The Benefits of Employee Training & Development
“Benefits of Employee Training and Development” is the third article in our series on performance management. Below we address a key question in performance based management. How do you optimize the benefits of training and development, and therefore the resources used to improve performance?
The best place to start is by being clear about what results you want to achieve. Then finish with an assessment of the results that are actually being achieved. It’s also important to remember that the real benefits of employee training should be seen as a progression. That is, where performance improvements in individuals progress to performance improvements throughout the entire organization.
- P – Potential
- E – Expertise
- R – Results
- F – Focus
- O – Opportunities
- R – Resources
- M – Motivation
What are the benefits of employee training and development?
The first thing to remember is that effective employee development is based on a progression of benefits. These start with improvements in an individual’s performance, which then transfer to his or her localized workplace, which then ultimately result in a positive impact on the whole organisation. The size or scale of that impact is not necessarily important. So long as it is positive and significant.
The next thing to consider is that resources used in the development activity must be used wisely. So, assessing the benefits of employee training is not just about feedback from a training exercise. Such feedback may indicate that people enjoyed the activity or felt it was useful, but managers must look beyond that. Ultimately, the real benefits of employee training lie in the transfer of learning into the workplace. So feedback must also assess such things as: what has been learned; how it is being used; what impact it is having at work.
So what are the benefits of employee training?
- New skills and knowledge can be acquired.
- Existing skills and knowledge can be enhanced or updated, enabling people to further improve proven strengths.
- Weaknesses can be addressed or mechanisms put in place to compensate.
- Improvements in confidence, capability and competence.
- Employees feel supported and enabled in their work.
- Learning is progressed to practice in the workplace.
- Learning is used to improve performance at work.
- Learning is shared, enhancing team performance.
- Wider impact in the organisation through performance improvements and the dissemination of information, ideas and networking.
How does this relate to the PERFORM model? Performance is about contribution: what an employee contributes that delivers results for the individual, for their teams and for their organizations. So any answer to the question “how to motivate employees to perform?” must include a focus on results. The results that are being achieved, and those that are being targeted.
In order to perform, employees need to be clear on what is expected of them. Agree with them what goals they are working towards, give them regular feedback on how they are doing, and show them the results their efforts are achieving.
Results aren’t necessarily just about money and financial targets. They are the outcomes of whatever goals have been set. These can be improvements in process, time-keeping, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction. Results provide the measure of success, answering the question: how do we know if performance has improved? Only then will we gain clarity about the benefits of employee training.
Results = Development + Performance
Placing an emphasis on results helps to connect training and development activities to performance. Of course, effective managers will want to know how well a particular workshop or course has been delivered. However, it’s far more important to assess how the skills and knowledge gained from those activities have been applied. Then, perhaps more importantly, assess the impact they’ve had. The real benefits of employee training are not necessarily what people learn, but what they do with what they have learnt. The results!
Managing Performance and Potential
For more on how to get the best out of the people you manage, have a look at our e-guide: Managing Performance and Potential. This guide sets out the key principles of performance management, with useful tools to help you put them into practice. Included in the guide you’ll find insights into:
- Getting the best out of your people by understanding the basics of performance management
- Setting performance standards, in order to manage good, bad and indifferent performance
- Using the PERFORM model to help create conditions that improve performance and develop potential
- Influencing performance by adapting the way you manage and the way you lead
- Giving effective and timely feedback
- Carrying out effective and timely performance appraisals
- Coaching individuals to develop their performance and potential