How Employers Can Maximize Their Benefit From Employee Development

Your Investment in People Means Increased Productivity and Employee Loyalty

492693813.jpg
Cultura RM/Igor Emmerich/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

The right employee training, development, and education, at the right time, provides big payoffs for the employer in increased productivity, knowledge, loyalty, and contribution from employees. Learn the approaches that will guarantee that your training and employee development bring a return on your investment.

The most recent Association for Talent Development (ATD) State of the Industry report says that employers are continuing to target employee development with increased spending.

This spending has increased every year since 2010. The $23 increase in spending in 2015 up from 2014's expenditure of $1,229 is the largest single-year growth since 2010 when organizations were recovering from the recession.

The ATD report says:

"Spending on learning programs continued to be a priority for organizations in 2015, according to the Association for Talent Development's 2016 State of the Industry report. For the fourth consecutive year, ATD's definitive annual review of learning investment found that employers, on average, spent more on direct learning expenditure per worker than in the previous year.

"Another bright piece of news for industry professionals: This increased investment was coupled with employees receiving more formal learning hours, according to data collected in an online survey of 310 organizations representing a diverse range of industries."

The ATD study also found that:

"On average, organizations spent $1,252 per employee in 2015 on direct learning expenditure, according to the 2016 report, which is sponsored by Bellevue University and the Training Associates. This figure captures the design, administration, and delivery costs associated with learning programs, including the salaries of talent development staff.

"Is this sizable investment being directed to the in-house design, delivery, and administration of learning programs or is it being funneled into supplier services? In 2015, for the average organization, 28 percent of direct learning expenditure went to outsourced or external activities (which include consulting services, external content development and licenses, and workshops and training programs delivered by external providers), similar to previous years."

Approximately 11 percent of the expenditure went to employee development providers in the form of tuition reimbursement for the employee. Slightly over 60 percent of the employer spending was invested in internal expenditures such as video, manuals, training needs assessment, and trainer salaries.

Ensuring That the Use of Training Is Beneficial for Organizations

With this investment of hours and dollars in employee development, organizations need to make certain that their investments are wise. Every employee in every organization has different needs for training. They each have different modes of training from which they can learn most successfully.

Employees have different expectations from developmental opportunities. But, the majority of your employees expect that you will invest in their long-term development.

According to the ATD study, direct expenditure on employee development as a percentage of payroll increased from 4 to 4.3 percent.

Important Aspects of Employee Development and Training

How training needs are determined, how training is viewed by employees, and how training is delivered become critically important issues. Training trends and methods for gaining knowledge, other than traditional classroom presentations, such as coaching and mentoring, take center stage.

New employee orientation, or new employee onboarding, is a significant factor in helping new employees hit the ground running.

Training that helps each employee grow their skills and knowledge to better perform their current job is appreciated as a benefit. The opportunity for development also increases employee loyalty, and thus retention, and helps you attract the best possible employees.

 

According to the ATD survey report, the top three areas of training and development content in 2015 were invested in managerial and supervisory development (12 percent), mandatory and compliance training (11 percent), and processes, procedures, and business practices (10 percent).

Transfer of training from the training provider, whether online or in a classroom, to the job, is also increasingly reviewed as you invest more resources in training.

Learn the approaches to employee development that will guarantee a return on your investment and ensure employee loyalty. Organizations are increasingly asking for monetary justification that the developmental opportunities that you provide for your employees produce results—and you will need to be prepared to demonstrate your results.

Options for Education and Development for Employees

Options for employee development are magnifying due to these factors:

So, sending an employee off for a one-day seminar or a week-long workshop is only one of many options that exist now.

The American Society for Training and Development, now the Association for Talent Development (ATD),  has traditionally recommended a minimum of 40 hours of training a year for every employee. This is consistent with the emphasis employees place on the opportunity to grow and develop both their skills and career while in your employ.

The chance for ongoing development, is one of the top five factors employees want to experience at work. In fact, the inability of an employee to see progress is an often cited reason for leaving an employer.

As a retention strategy for your preferred employees, employee development rates highly. Only the employees' perception of their salary and benefits as competitive, and reporting to a manager they like, rate higher.

14 Options for Employee Development

When you think about education, training, and employee development, options exist externally, internally, and online. Choices range from seminars to book clubs to mentoring programs.

In the ATD survey, over 60 percent of the expenditures employers made on employee development and education were spent internally so it's important to recognize their contribution. 

Here is a summary of the existing alternatives to help your employees continue to grow. For recruiting, retention, and managing change and continuous improvement, adopt all of these practices within your organization.

External Education, Employee Development, and Training Options

  • Seminars, workshops, and classes come in every variety imaginable, both in-person and online.
  • Take field trips to other companies and organizations.
  • Colleges and universities, and occasionally, local adult education, community colleges or technical schools provide classes. Universities are reaching out to adult learners with evening and weekend MBA and business programs.
  • Professional association seminars, meetings, and conferences offer training opportunities.

Internal Education, Employee Development, and Training Options

What Your Organization Can Do to Facilitate Continuous Learning and Regular Employee Development Opportunities

  • Create a learning environment. Communicate the expectation for learning.
  • Offer work time support for learning. Make online learning and reading part of every employee's day.
  • Provide a professional library.
  • Offer college tuition reimbursement.
  • Enable flexible schedules so employees can attend classes.
  • Pay for professional association memberships and conference attendance annually for employees.

Employee development opportunities are crucial to the ongoing growth and progress of the people you employ. They are also critical to ensure their retention and success. Be creative to provide diverse opportunities for employee development. The opportunities you have to train and develop your employees are expanding every year.

Why not take advantage of the opportunities when development is one of your employees' most significant expectations from an employer?