knowledge and technology and teams possess the skills they need to succeed, they are prepared to pivot. In today’s rapidly changing environment, companies need to adapt to new challenges and customer demands. And organizations that haven’t invested in developing their employees are likely to fall behind competitors that have. Companies with the ability to quickly switch gears to provide new products or services when the market demands have a major competitive advantage.
8. Prevent and Address Skill Gaps
Skills gaps are a persistent problem for organizations, and even more so in the wake of COVID-19. In fact, McKinsey & Company found that 87% of companies either have identified skills gaps or expect to experience them within the next few years. Being able to proactively address those gaps is one of the benefits of employee training, and doing so reduces the risk that the company will either need to sink money into hiring or fall behind. That’s why over half of executives report that they prefer upskilling and reskilling as their approach to addressing skills gaps.
9. Build a Talent Pipeline
Employee turnover is a fact of life. But when employees with essential skills depart, that can leave unprepared organizations in the lurch. Organizations can prevent disruptions by using targeted training to create career paths for their employees. Ideally, employers and managers partner to develop these paths, which include clear milestones and objectives for skills acquisition and promotion. In addition to its role in succession planning, the career pathing process also increases employee engagement with the company and their roles.
10. Enhance Management
Poor management is one of the biggest drags on a company’s bottom line—according to Gallup, ineffective leaders cost the global economy over $7 billion each year. Given their impact on the company, the importance of employee training is only increased for managers. Training managers to communicate effectively, develop their employees, think strategically, and react to challenges with flexibility can drastically increase both team performance and employee satisfaction.
11. Reduce Reliance on Contractors
Many organizations rely on contractors to handle projects when the necessary skills aren’t available in-house. However, the costs of bringing in contractors can be much higher than utilizing existing in-house talent. Plus, contractors generally lack institutional knowledge. Most organizations have employees with extra bandwidth, so cross-training those employees to fill skills gaps can help leaders shift talent to needed areas, maximize individual productivity, and reduce costs.
12. Increase Employees’ Sense of Security
Employees are increasingly—and justifiably—concerned about the longevity of their skills in a fast-changing world. In fact, almost half of workers fear they will lose their jobs in the next five years because they lack up-to-date skills. Employer-provided training opportunities can help these workers build on existing skills or pivot to an entirely new role, a win-win for both the organization and the individual employee. And when employees believe they have a future at the organization, they are much more likely to be happy and plan to stay for the longer term.
Measuring the Success of Employee Training
How can you measure the benefits of training employees in your organization? It comes down to determining your return-on-investment (ROI).
Read more on the Emeritus blog about why measuring the ROI of training and upskilling employees is important and examples of key metrics to measure success, from employee engagement to revenue growth.
Between inflation, the Great Resignation, and major global supply chain disruptions, companies have plenty of issues to tackle. Nevertheless, it’s essential to not overlook the importance of employee training amid the crush of competing priorities. Organizations that understand why employee training is important and build effective training programs will not only address today’s challenges, but also those of tomorrow.
By Rachel Hastings
Are you working to build an upskilling or reskilling program for your organization? Reach out to Emeritus Enterprise to learn how your workforce can experience the benefits of training employees with comprehensive education options that meet your needs.