If you needed surgery and you had your choice of surgeons, would you choose the newly hired doctor who had only performed the surgery a handful of times, or the seasoned surgeon who had been working for 20 years? Odds are you’d want the one with the most experience. This is the smart choice. It’s easy to see the value of experience and skill in this example, but the principle remains the same no matter what your business is.
It’s important to encourage your employees to seek out education and training in their area of expertise. Employees who are up to date on industry standards and practices are less likely to make mistakes, more likely to be efficient, and overall, cost the company less money. They are also more likely to feel like valued members of the organization, making them more likely to be happy on the job. This can decrease your employee turnover, which of course costs you more money in recruiting and training.
Here are seven ways you can encourage your employees to seek out self-education and additional training.
1. Create an incentive program
By creating some sort of incentive program, you will make your employees want to seek out self-education and training programs. Better-trained employees are more likely to win internal competitions and perform better on routine tasks. If you decide to create an incentive program, make sure to also provide opportunities to improve.
2. Provide e-learning courses
E-learning courses are a wonderful way to engage your employees. Employees will likely be more interested in doing the training if they can do it from home in their spare time. They will be especially likely to do an e-course if you allow them to use billable hours to take the course.
3. Develop social training opportunities
Create training opportunities that employees can engage in together after work. Some possible ideas are obstacle courses that teach homework, group activities like laser tag, or a networking breakfast or lunch.
4. Provide interactive resources
Interactive resources like YouTube videos, websites, quizzes, or podcasts create fun, engaging opportunities for your employees to seek out training. This type of training is also effective because it allows employees to work at their own pace and reduces boredom with the training.
5. Optimize employee strengths
Start your employees out as generalists during a training program. Once they have finished the program, allow them to grow based on their specific skills. By allowing your employees to grow based on their strengths, you create a company filled with diverse talents and encourage your employees to wear multiple hats within your organization.
6. Give employees a task (instead of training)
By giving employees a task instead of directly offering training, you will encourage them to seek out the guidance they need. You will point out any holes in their training, and encourage them to get the extra assistance they need. If you choose to do this, be sure to provide training after the fact.
7. Expose employees to activities that will foster growth
Invite employees to activities and events that will encourage them to push ahead with their careers. Give them extra responsibilities, invite them to networking events, or introduce them to high-level executives within your community. Show them the benefits of moving up within your organization.
Providing training and education to your employees has a measured upfront cost. But it’s a small cost compared to the consequences of not providing these opportunities. Employees who are improperly trained are more likely to cause problems and incur costs for your business. Also, these opportunities empower your employees to take responsibility for their careers and their futures within your company. You will give them the tools they need to be better employees and better teammates. So, what steps will you take to train and educate your employees?
Complexity is a recurring challenge for management, impedes competitiveness, and lowers employee morale and retention. Learn how to simplify your organization in Executive Summary: Taming Organisational Complexity—Start at the Top.