We’ve all heard it: training your employees is invaluable. And we know that it is true, so why does this always go to the bottom of our To-Do lists? Why is employee training too often met with push back instead of push forward? Because as we build dashboards and reports on the company’s bottom line, the value of training is not easily measured. When training is included in employee goals it is typically as a vague ’40 hours a year’ line item, which each employee then needs to define, with no resulting ROI figures. By the end of the year if those hours were used at all, it may have been on things hastily chosen to meet the requirement.
Let’s look at the facts. Harvard Business Review is always a good place to start, and according to their research:
“Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits. We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps. Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching – things they also value highly.”
How costly are early exits? There was a sad time in industry when it was believed that frequent turnover was good business. Yet, in today’s world where skill and internal knowledge go together to streamline our operations, an early exit may cost us far more than we realize. In a 2010 University of Berkley study, the average cost to replace a blue-collar worker was $2,000. For professional and managerial roles it was about $7,000. Those are just the costs for the replacement event itself; this does not take in to account the associated loss of productivity. The average, $4,500 per replacement event, can really hit your bottom line: if you replace just 10 employees a year your costs easily top $45,000! Putting just a third of that into a training program that retained half of those employees…let’s see…that would be $15K cost to save $22,500 in replacement costs? You’re still ahead, and again, even before considering productivity loss.
But, is that employee worth keeping? That’s up to management, assuming we made a good hire and remembering that you can train skills. In our ever-changing techno world we need that employee to continue to improve critical thinking and problem solving, communication skills, and collaboration with a variety of colleagues to bring us the necessary creativity and innovation to make our company the best in our industry. By taking control of your employee training program, you can ensure your employees are getting the training they need to support your company’s goals.
Employee retention is not the only value realized by ongoing training. Our back-office systems, Microsoft office tools, CRM programs, CAD systems, accounting packages, etc. all continue to improve and challenge us. In a world where third graders learn how to embed links into PowerPoint presentations, how do we help our own employees stay on top of continual technological change? In the past, the “continuing education credits” were only for certified positions such as CPA’s. Today, it is a must in all fields. This on-going training will increase your overall operational efficiency. We at Cornerstone have witnessed an accounting department that was twice the necessary size because their staff was so poorly trained in the system they were using. That’s like owning a Ferrari and dragging it around with an old plow horse! Take just a moment to imagine what 3 or 4 additional salaries would do to your bottom line.
Next, let’s look at the cost to the longevity of your organization. Yes, the organization itself. Are you investing in your succession plan? You can hire the person who graduates at the top of their class and manage to keep them around for ten years. But ask yourself, have you groomed and trained this person to be a leader in your organization tomorrow? Without continued training in strategic planning and leadership, the entire organization can flounder. If this seems like a long-term vision – it is. Developing a culture of continued training and excellence where we encourage creativity is how we will survive. This mentality isn’t only for the tech sector. We all need continual training to be the best in our own fields.
In short, it is important that employees get the training they believe that they need. But it is also important that companies give their employees training necessary to support their bottom line. A comprehensive training program can satisfy both objectives, and actually save you money.
There is no time like the present to elevate your employee growth through training. Let’s get together and discuss ideas that are tailored to your company’s direction. Also, check out our YouTube video “Developing Your Training Plan” at
This video is designed to help you get started, and best of all – it’s free!
“Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That’s why we train so hard.” –Overheard from a Navy Seal