Finding talented employees can be a challenge but it can be even more difficult to retain top talent. Professional development and career progression have become increasingly important for job-seekers, with over 85% of millennials prioritising career progression over pay. Employers can enhance their prospects of attracting the best candidates and keeping hold of star players by providing access to online courses and staff training opportunities. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of upskilling employees and offer tips for employers who are looking to champion development and progression.
What are the benefits of developing employees?
There are several benefits of developing employees for employers. A skilled, motivated, ambitious, confident workforce can take a business to the next level. Here are some of the most significant advantages of investing in employee training and staff courses:
● A more skilled, knowledgeable workforce
Arguably the most important benefit of offering staff training and development opportunities is gaining access to a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce. As an employer, you can plug gaps, enhance the value and potential of your employees and improve performance by providing employees with chances to learn, build on their existing skill set and develop new skills. It can be challenging to find employees who possess the relevant skills and you can save a lot of time, energy and money by encouraging your employees to utilise staff courses and professional development to further their careers and climb the rungs of the ladder.
● Boosting employee retention rates
Employees are moving around more frequently and it has become more commonplace for workers to change companies and places of work rather than staying with the same employer for several years. Figures suggest that 33% of companies in Australia reported an increase in staff turnover rates in 2018. As an employer, it is beneficial to take steps to try and increase retention rates and encourage the best employees to stay with you. One of the most significant drivers of change is a lack of development opportunities. A study conducted in 2020 revealed that 82.39% of employees would consider leaving a company that didn’t promote progression.
High retention rates are beneficial for multiple reasons. Firstly, employers maximise their chances of keeping hold of their most talented employees. Secondly, boosting retention can help to enhance brand image and reputation. Consumers and customers are likely to view brands and businesses that look after their employees well positively. Crucially, high employee retention rates can also save businesses a huge amount of time and money. Statistics suggest that the average cost of hiring one employee in Australia is $18,982. This figure rises to $23,059 for senior managers and $34,440 for executives. The average time to fill a vacancy is 39.2 days. Promoting employees and offering opportunities in-house is cost-effective and efficient.
● Improving team morale
Surveys and polls show that employees are eager to progress. Many employees now view career development as more important than pay. People accept jobs wanting to move through the ranks and they look for employers that support and facilitate career progression. For employers, it’s beneficial to encourage ambitious employees to climb the ladder not only to upskill the workforce but also to improve morale. Employees who are motivated and driven and those that enjoy their jobs are likely to work harder and be more productive. You can also enhance wellbeing by helping employees to build confidence and foster ambition through staff training and online courses. Providing opportunities also demonstrates that you value your staff. Training and learning can also enable employees to explore new talents and areas of interest, which could benefit your business moving forward.
● Creating a culture that champions progression
Employees are ambitious and they are looking for companies and organisations that will enable them to fulfil their potential. By encouraging employees to undertake training and being proactive in upskilling employees, employers create a culture that champions progression and development. If you have a reputation for supporting employees in achieving their career goals and you have high retention rates, you will attract dedicated, driven, talented candidates when you advertise vacancies and new roles. A positive culture can also encourage team members who might not be naturally as confident to want to take the next step in their career.
● Planning for the future
Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to running a business. The future is unpredictable and companies need to be adaptable and agile to overcome challenges and to take advantage of innovations and new technology. Upskilling your workforce is beneficial for two key reasons. Encouraging employees to learn new skills and expand their knowledge base can help to plug skills gaps and reduce the risks of bearing the brunt of talent shortages. It can also enable you to plan ahead and put contingency measures in place if you lose a key member of staff or you have to reshuffle or adapt your staffing structure.
● Discovering new opportunities for your company
The business landscape evolves continuously. Company owners have to be wary of new obstacles or risks but they can also benefit from innovation and advances in technology. Providing training and access to courses and workshops for employees enables companies to discover new opportunities and to push the business forward. If your staff has the skills needed to capitalise on new technology, for example, you could gain a competitive advantage by expanding your services or product range and offering features, perks or services that your rivals can’t.
● Attracting top talent
There is a global talent shortage and this means that employees who have sought-after skills are in a strong position. If you are an employer looking for new team members, you want to maximise your chances of attracting top talent and encouraging the candidates you want to hire to choose you. There is a good chance that you will be competing against several employers. The top candidates may have a range of options and they might be considering multiple offers. Research shows that most employees value career progression as one of the most important factors when choosing which job to take. If you can demonstrate that you believe in training and development, you have a solid track record in this area and your existing employees are moving up the ladder, this could sway candidates towards your business.
● Modernising your business
In 2021, one of the most significant challenges facing businesses is keeping pace. Rules and regulations change, new policies and guidelines are introduced frequently and technology is advancing all the time. Investing in employee training is an effective means to ensure that your organisation is fully compliant and make sure that employees are aware of their responsibilities. You can enhance safety and online security, reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and ensure everyone is up to speed with the latest industry-specific regulations, as well as upskilling employees and helping them improve their career prospects.
Tips for effective employee development
There are multiple benefits of encouraging and facilitating employee development. If you are an employer or a company owner and you’re looking to invest in staff training and encourage your employees to progress, here are some tips to take on board:
- Organise one-to-one meetings and encourage employees to set goals and personal targets: the training courses and online workshops you choose should reflect your company objectives and your employees’ individual goals.
- Research training opportunities and explore courses and programmes: talk to your employees to get an idea of the types of courses they would like to undertake and look for options that plug skills gaps.
- Create a plan: draw up plans and implement policies that actively encourage and promote staff training and employee upskilling.
- Measure success: using metrics and analytics can help you determine the level of impact training has on your team. You can collect and analyse data and ask your employees to provide feedback.
- Eliminate barriers: many organisations have set ways of doing things and this can create barriers or hurdles for employees who want to learn and develop new skills. Analyse operations, speak to your team and take steps to eliminate and remove barriers.
- Set a positive example: employers can encourage their employees to have the confidence to learn and expand their knowledge base by setting a positive example. If you are willing to invest in your own development and you promote the value of training, your employees will be motivated to follow suit.
Developing employees is incredibly beneficial for business owners and senior managers. There are several advantages of investing in staff training and upskilling employees, including increasing retention rates and saving money on hiring and onboarding, enhancing wellbeing and team morale, developing employee skills and knowledge and making your business a more attractive proposition for talented candidates. Training and learning can also help businesses to evolve, to move with the times and to plan for the future. If you are looking to support and encourage your team to fulfil its potential, why not investigate employee training opportunities today?