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Why is training employees important? – 5 reasons you can’t ignore

Training is essential for all.

Without investing in your staff’s performance and their continued development, there is a real danger that this will cost your organisation a lot more than the training itself. It will cost their productivity, efficiency, motivation and retention.

The last two years has seen a massive change in work force dynamics, with the “Great Resignation” making retention and recruitment one of the major issues for companies.

And the rate of change in the workplace shows no sign of abating: hybrid working and the expansion of AI throw up massive challenges for businesses and employees alike. There is already a skills gap preventing business expansion and upskilling is required if a business is to survive this upheaval.

The dangers of ignoring training

In his book, The Great Principle of Management, Michael Leboeuf states:

“If you believe that training is expensive, it is because you do not know what ignorance costs.”

He identifies that there are real dangers to an organisation that does not invest in training. There will be significant cases of low motivation, decreasing productivity and low retention rates. In comparison, those companies that do regular training see higher levels of loyalty, better management and increased efficiencies within their teams. This investment also filters down from the individual to the bottom line with the right training leading to a measurable impact on profitability and often significant return on investment (ROI).

So, with this in mind, can you afford not to offer regular training opportunities?

5 key reasons why training your employees is vitally important

1 – Investment in an individual is an investment in your organisation

If you decide to send just one employee to be coached or trained in a certain area the ‘rule of three’ will apply. This means that at the very least three other people will benefit from the training.

Furthermore, the influence of good training will enhance your customer services. Richard Branson famously said that if you take care of your employees, then it is they who will take care of the clients. Therefore, by putting employees first and attending to their training needs, you’ll find positive repercussions with your clients too.

A survey conducted by PwC showed that 52% of those looking for jobs said that ‘opportunities for career progression’ made an organisation compelling to work for. In his 2021 Definitive Guide to Employee Experience, Josh Bershin shows that growth opportunities are one of 6 factors of an “irresistible organisation’ and that encouraging continuous development is an essential element of a superior employee experience.

Put simply, if you don’t have the evidence that you invest in your people through training and support their career progression, then you will not attract the best people to work for you.

2 – Without continued development, an individual will become underqualified

Doing the same job for 5 years without any formal training means the skilled individual you first employed essentially becomes underqualified for their job.  Whilst we acknowledge that people learn through their day-to-day work and interactions with colleagues and senior leaders, without any formal training there is only so far that a professional can maintain the status of remaining ‘truly qualified’. It is why proof of continued professional development is essential for many professions.

External training provides insight into new or more efficient methods of working – whether this is something very practical (like the latest technology) or more pastoral (like the best ways to manage). Furthermore, well-trained individuals become excellent future managers. This continued desire to learn and adapt will give you more agile employees who can take on new challenges and, eventually, exert this influence over their team members.

3 – Investing in your people increases motivation

Combining training with effective performance management is the best way to evidence your commitment to investing in your people. Deciding on your training needs in combination with performance management reviews and actually taking the time to ask individuals in which areas they would like to develop, will motivate them and make them feel valued.

This overt commitment to their development further enhances your business’ reputation as an investor in people.

Furthermore, when an organisation encourages an environment of continual learning and development, this becomes an integrated part of day-to-day working. Individuals will be motivated to be more creative and innovative. The understanding of the power of continued learning will encourage the use of initiative in an ongoing quest to find ways to improve ways of working. It promotes a growth mindset towards every task.

4 – Training identifies gaps and prospects

Any training programme is incredibly revealing. Trainees are often encouraged to share their experiences and give examples. It is a key part of TWI’s programmes – interaction and contribution.

If you choose to train one team in a certain area and they share this with colleagues, you may also find other teams express an interest and identify a need for similar.

Leadership training is a great example. It is often found that when leadership and management training is offered employees come forward to identify themselves as wanting more responsibility. Hence, you are shown who wants to work towards a management role or those who lack the confidence to do so.

As mentioned above, a performance management review is also an excellent opportunity to discuss training needs and find out where an individual feels they need support or would like to extend their skills. More revealing is to also ask individuals where they see gaps in knowledge within their teams and in their managers.

Have you heard about the Leadership perception gap survey from our trusted partners, Engagement Multiplier? Access it for free here:

Free Leadership Perception Gap Survey

5 – Training directly correlates with rates of staff retention

Offering training in new skills and developing an individual’s career prospects increases rates of retention. Many organisations mistakenly worry that paying for training will mean that staff members upskill and move on. However, evidence suggests that training allows for more internal promotion and more employee loyalty.

By offering training, your high-performing individuals will also be challenged to push themselves further. An IBM study revealed that employees who do not feel they are developing in a company are 12 times more likely to leave it.  Through training, your people can learn ways to work smarter. They will be more willing to break habits and try new ideas. Importantly, they will feel challenged and ‘pushed’ to develop further – there is no space for cruising along!

It must also be considered that the cost of recruitment can never be underestimated, especially when directly compared with the cost of training.

Ready to invest more in your people?

We would love to help train your people and ensure they feel motivated, engaged and innovative in their work.

Explore our broad range of programmes and speak to us about how we can curate a bespoke series of trainings to meet your needs.

This blog was first published in 2021 and has been updated in November 2023.