How Well-Planned Corporate Training Can Affect Your Business Growth And Profit
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How Cost-Effective Online Training Leads To Enterprise Growth

Some hail corporate training to be the magic ingredient that takes an organization’s growth from 'good enough' to phenomenal. And they’re not far wrong. Because corporate training, when done right, can result in increased growth and profit. Perhaps more importantly, the organization is likely to experience a more sustainable form of enterprise growth by investing in its team members and processes. But there’s a catch!

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If training isn’t planned carefully, based on best practices and delivered within budget, it can become little more than wasted time and effort. And the opposite is true, too. The key to using corporate training to grow your business and profit is to understand employees, their roles, and their needs within the broader business strategy. By planning with these needs (and the budget) in mind, there’s so much more to benefit from by making an investment in training.

1. Identify Your Needs For Enterprise Growth

If corporate training is planned well, it can measurably reduce operational costs within, and even across departments.

Consider a sales team who is spending 40% of their time making cold calls that rarely translate into purchases. Training these staff to use basic data analysis features to identify the best leads on the organization’s CRM system could help them to target customers who are most likely to be interested in making a purchase. This could save hundreds of hours on the phone. Hours that could be used for other, more productive tasks.

However, if the sales team already operates efficiently and spends less than 5% of their time on cold calls, then this same training isn’t going to be of much benefit to them, or the business - because they don’t need it. That’s why a truly thorough needs assessment is important.

In training, the term "needs assessment" can be somewhat vague, but if you’re hoping to use training to boost your growth and profits, you need to start with the following questions for each role and department:

  • What is the biggest cost driver in the department?
  • What is the biggest profit driver in the department?
  • What are the different roles in the department?
  • What is the biggest performance gap in each department?
  • Does each role have distinct training needs?
  • Can a direct line be drawn between training and cost reduction or profit growth?
  • If the connection between training and enterprise growth is more indirect, how can the effect of training on growth be measured?
  • Just beware of the trap of keeping up with the Joneses and assuming your organization has the same needs as your closest competitors.

Awareness of your competitive environment is important, but a strong focus within is critical. So, remember that your organization is unique in both its needs and advantages.

2. Create Competitive Advantage By Staying Current

Having the most experienced team doesn’t always mean that you’re at an advantage. New technologies and even new disciplines (who could predict the demand for cybersecurity professionals twenty years ago?) keep emerging.

It’s the organizations that use training to address new and upcoming skills that not only keep pace but emerge as the leaders in their industry.

Understand Roles That Are Continuously Evolving

When you consider that the knowledge and skills of the workforce either make or break the organization, it becomes clear that sustainable enterprise growth isn’t possible without investing considerably in your employees. This means not only the investment of funds, but also taking the time and care to understand their roles, and what drives value and growth in their work.

Make sure to engage functional managers in regular sessions to discuss the skills that are making waves in their fields, and how their reports could benefit from training in those skills.

Become An Attractive Employer

While the conversation should always lead back to how upskilling employees could affect return on investment in training and overall business objectives, don’t underestimate the long-term benefits of becoming known as a workplace where professionals get to grow their expertise in high-demand skillsets. This level of investment is linked to improved retention because employees feel challenged, valued and can visibly experience career growth. Better staff retention means that you can keep your best talent doing their best for you.

Tailoring your training to each department also creates an attractive recruitment tool, because you’ll be creating a team that everyone wants to join. This means that the best kind of talent (employees who want to learn and improve themselves) will be finding you, saving time and costs on recruitment.

To achieve this, training managers need to build an understanding of what’s attractive to employees in their industry, and leverage this as much as possible for training to contribute to enterprise growth. For example, in the software development industry, experience in Agile methodology is in high demand, so it may be worth advertising that corporate training in Agile methodology is provided to all new recruits.

3. Foster A Learning Culture

Many training experts now advocate for using the 70:20:10 rule to plan corporate training. This rule is based on research showing that only 10% of learning in a corporate setting actually happens during formal training. 20% happens during social interactions like collaboration, and the other 70% happens on the job while completing daily duties.

Now, this might seem like bad news for corporate training’s ability to contribute to enterprise growth, but that’s only if you’re unwilling to innovate.

Motivate Learning In The Last 90%

Plan the formal training that will contribute 10% of overall learning impeccably, with clear goals, links to specific business objectives, and the most effective choice of Learning Management System for your audience. Then, motivate employees to engage in the 20% social learning, and 70% on the job learning that remain through innovative eLearning tools and collaborative platforms.

Social learning can take many forms, including collaborating on tasks during formal training, collaborating informally on projects, peer-to-peer learning, and even team building and bonding exercises.

One of the best ways to make sure corporate training has a lasting effect on enterprise growth is to invest time and money in creating a learning culture in the organization. In a learning culture, formal training initiatives are not the sole focus of corporate training. Instead, learning is valued by each individual in the organization, and taking the initiative to learn and upskill yourself is rewarded.

Leverage Training And eLearning Tools

Of course, training professionals still have a role to play in creating a learning culture. Designing informal training templates and guidelines for departments, managers or even general employees, to use for on-the-job training with others in their department is a good place to start.

Another effective tactic is to create a reward system for learning and teaching others, either through recognition like certifications, social rewards, or even promotion. A quality LMS, like TalentLMS, can be a useful tool for employees to participate in ongoing learning in their own time while using gamification techniques to make it engaging and provide incentives. Creating an opportunity to apply new skills shortly after formal training is also effective to promote on-the-job learning.

Employees that are well-trained informal interventions, and encouraged to keep learning actively on their own, are able to innovate, collaborate and contribute uniquely to the organization. Innovation and efficiency directly affect business development and profit, and this makes fostering a learning culture a priority for enterprise growth.

4. It’s Time To Grow With Training

Better trained employees are more productive, and attract other top-tier professionals to your organization. They’re also motivated to keep learning and to share their learnings with others so that your team can grow outside of formal training.

The effect of corporate training on the growth of the organization’s business and profit comes down to the quality of planning. If training needs are not traced back to business objectives, the misalignment can be costly and wasteful.

Keep in mind that enterprise growth is not always immediate and that training is a longer-term investment into the health of the organization. And, using the guidelines provided here, your training is that much more likely to translate into growth that contributes to sustainable business and profit.

PS. And if your training leads to rapid growth, here is an article on how you can keep your employees happy in that state.

Related articles:

1. Think Ahead: The Costs Associated With eLearning Development

2. The Hidden Costs Behind eLearning

3. The Costs Of NOT Implementing A Corporate Training Program

4. Free eBook – Planning For Success: An Introduction To eLearning Costs And How To Reduce Them

 

References:

  1. Lombardo, Michael M; Eichinger, Robert W (1996). The Career Architect Development Planner (1st ed.). Minneapolis: Lominger.
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