Learning never stops. Or it shouldn’t. It also shouldn’t be a “nice to have” perk. It should be a core component of a company’s culture and strategy. Unfortunately, I see all too often that learning and development are seen as a chore, an add-on, or a forced obligation. As Kristi Hedges so aptly noted in her HBR article, “Make Sure Everyone on Your Team Sees Learning as Part of Their Job“, employees show up for training because,
they are checking a box on their development plan, their manager told them to come, or they’ve been told that their participation will increase the chance of a promotion.
When training becomes a dreaded obligation, learning doesn’t happen. This can negatively affect employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and the bottom line. However, when learning and development are an expectation, they become ingrained not just in the employee’s day-to-day, but in the culture of the company. Learning shouldn’t happen on top of an employee’s workload, it should happen in tandem, and as part of the daily process, as well as in specific programs.
Numerous studies have proven the link between employee development and the bottom line. “According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. But it doesn’t stop there. These companies also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training.” See Shift’s article for more info.
Going beyond the bottom line, employee training and development can improve employee engagement, employee retention, productivity, and more. For a quick overview of some compelling statistics, check out Optimum Direct’s infographic, How Critical is Training to Business?
Simply put, training and development are not a “nice to have”, they are a NEED to have.