Cost-Benefit Evaluation of Continued Employee Training

Our workplaces are at interesting crossroads between learning how to accommodate a multigenerational workforce and shifting training methods to better fit this new talent mix. It used to be standard practice for companies to initiate training on the employee’s first day, and then taper off around the 90-day mark. But business leaders now recognize the strong correlation between continued employee development (cost) and staff retention (benefit). So where does this analysis net out?

Turnover is costly, and as companies acknowledge training ROI as a pain point, training budgets are on the rise — and in some cases doubling — to counter this issue. Employee development and retention are directly linked, and businesses that have invested more in longer-term training are experiencing higher productivity and profitability, reduced turnover and an enhanced company culture as a result — the latter being exponentially more expensive to fix than any training budget line item.

When factoring in millennials, their preference and desire is to learn at work. An interesting article about managing the young talent from PwC shares from experience that “millennials want to experience as much training as possible. If your organization is more focused on developing high potentials, or more senior people, then you could risk losing future talent if you fail to engage millennials with development opportunities.”

In this knowledge economy, there are few things more important to focus on than employees if you plan to have longevity. It’s the key investment into your company’s future. When leaders enable their team’s future success with new knowledge and learning, employees feel more valued and help shape a positive culture. This leads to a higher retention rate, which equates to more growth opportunities. Evidently, the benefits outweigh the costs.

Kim Wallace, a 17-year veteran of the staffing industry and executive vice president of Hire Dynamics, was interviewed on the topic of how businesses are evolving new hire programs to maximize training ROI. Among the insight she offered, one of the most valuable takeaways was this: The key to leveraging your training investment is following up to ensure the information, concepts and skills are being learned, but more importantly, how they are retained and maximized.

Here are some suggestions for how to carry out this practice:

  • Establish early that employee development is important to your culture. Make sure employees understand the company’s willingness to ensure successful professional development and the future growth of the company. Set scheduled follow-up meetings at intervals that will allow you to discuss and track successes.
  • Offer different mediums that address the different ways people learn. Whether training takes place through webinars, lab training, computer-based online learning, one-on-one sessions, self-study or classroom-style assemblies, creating options that allow employees to choose the learning method in which they thrive increases the chance of information being retained.
  • Leverage a business partner as an extension of your employee onboarding process. This partnership can be with a staffing company, search firm, human capital consultancy or the like to ensure a smooth transition of the employee to the team and culture. Here, the key is that the training offered is ultimately tied to the company’s long-term goals and growth objectives.

When high-growth companies arrive at the cost-benefit crossroads of whether it’s worth the investment for ongoing staff development, know that the sound decision is all about customization. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, tailor employee training to leverage your own company’s culture to more effectively drive the behavior and activities. The result will allow your organization to achieve its long-term goals while safeguarding your training ROI. What has your experience been on this topic? Have you used a similar approach or can you offer a different take to the conversation?