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Employee training: What a well-trained workforce is able to achieve

08/12/2022 2022/12

"The only thing worse than training employees and then having them leave is not training them and having them stay." This quote is attributed to Henry Ford, and it outlines the quandary regarding employee training from a company's perspective quite well: what if I invest a lot of money in training my employees, and they take their knowledge with them to a new employer? On the other hand, can I afford to tackle the tasks of the future with a loyal but stagnant workforce?

Employee training is a staple for many companies. But there are different views among employers regarding training objectives and content. Should training only strengthen professional skills, or should your employees grow in personal areas as well? Effective training programs for your employees can go a long way - and deliver a much higher return on investment. A well-designed employee training program can boost performance, improve skills, standardize processes, reduce turnover, increase data privacy and information security, and more. Sometimes investing in employee training can seem like an unnecessary expense when you're trying to keep operating costs down and maybe even eliminate some positions to cut costs. But the benefits of investing in your own employees far outweigh the cost of employee training. Not only will you maintain and increase your competitiveness, but your workforce will be more motivated.

Why should you train your employees?

Employee training pays off in several ways: Your employees are up to date with their profession, talent is developed internally instead of recruited externally, your employees see your investment and thank you with increased engagement. Especially when we dissolve the term HR as human resources or (even worse for my taste) human capital, regular investment should really be self-evident.
 
First and foremost, it's important for management to understand what employees:want from their careers. If you don't understand your employees' needs, they may feel unappreciated and choose to leave or perform at a sub-par level. Often, few of them are interested in a traditional career with leadership ambitions, but rather in challenging tasks that allow them to grow and fulfill themselves to some extent. Keep in mind that most people have chosen their profession based on their inclinations and abilities - this makes it obvious that nobody likes to work with techniques or procedures from the day before yesterday. Therefore, professional training will help your employees to be more successful and satisfied at work if it means further development within their area of expertise. 
 
Because of the increased satisfaction and self-fulfillment, employee training also reduces employee turnover. Employee turnover can be a huge cost to a company due to the vacancy costs associated with unfilled positions. After all, it can take several weeks or months to find a replacement - followed by the time it takes to train that person. This means lost productivity and revenue that can be avoided with the right training program. In this context, developing existing talent internally is a promising strategy, especially in times of skills shortages. Perhaps you have a team assistant who has a knack for numbers and would like to move into accounting or controlling if this is supported by suitable qualification measures? If you are struggling to find qualified employees for the HR department, you can also create internal solutions through HR training, for example by having technical experts from the departments spend part of their working time on specialized recruiting.
And of course, employee training, for example in communication, consulting and service, can help you meet your customers' expectations more easily. Better communication, increased quality and fewer mistakes can lead to repeat customers and positive word of mouth.

How does employee training benefit your business?

Better communication - A well-trained workforce means employees can communicate more clearly on content about professional issues, but also with each other on an interpersonal level, thanks to communication courses, for example. This also enables better communication with customers and suppliers, which in turn leads to better relationships and better service.

Increased productivity - Well-trained employees can complete tasks in a timely and efficient manner through courses that make them more skilled in their field. Thanks to this employee training, your workforce understands the objectives of their tasks and also knows their own strengths and weaknesses. Among other things, this makes it easier to meet deadlines and achieve goals faster, leading to better overall business performance.

Reduced risk of accidents - Accidents are costly to any business and can affect the company's reputation. By employing people who can quickly identify hazards while being familiar with safety procedures and practices, you can reduce the risk of accidents. 
Reduce the risk of errors - When employees don't know exactly what they're doing and/or why they're doing it, they're more likely to make mistakes. This can lead to wasted time, materials and even money. Employees who understand their job because they have been sent to employee training courses are (likely) to make fewer costly mistakes.

Employee training with ARTS starts with one click.
Your employees are your company's flagship, so you need to make sure they are prepared for the job.
Your employees are your company's flagship, so you need to make sure they are prepared for the job.

How to train your employees effectively

It goes without saying that employee training should fit the company and the respective areas of activity. We can distinguish the following types of trainings here:

  • Standard or mandatory training, which is required by law depending on the industry. This includes, for example, training on data protection, equality and anti-discrimination (AGG), IT security, corruption prevention, occupational safety including first-aider and fire protection training, and similar topics. The aim of these training courses is not only to make their employees aware of prudent working practices, but also serves to release the employer from liability if a mistake does happen. It's worth checking regularly to make sure you're paying enough attention to these topics. Employee training in this category can be well covered via e-learning because the content is standardized. E-learnings can be conveniently completed by your employees on their own responsibility at any time.
  • Content-related or specialist training courses that serve to expand the existing knowledge of your employees or to keep it up to date. In addition to courses offered by specialized providers, you can also use peer learning within your company, where colleagues learn from each other - after all, almost everyone has something to offer that he or she is particularly good at and from which the others can benefit.
  • Complementary and empowering training can often be found in the area of technology and IT. If your production increasingly uses robots or computer-controlled machines, your employees will need appropriate specialized knowledge. Even a new type of software application needs to be adequately trained so that your employees can use it safely. These topics can be taught in online courses or face-to-face training sessions, but the best way for people to learn is "on the job", with specialists accompanying their work over a period of time and using any difficulties that arise as learning opportunities. This form of problem-oriented, continuous learning proves to be more effective than simply attending courses.
  • Interdisciplinary training often refers to so-called soft skills, such as communication, conflict resolution, conversation skills, time management or resilience techniques. With this type of employee training, there are different approaches to determining who should get what training. If you have already derived competency profiles for individual positions or job families, the appropriate trainings will emerge on their own. Such employee training courses are also readily agreed upon as support for further development on the basis of employee appraisals. Finally, you can also leave the choice of such courses to your employees within the framework of a fixed budget from the training catalog - perhaps they themselves know best which training they need for their next development step?
  • Training courses in the area of leadership development can be pragmatic and close to everyday life - it is advisable if you as a company already have an answer to the question "When am I a good boss?". Because of this, in-house training courses tailored to your company are a good choice here. By the way, leadership skills will become relevant for a larger group of people than just disciplinary managers in the future due to flatter hierarchies and the resulting assumption of leadership tasks by people at any level of the hierarchy.

The cost of employee training

The cost of employee training depends, of course, on how many and which trainings you conduct. A pragmatic mix of e-learning, internally designed training and in-house training won't cost the earth. Incidentally, training costs average between 100 and 1,500 euros per employee, although special courses with specialist providers can of course cost more. Weigh up where "off-the-shelf" training serves its purpose, and where you would rather reach for a customized solution. In order to effectively initiate internally designed training in the sense of peer learning or formats such as collegial consultation or knowledge transfer in general, it may be worthwhile to seek the support of external experts who can help you establish the appropriate formats and prepare employees for their role as internal trainers. In the long run, employee training is well worth the money, as Henry Ford's quote at the beginning of this article shows. They can help increase productivity and reduce turnover, while helping you meet your customers' expectations. Companies that promote their employees also have advantages in employer branding, as they can use it to attract top talent and retain their employees.

Summary

Employee training is essential to a company's success; after all, employees contribute a great deal to a company's performance. For this reason, the workforce should also be developed on a regular basis in terms of productivity. Accordingly, it is important to provide employees with the skills they need to be successful in their jobs. At the same time, it's important to make sure your employees have the time and energy they need to get the job done. Employee training takes up a large part of planning for the future of companies so they can remain competitive in today's marketplace. After all, a trained workforce can also come up with new approaches to solving problems, thus strengthening a company's innovative power. As an AZAV-certified training provider, we are happy to support you in the selection of suitable training courses, in the identification of training needs, in training administration, in the establishment of internal learning formats and offer training courses ourselves as part of our expertise.

About the Author
Valeska Szalla
HR Consultant
Since 2017 I have been writing my success story at ARTS, where I can always add a new chapter through the various projects I have been involved in.

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