The Importance of Training: 5 Ways to Get Your Leadership Team On Board with Employee Training

Guest post written by Rachel Saltsgaver | Content Manager at Lessonly

Business leaders make a lot of important decisions that often impact every aspect of their organization’s success… no pressure, right? From products and services to the company’s size and overall mission, no decision can be made without careful consideration and planning. 

Leaders also make a lot of choices when it comes to building a team of the best employees possible. With those decisions come conversations around filling gaps in their workforce. Is it better to hire a consultant who’s an expert in a certain skill? Or, is it best to create a culture of learning that provides ongoing training to current employees? While no answer is a perfect science, we strongly believe that every single employee, regardless of their job or industry, deserves training and development opportunities. We also know that it can be challenging to convince your leadership or executive team of the importance of training, which brings us to this post. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of working with consultants versus delivering ongoing training, and how to get training buy-in from your leadership team. 

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Consultants

More and more companies are realizing the great cost-effective benefits of using 1099 contractors. These independent workers aren’t technically classified as employees of the company, but still provide important services and fill workload gaps for companies across a wide variety of industries. But, as with all hiring decisions, there are a number of pros and cons every company should consider when it comes to hiring a consultant over training a current employee on a new skill or role. 

How consultants benefit business: 

  • They may require less overhead costs 
  • They don’t need as much management time 
  • They offer staffing flexibility 

The disadvantages of hiring contract workers: 

  • They’re less likely to buy into your company and culture
  • They control how they work 
  • They don’t provide long-term commitment 

The Benefits of Training Employees 

When it comes to delivering ongoing training and challenging your team to grow and try new things, the benefits are practically endless. Training is pivotal when it comes to catching new hires up to speed, keeping up with industry standards and regulations, and ensuring customers are happy. Let’s take a closer look at three benefits of employee training. 

1. Improve employee engagement

First things first, training is a huge factor when it comes to engaging your employees. Training enables constant engagement and two-way communication that keeps teammates involved and in-the-know. But unfortunately, only 32% of employees in the U.S. say they’re engaged in their work. However, 94% of employees say they’d stay with their company longer if it invested in their ongoing learning and development.

2. Increase productivity and performance

Engaged employees also have an increased level of productivity. That’s because training provides your employees with the expertise and knowledge they need to perform in their roles. Still not convinced? Consider this: companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147% and experience a 19.2% growth in operating income over a 12-month period.

3. Reduce turnover

To put it simply, engaged employees stick around. And while annual turnover rates are approximately 19%, some studies show that replacing an entry-level position can actually cost up to 40% of an employee’s salary. On top of that, an average of 40% of employees in the U.S. leave their jobs within the first year because of poor training. Some organizations believe that hiring consultants instead of offering training to existing employees saves money, but all too often it does just the opposite. 

How to Get Leadership Buy-In

Now that you understand the importance of training, it’s time to get your leadership team to buy-in, too. So whether you’ve beta tested an employee training program with a small team or you’re ready to create a training program from scratch, here are five ways to get leaders excited about employee training and development. 

  1. Include them in the assessment phase

Assessing your training needs is all about gathering information. It’s important to listen to your team, review data, and reference market trends. During this phase, you’ll want to assess what topics your current employees want and need training in. Then, you’ll also need to assess where you have current skill gaps and what it would take to fill them with training versus hiring contracted workers. But remember, you’ll get a better response and engagement from your leadership team if you include them during the assessment process. So get their input early and often.

  1. Identify outcomes and objectives
    Once you've identified the purpose of training and development within your organization, it’s also important to identify essential objectives and outcomes when it comes to your training goals. By intentionally setting milestones and check-ins, you’ll be able to show your leadership team how you plan to provide updates on progress and keep them up-to-date with major developments. It’s also helpful if you can tie the importance of training employees to a great mission or company goal. Show leaders how your training plans will help drive business outcomes and success.
  2. Talk with experts
    It’s only going to help you build a great program if you talk with other experts who can provide added credibility and support to your efforts. For example, consider bringing in a subject-matter expert who can provide statistics or trends regarding organizations that provide ongoing training to their employees. Or, look for a leader from a similar organization that also implemented a similar training program. They’ll be able to provide helpful context to your and your leadership team.
  3. Provide the who, what, when, why, and where, and how.

It will also be easier to get buy-in and support if you provide as much context and clarity as possible. Leaders will want to know details like:

  • Who will create training materials and who will receive training?
  • What skills, products, or services will employees receive training on? 
  • When will training take place? When will training be completed by? When will we know the results and impact of training? 
  • Why is this important for the organization?
  • Where and how will training take place? Will workers be pulled away from their jobs for an all-day training session, or will they be able to complete training through online training software?

2. Be ready to provide results 

At the end of the day, your leadership team will want to know what the on-the-job training benefits are over hiring consultants to fill gaps. It’s important to identify and set goals for your training program. Then, make sure to share this information on an ongoing basis to keep your leadership team involved and informed. 

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of important factors to consider as you make a decision between hiring consultants to fill workforce gaps or delivering training that helps current employees learn new skills. But ultimately, it’s best to look at what your organization’s needs are now and what they’ll be in the future. Consider your company’s short-term and long-term goals, loop your leadership teammates in, and make a decision together that makes the most sense for your business.

HUGE thank you to our partner, Lessonly, for being a guest writer on our blog this month.

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