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How to Build a Business Case for Training and Development

Businesses large and small have seen seismic shifts in how they keep employees engaged on the job, especially those with specialized skills. Some highly-skilled positions cannot withstand constant turnover, while non-specialized roles do not necessarily have higher engagement. The secret is building a plan for employee training and development that keeps employees engaged and promotes the notion that their success is your success.

If you’re trying to build a case for why your business should have an employee training and development plan, here are a few of the best reasons to begin now:

  • Reduce turnover. According to a Tennessee-based Work Institute retention study of 234,000 exit interviews, three out of four employees who left could have been retained by business owners. What are they looking for? For starters, twenty-two percent cited career development as their main reason for leaving a company.

Most business owners believe that dollars spent on training and development mean those dollars are out the door when employees leave for other jobs. However, research indicates that employee training reduces turnover and absenteeism. Moreover, workers who receive training and education are more productive.

  • Attract more top talent. Your business is not just competing for market share in today's market. Still, your share of top talent. New hires are savvier than ever and have a lot of information about your organization, whether it’s from social media, job search sites, or word-of-mouth. Employees intentionally seek businesses that provide training and development, in-house or outside, to maintain a competitive edge with their peers at other companies.

  • Use entry-level training to address the ongoing skills shortage. It’s no secret to HR professionals that there is a skills shortage among candidates for job openings. A recent skills gap study by SHRM revealed that 83% of HR professionals have recruitment issues. Seventy-five percent of those HR professionals also say a shortage of skills from candidates is their number one issue. Companies should rethink their current training and career development towards entry-level skills training. Partnering with local community colleges or education and training companies is the best way to rebuild your talent pool and break the cycle of no- or low-skill from prospective recruits.

  • Revive employee development from retirement. Lack of time, scaled-back budgets, evolving business priorities, and lack of management support put career development and training on the back shelf. Reviving skills-based training and career development for employees is one way to keep the experienced employees you have while building future talent for the long-term. See how Amazon addresses the skills gap issue with expanded training and new career initiatives.

  • Use employee development to align with business initiatives. Businesses need to let strategic needs guide training and career development programs. For example, employees nearing retirement could become mentors to new hires, so training can occur on the job and on-site. Long-time employees could broaden their skills, take on more responsibility, and possibly guide a future training program from within the organization.

While continuously evolving business structures grow leaner to address smaller profits and changing market share, it only makes sense to ensure employee commitment and engagement. One way to do this is to invest in employee career development and training. By providing creative ways for employees to grow, learn, and commit, the company sends a loud and clear message that they care about their employees and their place within the organization.

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