Learning and development or training departments can have an organization-wide impact. As these departments become more common, organizations are discovering that they can be a strategic part of growing the business and contributing to business goals.
I’ll go over some of the common business goals that learning and development benefits.
Grow in Profits
One of the major reasons that learning and development can get ignored in the workplace is that it’s difficult to track return on investment (ROI). Many leaders are not willing to invest in something new if they can’t see a positive correlation between that investment and more profit. It’s not a bad quality for a company to exercise financial restraint, but leaders should be willing to acknowledge that not everything you invest in as a business will necessarily directly affect profits.
Learning and development is one of those departments that do not usually impact sales and profits directly. The impact is a ripple effect through improved employee skill sets and mitigating risk.
CEOs believe that the people they hire and company culture make a difference in meeting business goals. Better workers do lead to more profit. But you have to be willing to train the ones you have to make them even better or else you will hit profit ceilings. And, you have to be willing to keep morale high by showing your employees that you care about their career development through training.
Increased Employee Engagement and Reduced Turnover
Employees who feel like the company cares about them and will support their career growth are employees who will be dedicated and put their whole heart into what they do.
What’s one of the best ways a company can make employees feel cared about? Provide professional development.
According to a Learning in the Workplace Survey, 98% of employees believe company-sponsored education is a major part of their professional development.
Forbes also claims that training is one of the biggest factors in keeping employees engaged.
Learning and development can most impact employee engagement when the training is built based on relevance to employee learning needs. Listening to and communicating with employees about the skills they feel will benefit their role is important. It’s key to pay attention to feedback about the effectiveness of the training you provide.
You also need to have an understanding of your employees’ relationship with non-required training and talk to them about course completion statistics. Sometimes learners fail to finish courses simply because they got what they needed out of the course – and you can count that as a success. Continually communicating with learners will help you understand and record the benefit that employees get out of training in a way that LMS stats will not.
Productivity and spending hours on training don’t usually seem to go hand-in-hand. Most workers complain when they’re pulled from their normal activity to spend a day in the training room. However, well-conducted training can actually improve worker productivity.
Motorola calculated that after spending money on staff training programs, they gained 30% in productivity.
If you want to improve productivity in your workers, thoughtful training programs can be a great investment.
Stay Relevant in the Industry
Training, especially in the form of continuous learning, is one of the most important resources to provide in the modern workplace. The world changes at a fast pace and training supports your employees in keeping up with:
- The rapid evolution of technology
- Changing laws and regulations
- The evolving, highly competitive marketplace
- New theories and research related to their field
In short, training helps keep your company on-track and relevant in the industry. Taking advantage of new technologies and ways of thinking will keep you competitive and efficient. Especially for companies in fields related to technology, learning and development can be a key tool for remaining innovative.
Most companies have some kind of necessary compliance training that their employees must complete. Food service workers must learn food safety and how to properly put out kitchen fires. Restaurant workers need to know the laws behind serving alcohol and possibly other regulated substances. This compliance training, which is sometimes the only training that learning and development departments are assigned, is necessary. When it’s effective, it also mitigates risk by making employees better at navigating risky situations on the job. Improving the safety training you already have in place will continue to produce benefits and returns.
There are other areas that are less consistently regulated by law that training can help address too.
- Sexual harassment training is optional in many states, but it can help create a safer and more comfortable work environment as well as reduce risk of lawsuits related to harassment in your company.
- Anti-bias training, such as the training the Starbucks conducted after encountering public outrage after arrest of two black men sitting in one of their locations. This option is not only a no-brainer to create safe and inclusive workplaces, but it will help your company’s public image.
- Contract training. Contract disputes can be extremely expensive to address in court. Training employees on the best practices for drawing clear-cut contracts and communicating with vendors or clients can save thousands in the long run.
- Cross-training can reduce the risk that your company loses money and time if an employee with unique knowledge decides to leave or switch departments.
- Computer security training will reduce risk that bad actors can phish employee information or access sensitive information on company servers.
- Intellectual property training is key for companies who desire to protect their brand. When employees know how to protect the company identity, the company will lose less time and money to counterfeiting and stealing.
This is just a starter list. If you analyze the places where your company is at risk, there are surely places where training can help mitigate that risk.
There are few strategies that can grow profits while mitigating risk, but training is one of them. If well-utilized, the learning and development department is full of potential for helping your company meet organizational goals.
Learning and development isn’t just for compliance – allow the L&D professionals in your company propose strategies that will suit the most important organizational goals at your workplace.