Many companies are willing to invest in training and development opportunities for employees; organizations spent, on average, $1,252 per worker on direct learning expenditures in 2015, according to the Association for Talent Development State of the Industry report — a slight increase from $1,229 per employee the previous year.
Spending may be rising due to all the positive effects educational programs can provide. They can, for example, help workers feel valued because you’re investing in their growth. They can also encourage employees to develop skill sets your organization will need in the future, helping your company prepare to fill key roles.
To get the maximum benefits from a development initiative or employee training program, however, employers need to match workers with the right type of instruction; and there are a few different options to choose from.
If you’re thinking about adding an employee training program, or enhancing a pre-existing one, consider which one of the following formats might work best for your organization:
Funding further study
Providing tuition reimbursement for employees to take college or technical postsecondary classes can help companies attract talent and maintain a strong succession plan, according to an analysis of insurance provider Cigna’s education reimbursement program.
The study, conducted in tandem with the nonprofit Lumina Foundation and professional services company Accenture, found Cigna saved $1.29 in talent management costs for each $1 it invested in tuition reimbursement for employees. Program participants were also 10 percent more likely to be promoted, eight percent more likely to stay with the company and 7.5 percent more prone to be transferred to a different position within Cigna.
Hosting in-person training events
Sixty-two percent of U.S. workers said they want educational employee training programs to be offered at work — more than any other type of training, according to a survey from Root Inc. The strategy service provider found in-person training can increase engagement; 48 percent of employees who had it available at work said they felt committed, compared to 39 percent of workers at companies that don't offer in-person training for employees. Thirty percent of employees at companies with on-site education said they were excited about their job, compared to 14 percent of employees at companies without in-person employee training programs.
Sponsoring learning modules
On-site education can be effective; when you factor in administrative and other costs, however, it can also be expensive. Some companies are instead utilizing self-directed platforms that enable workers to learn on an individual basis, at their own pace. Supplying e-training for employees has allowed HP, for example, to reduce costs associated with classroom education. Courses offered via video link to multiple sites have also helped the company reduce the travel time typically associated with providing access to educational instruction.
Offering a mentoring program
Mentoring can provide a personalized approach to skills training; not only can experienced employees impart specific knowledge they’ve gained on the job, they can pinpoint areas mentees may need more proficiency in to help them address any weaknesses.
Research has shown mentoring can pay off for mentees who hope to rise within the organization. A Sun Microsystems study found 25 percent of the employees who participated in its mentoring program later had a salary grade change, compared to 5 percent of employees who didn’t participate in the program. Mentees were also promoted five times more often than employees who were not in the program, and retention rates were much higher — 72 percent — for mentees.
Matching experienced employees with younger ones isn’t the only type of career guidance you can offer; as our recent blog post pointed out, reverse mentoring programs may also provide significant benefits.
For more on mentoring and other potentially valuable training and development opportunities for employees, check out our posts on bridging the skills gap, using benefits to drive employee satisfaction and solving your most critical internal and external talent pool issues.