The workplace is becoming a fantastically fluid concept due to the explosion of new technologies. This is a process that has been going on for some time and is becoming more and more rapid, thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet and humongous jumps in the computational powers of modern computers and other devices.
Among other things, businesses both big and small have been introducing one software solution after the other, changing jobs that had been roughly the same since the early 20th century. However, it goes well beyond just new types of software being introduced to modern offices. We are also seeing new business practices being introduced, novel interpersonal business relationships being encouraged and employee loyalties being reassessed.
Over the last decade or so, more and more companies have been rediscovering the need for structured onboarding processes, which will involve quite a bit of training. However, in a world of fluid workplaces and jobs, training cannot end with onboarding.
The Introduction of New Business Practices
Perhaps the most obvious reason companies cannot simply do a bit of training during the onboarding process is that the realities of certain jobs and positions change under innumerable influences.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this would be with an example. Let's imagine a B2B company that develops some kind of accounting software. For years, their salespeople have been encouraged to sell their product almost indiscriminately, only rarely taking into consideration customer churn.
Then, after three years have passed, this same company finally realizes that their customers are leaving them at unusually high rates. They decide to create a customer success team and it soon becomes obvious that the sales department's indiscriminate sales and poorly thought-out commission practices are responsible for all this churn.
One way to address this is to have the salespeople pick this up over the next few months in an unstructured and almost incidental way. Another way is to introduce formal training and a consultation process where salespeople will be introduced to the concept of customer success and how they can recognize customers that will actually stay with the company's product for years to come.
Another common situation is the introduction of new government regulations, like for example the new overtime rules that rolled out in December 2016. In such situations, HR departments and managers definitely need training in adhering to and administering these new regulations.
Finally, the increased influx of new business software into all kinds of companies simply requires training, to enable the employees to get used to these new solutions quickly.
Development Makes Employees More Engaged
In January 2016, an article appeared on the Gallup blog titled, The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis and it literally exploded within its target circles. Working with Gallup's immense data, authors Annamarie Mann and Jim Harter shared more than a few insights into the state of the worldwide and American employee when it came to engagement.
For example, they shared the fact that even though the percentage of engaged employees is higher in the United States than worldwide (32% to a horrific 13%), it is still below a third of all employees. The article covers a number of wrong practices on the behalf of the majority of companies, especially when it comes to the over-emphasis of poorly constructed surveys as the alpha and omega of employee engagement practices in the majority of companies.
The article suggests a need for a shift in dealing with employee engagement and one of the suggestions mentioned more than once is the need for companies to allow their employees to develop their skills and enhance their knowledge. Presumably through training.
Keep in mind that this is not the only source that names development as a crucial factor in employee engagement. For instance, a report by the Institute for Employment Studies names continual development as one of the crucial contributors to employee engagement.
From a purely layperson's point of view, this is not that difficult to understand. If an employee is given the chance to boost their skills and gain new knowledge, they will feel that the company is investing in them and that they are never plateauing when it comes to their profession. Continuous training can be a fantastic motivator.
The Ultimate Goal
The ultimate goal of every self-respecting company, so to say, should be a culture of continuous training, learning, and improvement. It may seem like an expense at first, but in the long run, it will not only make a company's employees more productive and skilled, but it will also help reduce employee turnover, which is a huge problem in business today.
Modern LMS solutions are streamlined, more scalable and more affordable than ever before.
For this reason, it has become very hard to come up with an excuse not to invest in a culture of continuous employee development, training, and learning.
About the Author - James D. Burbank has worked with companies both large and tiny in his 15-odd years in the trade show industry. He is a huge fan of continuous skill development on behalf of pretty much everyone involved in the business arena. If you find the time, check out a blog he runs with a few friends of his – BizzMarkBlog.