Every year, companies across the country invest billions of dollars in spending on employee education and training. While research suggests that employees who work at companies with comprehensive employee development programs are more engaged, most of these programs don’t actually work.
According to a study conducted by Deloitte, the majority of the companies surveyed for the study claimed that retention, engagement and culture top the list for priorities. These same subjects admitted that improving employee learning programs was also a top priority. One might deduce that these subjects believe that ongoing learning and training is the way to improve retention, engagement and company culture.
While this may be true, another consulting company found that many of these development programs are not effective. The following tips are suggested for improving employee development programs:
Managers are the Key
In the past, managers played the role of mentor and passed along valuable skill sets and advice to their employees. While ideally that is still the case, the manager is often overburdened today, and may not have enough time or incentive to continue this tradition. In order for managers to effectively coach their employees, the managers need the support, space and time to do this.
Skill Set Shelf Life
The kind of information gained through a mentorship or a formal program have the potential to help an employee throughout their career. However, when looking at technical skills, these change practically by the day. Technology is changing all of the time and a skillset relevant today may literally be obsolete tomorrow. This heightened realm of innovation underscores the necessity for frequent training. Instead of spending months on one skill, employers should be identifying ways to share relevant information immediately, then move on to the next.
The goal of these development programs should be to equip your employees with new information and skills that give them tools to be more effective or knowledgeable in their role, or at least for them to stay more engaged. With those goals in mind, you don’t want this experience to be too overwhelming or come at the expense of their work. That means there should be some flexibility in terms of when they undergo this training. That could mean having modules that are easily watched on their phones or multiple options for in-person training sessions. If the employee has some choice in when or how they participate in training, there’s less of a chance that it will be viewed as an inconvenience.
Because retention, engagement and culture are top of mind for so many companies, it makes sense that they are actively spending a significant amount of capital in education and development programs, as it directly addresses those concerns. However, it’s important to realize that training alone is ineffective. Proper training needs to be accompanied by support from managers, offered regularly while maintaining flexibility in how the employees participate.