Every employee can benefit from a solid employee development program, whether they are salaried or hourly. Yet it's easily forgotten or let slide in the pressure of everyday business. Some days you might feel like it's hard enough to get through the day, much less manage and create a continued and future plan for employee development. But as a business owner, you can’t afford to cut employee development from your budget.
Why should you press on and try to make it happen in your business? Here are 5 reasons:
1. It helps attract and keep great employees.
Employee retention is a huge challenge (and expense) for employers. So is the hiring process. Having a solid employee development program can help make that less of a burden.
When it comes to attracting and hiring the best employees, here’s why a solid employee development program matters:
- It is a benefit. Employee development can be seen as a benefit, and that is something employees weigh in the "pros" column when finding a job. Hourly employees, especially, don't always receive the benefits that salaried workers in larger companies are accustomed to. Providing employee development as part of the hiring package gives you a competitive advantage over other similar jobs and wages.
- It builds loyalty. Loyal employees aren't prone to quitting. That's what employee retention is all about. Knowing that an employer is willing to provide training and development makes an employee feel important and it makes them loyal.
- It increases your reputation. Having a reputation as a good employer — one who cares enough to provide training — is great both for hiring new employees as well as how customers see you. Word gets out about who is good to work for, and that can affect sales as well as the hiring process.
- It brings in good people. By offering training, continuing education, conference attendance, or even something as simple as a book allowance, with the understanding that you expect them to participate, you will attract employees who are looking to better themselves. That's an employee you want to hire in the first place.
2. It helps you create promotable employees.
Hiring managers and other upper-level employees from within is a good idea. Who else is more familiar with your day-to-day business, and with your customers? But not every long-time employee is ready for such positions, and promoting them when they aren't leads to problems.
A proper employee development program will:
- Create a pool of capable workers
- Create workers ready for promotion.
- Help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your employees.
Employee development both trains your current employees for possible future promotion from daily worker to management as well as shows you which employees have aptitude for such a promotion. Better to learn about strengths and weaknesses in training rather than out on the sales floor with actual customers.
3. It keeps employees engaged at work.
Bored employees are a recipe for disaster. They easily take on negative attitudes, sloppy work habits, and cause damage to relationships with other employees and customers.
Employee development is a way that you can keep your employees engaged at work to prevent that kind of boredom from setting in. Interesting training programs, and future development events that are fun or challenging to look forward to — this removes the plodding daily feel to a job that leads to that dreaded boredom.
4. It helps you save and earn money.
A good employee is like money in the bank.
That well-trained, confident, and engaged employee we've been talking about? They are going to do better work for you in the long run. That's going to help save you money, as employees become more efficient and proficient. Employee development also has the potential to increase sales and output. Either way, that's good for your bottom line, and that's exactly why Sarvadi classified employee development not as an expense, but as an investment.
5. It forces you to look to the future.
Employee development is a continuing thing, and that means that you always have to have an eye on the future. You'll be asking yourself:
- What kind of leadership will I need?
- What will my customers need from my employees?
- What industry changes might I expect?
Since your employees are integral to any answer you might come up with for these questions, their training and development are tightly involved, too.
That's what forces you to think ahead, because employee development programs don't happen without planning. The training that worked last year might not work next year. Your business culture might be shifting according to customer and industry needs. You might need to attract a different kind of employee and your development offerings need to shift to reflect that.
An employee development plan that's going to work necessarily forces you to consider the future path of your business. That's a good thing. Staying on your toes as far as relevant employee development is concerned means you'll be thinking ahead of the curve for your business.