Employee training should be a top priority for all businesses looking to hire new staff, yet the percentage of people participating in work-related training is considerably low with only 23 per cent of workers aged 15-74 undergoing such training, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Many business owners may feel that their employees have adequate skills and don’t require further training. After all, they’ve invested in finding the right candidate for the job and may feel that their existing onboarding program is sufficient.
But there are other advantages in training existing staff, as well as some major risks if staff development is neglected.
New and improved skills
As technological innovation accelerates rapidly, employees can struggle to keep up, and businesses may miss out on the full benefits of tech investment if staff aren’t trained to properly use new software.
But it’s not just about tech skills – “soft skills” such as communication, customer service, creativity and teamwork are vital, particularly in people-centric sectors like hospitality and retail. With training, staff will be able to better manage challenging customers and more effectively upsell products and services. One study identified a 14.5 per cent increase in employee work performance in selected companies due to their employees’ acquisition of soft skills.
Increased workplace efficiency
Organisations that invest in employee training and development also report 11 per cent greater profitability year-on-year. With better knowledge of their role, responsibilities, and workplace operations, employee confidence increases, leading to greater productivity and engagement. This translates to a better work environment for staff, clients and customers, resulting in higher satisfaction rates and better customer experience.
Improved health and safety
Keeping employee skills up to date reduces the likelihood of mishaps in the workplace. Even if your staff aren’t working with heavy machinery, they are still likely to face some workplace hazards. Prevention is the best medicine, and workplace training is the best way to maintain employee and customer safety, and reduce unnecessary costs. In fact, according to a Safe Work Australia report, the economy could be $28.6 billion larger annually if the average 623,663 work-related injuries or illnesses each year were avoided. Furthermore, training not only saves cost, but can help companies steer clear of potential reputational fallout and legal issues caused by avoidable accidents.
Wellness training programs are likewise able to produce positive psychological effects. Mindfulness-based training has been shown to improve employee wellbeing, satisfaction and engagement.
Better company culture
Workplace training can improve staff collaboration as people can engage with their peers, creating a sense of company cohesion and boosting employee engagement, particularly in the era of remote and hybrid working, and with a distributed or shift-based workforce.
Upskilling and training your staff are also great ways to demonstrate that you value your workers. An Employee Wellbeing Report by LinkedIn found that when employees feel appreciated by their employers, it enhances the overall company culture – employees are 3.2 times more likely to be happy at work, and 3.7 times more likely to recommend their workplace to others.
Higher employee retention
Companies who invest in workplace training experience demonstrate far lower staff turnover – LinkedIn research showed that employee training led to a 53% reduction in attrition. More than 90% of employees also said they would stay at a company longer if they had invested in their learning and development.
Ensuring employees receive workplace training prepares them for their current job and future responsibilities. Promoting a skilled, trained and trusted employee to a higher role is also more reliable and cost-effective time and money-wise, than hiring externally.
At the end of the day, investing in people is investing in your business. Training staff to excel in their roles and be comfortable and productive with new technology creates workers who grow with your company and contribute to its success more effectively.
By Thomas Amos, CEO & Co-Founder, Sidekicker
This article was first published by Kochie’s Business Builders