You know how professional training and development can help your career. But does your boss know how your professional training and development can help his (or her) career? Many employers and managers resist investing in professional training for their employees. They cite a variety of reasons including that they don’t have the time to dedicate to training or that it’s just too expensive. Some may even concede that they’re afraid if their employees become too skilled they’ll leave them for greener pastures. But the happy truth is that none of these reservations turn out to be justified. Numerous studies over the years have showed just the opposite, in fact! The more employers invest in their employees’ professional development the more the company benefits. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some cold, hard facts (the kind your boss loves!) to prove that investing in yourprofessional training is one of the smartest things your boss can do for his career.
- Attract Great Talent
Whether your employer is looking to hire in the near future or not, every company wants to have a reputation as a desirable place to work in order to attract and retain the best talent. They may make an effort to keep salaries competitive, offer excellent health insurance, or even promise generous bonus opportunities to sweeten the pot. But what most employers don’t realize is that these things are no longer job seekers’ top priorities when evaluating a potential employer.
In fact, in a 2015 survey training and development opportunities topped the list of benefits that millenials value most in an employer. Twenty-two percent of respondents said the opportunity to continually develop their skills at their job was their top priority when choosing a job. In comparison health insurance was the most important factor to only 8%, and wages ranked as a top priority to a measly 4%.
Slip these statistics in front of your boss and he’ll be compelled to reevaluate his own prioritization of employee training and development opportunities. No company can continue to grow (and make money) without bringing in (and retaining!) bright talent, and clearly companies can’t continue to bring in and retain bright talent without an investment in employee development. As soon as your employer fully appreciates the connection between the two, you’ll see a dramatic uptick in the number of learning opportunities at your workplace.
2. Improve Productivity
It’s often counterintuitive to employers, but research has demonstrated again and again that giving employees some time away from their work can actually increase their productivity. That becomes even truer when the employee spends that time improving her skills or learning new ones.
In a study of more than 3,100 U.S. workplaces, the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW) found that when employers increased their employees’ professional training by an average of 10 percent, employee productivity increased by an average of 8.6 percent. There are multiple reasons that an employee who receives ongoing training in his career performs better. For one, workers whose employers make an investment in their training feel more engaged at work, and workers who are more engaged are more productive. Workers also feel more confident about their skills after training, and enjoy a general boost in morale, factors that consistently lead to greater employee engagement and productivity.
Not insignificantly, productivity also increases because employees not only feel more confident about their skills and abilities, they actually are more skilled and more able to do their jobs effectively. When employees regularly receive relevant, expert training their skill set continues to grow and evolve along with the technology they use, and with the industry they work in. Your employer is likely well aware that retaining an employee is exponentially more cost-effective than onboarding a new one. So keeping their current workforce’s skills sharp instead of hiring a new workforce every few years will result in enormous cost savings over time.
- Increase Profits
Now we get to the bottom line—literally. In the end, it’s all about that profit. So for bosses who are inclined to look directly to their profit margins before taking any other benefits into consideration (you know who they are!) drawing a direct line between an investment in employees’ education and a bigger bottom line is probably the best tack to take.
It’s worth emphasizing here that we don’t use the word “investment” arbitrarily. The time and money your company devotes to improving employees’ skills really are investments that will pay big dividends.
Consider these findings from a study conducted by the American Society for Training and Development that looked at over 2500 companies. They found that employers who invested $1,500 or more per employee per year to teach them new skills enjoyed a 24% higher profit margin than those who spent less on training. Additionally, companies that increased their training expenditure per employee by an average of $680 saw a 6% higher shareholder return.
You’ve heard the cliché that “life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey,” but that is never more true than when talking about your education, your skills and your talents. You have never “arrived” at the limit of things you can know, or at the limit of things you can do. You can always learn new things, you can always improve your talents and even cultivate brand new ones. And you deserve an employer who recognizes that and is willing to make that investment in you. Fortunately, your employer doesn’t need to be the world’s most selfless altruist to do that. He just has to understand that he is in fact making an investment that will yield great benefits for the company as well as for you. We hope that this information gives you a place to start a meaningful conversation with your employer. Good luck!