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Employee Development – A Missed Opportunity

Employee development appears to be a topic that is on the backburner of many small organizations and this can inhibit their productivity and growth. While larger more established organizations see value in developing their workforce, smaller and newer organizations tend to focus on core business functions like marketing and accounting, something should be said about this missed opportunity by small organizations.

Most experienced leaders believe that a better trained workforce improves performance and that investing in training and development is critical to achieving success; and leading American companies see training as a key to organizational survival and success. In fact, many successful organizations are more likely to include training solutions as a part of a system wide strategy to gain competitive advantage.

During this time of workforce transition with an emphasis on the retirement of baby boomers and the increase of millennials in the workforce, which has been occurring over the last decade, many HR executives are concerned about the shortage of skills and finding qualified individuals to fill new positions.

That said, organizations that have exceptional training opportunities and programs for their employees often make Fortunes list of best companies to work for and one study cites Fortune’s list had 50% less turnover rate and made three times more money for stockholders. This underscores the argument for effective training and development programs and initiatives. 

Training and development are related but there is a difference. Training is the attempt to improve employee performance on a currently held job, while development provides learning opportunities that help employees grow. In development, these opportunities do not have to be limited to improving performance on current jobs, but can serve to improve the employee’s quality of life away from the workplace and increase future work opportunities and the possibility of promotion.

The most effective companies look at training and career development as an integral part of an HRD program which is carefully aligned with business strategies.

Four common characteristics of highly effective training and development programs according to the Association for Talent Development:

  • Learning is seen as having value in the organization’s culture meaning there are learning opportunities for employees, there is c-suite involvement, and a belief that learning leads to organization growth.
  • Learning links to personal and organizational performance. That is there is alignment with business goals, learning is efficient, and there is a method to measure that learning.
  • There is investment in talent development and performance initiatives.And these programs result in creating solutions to business issues and helps to set organizational strategies
  • And these programs result in creating solutions to business issues and helps to set organizational strategies 

As you can see there are real benefits in training and developing employees. Aside from the obvious forms of increased productivity there are also benefits that are unseen. These include increased employee loyalty. Research shows that employees tend to stay with companies longer if they feel they are growing personally, gaining new skills, and have better opportunities for employment or promotion. Also, employees who feel valued, respected, and have a higher sense of loyalty are more likely to act as ambassadors for their employers, which can result in employees bringing in new customers and clients, while spreading and improving the good reputation of the organization. 


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