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10 ways learning and development can save your company

Business men overlooking work on computer

A company can take many approaches to better equip employees for their professional duties. A common effective option is corporate learning and development programs.

What is learning and development?

Organizational learning and development is the process of upskilling employees to ensure that their skills align with the company’s procedures and goals. This is particularly beneficial if the company is expanding or altering its objectives. However, any company can pursue learning and development to improve business outcomes. What learning and development will look like depends heavily on the individual company’s resources, business model and management style.

Why is learning and development important?

Learning and development can improve a wide range of outcomes for both employers and employees. These outcomes include opportunities such as improved innovation, increased productivity and a better work culture.

The following workplace benefits may be gleaned from the effective implementation of a learning and development program.

1. Attracting new talent

Opportunities to gain career skills and experience can be viewed as a substantial perk for prospective employees. Furthermore, by advertising training and development offerings, a company demonstrates a willingness to help employees grow. In this way, a company might appeal to ambitious individuals looking for long-term jobs. 

2. Increasing employee retention

Learning and development initiatives can increase employee retention in three major ways: offering employees valuable career development, demonstrating employees’ long-term prospects within the company, and solidifying employees’ professional identity within the company.

Ongoing career development is often extremely valuable to ambitious employees. Therefore, by offering such opportunities, a company will encourage employees to stay for this perk and also appeal to highly ambitious individuals.

Meanwhile, by taking the time to upskill employees and demonstrate possibilities for future development, a company demonstrates to employees that it views them as a long-term asset. Finally, time spent growing together with the company may lead employees to develop loyalty.

Boeing project manager Dennis Trujillo exemplifies the benefits of learning and development. Read how he built his career on education, company loyalty and training others.

Leading by example

Boeing project manager Dennis Trujillo exemplifies the benefits of learning and development. Read how he built his career on education, company loyalty and training others.

3. Increasing employee engagement

Learning and development programs typically offer extensive opportunities to interact with other employees. The programs not only empower individuals to become more familiar with their co-workers, but they also might lead to more productive relationships. (Employees who know each other feel more comfortable reaching out for information or resources.)

Furthermore, ongoing development can fill times during which employees may otherwise fall idle. Active development is more effective than “busy work” in this regard because employees are more likely to see the value of their efforts. 

4. Improving employee morale

By ensuring that employees are well-trained to tackle their jobs, learning and development can drastically improve employee confidence. Additionally, a company that demonstrates it views employees as a long-term investment inspires a greater sense of job security among employees.

Those two factors may reduce some common anxieties among workers. Learning and development can go one step further by empowering employees and making them feel like a truly independent and valued part of the company. 

5. Improving performance

One of the main goals of learning and development is to improve overall employee performance. The skills and morale afforded by these programs may bolster employee performance. 

6. Improving the bottom line

First and foremost, if a company improves its employees’ performance, it is likely to also improve its bottom line. However, that is not the only correlation between development programs and revenue.

A company that invests in loyal employees, high levels of professional aptitude, and progressive innovation is more likely to attract more high-profile clients. That client base also might become increasingly loyal, providing further stability to company profits.

7. Developing a company's reputation

By attracting loyal, high-profile clients, a company also might make itself more visible in its industry. Not only that, but a brand also may gain further positive associations due to its business relations with and approval from well-regarded clients.

By actively developing the knowledge and skills of its workforce, a company can ensure it’s prepared to maintain the positive image it cultivates. Development and innovation can become part of a company’s public image.

8. Developing a company culture

As mentioned, learning and development programs are a good way to introduce employees and increase their comfort level. Those relationships can deepen and become more productive as co-workers begin to view each other as collaborators for the achievement of long-term goals.

Additionally, training employees as a group encourages them to develop positive relationships in tandem with their efforts to reach objectives, thereby teaching them to work cohesively. Employees might even take the opportunity to create social structures such as employee resource groups.

Finally, the confidence that professional development confers on employees may make them more willing to participate in work events and speak up about ideas they have to contribute to a company’s culture. 

9. Promoting innovation

Developing employee performance can not only improve employees’ confidence and expand their skill sets, but it also might encourage them to seek opportunities for progress and growth. As such, learning and development can empower employees to look forward and feel self-assured about unique ideas.

This is an extremely valuable mindset for businesses, as it encourages profitable innovations. The opportunity to innovate may in turn give employees a positive view of the company and their role within it. 

10. Encouraging networking

Learning and development programs not only promote interaction between employees, but between trainees and outside industry professionals as well. Conferences, workshops and mentorships are examples of opportunities for employees to network.

This can potentially benefit company interests as employees cultivate valuable relationships in the industry. Trainees’ interactions with other companies may put a company on the radar for other businesses.

Explore professional development opportunities at University of Phoenix!

How to develop an employee-training program

Important steps for developing an employee-training program include:

  • Assessing goals: Assess the short- and long-term goals you would like your training program to help achieve.
  • Identifying skill gaps: Identify which skills your employees need to better serve business goals.
  • Setting achievable objectives: By spacing out training objectives, you can more effectively work toward your larger goals and measure progress.
  • Designating a training team: Decide who will be in charge of conducting training initiatives.
  • Acquiring training materials: Ensure that you have training materials that effectively support your program, such as informational and review materials.
  • Soliciting employee feedback: Ask employees before, during and after the program which training initiatives they think are effective and which need adjustment.
  • Creating review materials: Ensure that you have a review process to encourage employees to retain the information after the program is over. For example, conduct regular quizzes.
  • Evaluating training strategies and resources: Research different training strategies, as well as options for pursuing them, from external and internal sources. For maximum effectiveness, choose strategies based on recognized adult learning theories and principles and general educational learning theories.
  • Developing a training action plan: Determine what strategies you will use for your training program and what trajectory the training program will take. Use this information to create a specific action plan for training.
  • Preparing to revise the program as needed: Use business analytics and human input to review the efficacy of the training, investigate areas for opportunity and adjust the program as needed.

As mentioned, before jumping into a training program, a company should carefully weigh the options for training strategies.

Learning and development strategies

Effective learning and development strategies include:

  • Holding lectures
  • Screening video materials
  • Conducting simulations
  • Distributing group assignments
  • Distributing individual assignments
  • Assigning one-on-one mentorships
  • Leading workshops
  • Encouraging employees to attend professional development courses from formal institutions
  • Encouraging conference attendance

In general, learning and development programs benefit both a business and its employees by providing new opportunities and building professional resources.

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