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Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Post: Benefits and Value of Continued Learning and Training

Today's post is written by Tim Hoff from American Trainco, who specializes in maintenance training.  Tim shares 11 benefits of continued learning and training in our workforce that I think we all will find valuable. 

Offering continuing education opportunities for employees has several benefits for employers. One of them is that a workforce that is well-trained provides an important productivity enhancement. This creates more dedication within the employees who value education benefits.

Specialized training increases value
Employees with specialized training provide more value to the company. They realize that specialized training makes them more valuable to the company and more marketable. Education benefits that include tuition reimbursement show that the company is making a future investment in their employees.

Company sponsored continued training results in employee retention
Another advantage to companies that provide continued training opportunities is increased employee loyalty. Studies have shown that up to 61% of employees who are provided with specialized training benefits remain with the company for five years or longer. This is a strong reason to empower employees with additional educational benefits.

Continued training improves performance
It is a proven fact that companies that invest in the continued training and proficiency of their employees enjoy improved performance, lower attrition rates and a greater overall return on their investment. One organization designed a training program for their IT department that reduced their rate of attrition from 20 percent to 10 percent in just three years.

Tribal knowledge is not a sustainable continuing training option
In addition to continuing training programs for existing employees, it is important to invest in initial training programs for new employees on an ongoing basis. Many organizations invest in the initial training of the startup personnel and then rely on tribal knowledge from then on. Relying on on-the-job training via tribal knowledge to train new employees can cause a break down in understanding proper business systems.

Current trends indicate a huge need for continued training
In "The New American Workplace", authors James O'Toole and Edward E. Lawler III highlight several trends to show that organizations must focus on continual learning and associated job training. These trends have to do with the following issues:

  • Rapid changes in technology
  • The exportation of jobs 
  • Downsizing, deficiency in formal education
  • Global competition 
  • The aging workforce. 
Some companies leave continued training up to the individual
Despite the fact that many organizations focus on training, individual development for specific job responsibilities still tends to be neglected. Additionally, many companies feel that career development is an individual responsibility rather than a company responsibility. Not all employers feel responsible to provide development opportunities.

During bad economies continued training budgets get cut
When economic times are difficult, continued training and development becomes a prime target for the necessary budget cuts. Nevertheless, O'Toole and Lawler emphasize a social and moral responsibility for organizations to develop employees beyond their current job and to provide opportunities to learn and grow.

Knowledge based societies require continuous training
Since we have shifted to a knowledge-based economy, the need for continuing training is greater than ever before. Trends in the business world such as rapid advances in technology, changing definitions of competencies relating to leadership and global competition are all fueling the need to create specialized continuous learning programs. The numerous advantages that come from continuous learning and the expansion of human capital knowledge and increased business performance create an urgency for companies to provide budgets for this.

A strong project management solution is very helpful in overseeing training programs
HR is the most likely division of the company to take the key leadership role in putting continuous training programs into action and oversee them. They can oversee the focus, strategy, design and implementation of the training and development programs that their respective organizations need to provide. In some instances, in-house training programs can be created. In other cases, budgets need to be put in place to outsource the training. Either way, a strong project management system is critical in overseeing the continued training agenda of the company.

Intellectual capital is the competitive advantage
Other trends stress the importance of training and development. Intellectual capital is now a critical factor for competitive advantage in today's competitive world. The development of training programs and associated partnerships for knowledge sharing are essential to the competitive viability of cutting edge organizations.

The investment is worth the return
Continued training is clearly essential for maintaining the investment an organization has made in the development and/or deployment of any new systems. Institutionalizing a continued education program enables organizations to improve project management practices resulting in better execution and significantly increased profits. The organizations that recognize the benefits and value of providing continuing training opportunities to employees will be better able to compete in a rapidly changing world.

About the Author: Tim Hoff works for American Trainco in various roles including marketing, writing and assuring that training instruction is of the highest quality. A market leader within the training industry Trainco provides various training courses (electrical safety, HVAC, plant management, etc.) across North America.

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