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Staff training and development: Benefits, examples and why it’s so important
Blog //26-10-2023

Staff training and development: Benefits, examples and why it’s so important

by Advanced PR, Author

Your employees are the most valuable part of your business!

But finding the best people to work for your organisation is only part of the equation. It’s just as important that you support their training and development throughout their time with you.

The difference between staff training and professional development

The two terms are often used interchangeably, and colloquially they can mean pretty much the same thing. But there are some key differences.

Employee training help achieve a particular skill that can be used for an immediate challenge. For example, if you get a new piece of machinery or software, you need to train your employees how to use it. The objective of the training is clear and obvious – teaching them how to operate a machine or program – and it’s often a one-off process. Once they’ve learnt it, they’ve learnt it.

Professional development is a longer-term process and involves all-round self-improvement, as opposed to learning how to complete a particular task. It can involve a broad subject such as developing managerial skills, for instance, and often gives the employee the flexibility to lead the process and develop their character traits at their own speed.

Staff training vs professional development: examples

Staff Training

Professional Development

Customer service skills

Leadership training

Technical software training

Attending industry conferences

Safety and compliance training

Pursuing advanced degrees

Onboarding programs

Mentoring programs

Sales techniques

Public speaking workshops

Diversity and inclusion training

Networking events

 

What are the benefits of investing in staff training and development?

Investing in staff learning and development offers numerous benefits for both employees and organisations:

1. Enhanced skills and knowledge:

Staff training and development programs help employees acquire new skills and knowledge relevant to their roles. This improves their performance, productivity, and ability to handle new challenges effectively.

2. Increased employee engagement and satisfaction:

A robust learning and development program serves as a tangible demonstration that an organisation deeply values the growth and contributions of their employees. It enables the organisation to effectively deliver on the employee value proposition by emphasising the importance of their development and providing the necessary support for their success.

3. Improved retention rates:

Employees who feel invested in are more likely to stay with an organisation. Training and development initiatives create a positive work environment and give employees a sense of professional growth, reducing attrition and retaining valuable talent. According to a survey done by Lorman, 70% of employees would like to leave their current job to work for an organisation known for investing in employee development and learning.

4. Adaptability to change:

Ongoing training equips employees with the necessary skills to adapt to technological advancements and market changes. It enhances their ability to embrace new processes, tools, and strategies, ensuring the organisation remains competitive in a dynamic business landscape.

5. Increased productivity and efficiency:

According to Whatfix, 93% of employees said that well-planned employee training programs positively affect their level of productivity and engagement. They can apply their knowledge and skills to streamline processes, make informed decisions, and solve problems efficiently, leading to improved productivity and operational excellence.

6. Succession planning and promotion:

Investing in staff development helps identify potential leaders within the organisation. It provides a pool of qualified candidates for future leadership positions, ensuring a smooth succession planning process and minimising disruptions.

7. Improved customer satisfaction:

Employees equipped with the right skills and knowledge can deliver exceptional customer service. This leads to higher customer satisfaction, repeat business, and positive brand reputation.

8. Innovation and creativity

Continuous learning encourages employees to think critically, explore new ideas, and contribute to innovation within the organisation. It fosters a culture of creativity, where employees are encouraged to share insights and suggest improvements.

Which areas of training and development should you focus on?

It’s usually not a simple case of ‘one size fits all’. A diverse workforce will benefit from diversified support.

Rather than signing everyone up for the same courses en masse, you should look for skills that the business is short of or your individual employees are lacking.

Try to identify which areas of your operations need extra support. If there’s a particular function that can only be carried out by just one employee, for instance, it could be worth training a few more people in that, so you’re not left with a skills gap should that person leave the business.

Skills mapping can help you identify who could fill the gaps, and less business-critical jobs that might come available. This is a process of visually mapping out the skills required for roles within the organisation, then identifying employees who possess these skills and could potentially be a good fit for the job.

Skills mapping should be done at the planning phase of a project, in order to figure out what skills are needed to successfully carry out certain tasks the project will entail, and then identifying those who would be the best fit. In order to do skills mapping you will need to keep up to date on your employees’ skills and experience, so make sure you are regularly asking your people to update this information in your database.

Organisations should also use the opportunity afforded by regular appraisals to find out what learning and development your employees feel they could benefit from. Some employees might be shy in coming forward, but talking to them frequently might allow you to tease out information that can help you draw up a program to help them develop.

The importance of making training and development part of company culture

To make a strong case for prioritising training and development in your business, it's crucial to demonstrate the positive results it can bring. While feedback from employees through appraisals and team meetings is valuable, measurable metrics can provide concrete evidence of the benefits. Here are some key points to consider:

Measuring success:

  • Staff retention: A focus on staff training and development can lead to higher employee retention rates as it shows a commitment to their growth and development.
  • Production/Productivity: Over time, employee training and development can contribute to increased productivity levels and more efficient workflows.
  • Internal promotions vs. external recruitment: By investing in employee growth, you can reduce the need for external recruitment by promoting from within, saving costs and fostering loyalty.

Ongoing process with measurable results:

  • Long-Term impact: It's important to acknowledge that the benefits of training and development may not be immediately evident, but over time, the positive effects should become more measurable and noticeable.
  • Reinforcement: To ensure skills learned are applied effectively, consider offering refresher courses, incorporating new skills into business projects, and seeking feedback from employees on their utilisation of newly acquired knowledge.

Integration and company culture:

  • Integration, not an add-on: Avoid viewing training and development as separate from employees' "real work." Embed the concept of ongoing development into your company culture, emphasising its importance alongside other tasks.
  • Time allocation: Budget sufficient time for employees to engage in training and development activities. Ensure managers understand the significance and support their team members in dedicating time to these efforts.

HR Analytics for effective talent management:

  • Comprehensive insights: Utilise software that allows your HR team to track organisational analytics, including check-ins with managers, co-worker feedback, goal progress, and development plans. This provides a holistic view to ensure managers are engaging with their teams and taking appropriate actions.

How Advanced Clear Review can help

When it comes to planning and monitoring training and development initiatives, Advanced Clear Review offers a range of features that can greatly assist your organisation. Here are some specific features that make Advanced Clear Review a valuable tool:

1. Goal setting and tracking:

Advanced Clear Review enables you to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals for individual employees or teams. These goals can be aligned with training and development objectives, allowing you to monitor progress and provide targeted support.

2. Development plans:

It allows you to create and manage development plans for employees. These plans outline specific actions, milestones, and resources required for skill enhancement. You can track the progress of each plan and provide ongoing support.

3. Performance reviews and check-ins:

The performance management system streamlines the performance review process by providing a structured framework. You can conduct regular check-ins with employees to discuss their training and development progress, addressing any challenges or modifications needed.

4. Analytics and reporting:

It offers robust analytics and reporting capabilities. You can generate reports on training completion rates, skill development progress, and overall performance trends. These insights help you assess the impact of training initiatives and make data-driven

5. Feedback Circles:

One of the key aspects of training and development is gathering feedback. With feedback circle functionality, you can solicit input from peers, managers, and direct reports. This helps identify strengths and areas for improvement, guiding the design of personalised development plans.

Ready to enhance your training and development efforts? Take advantage of our features to plan and monitor your initiatives effectively. Boost employee growth, engagement, and productivity by leveraging SMART goal setting, feedback circles, development plans, a learning resources library, performance reviews, and powerful analytics.

Explore our people management software suite to learn more and start optimising your staff training and development strategies today.

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