Consider that most people spend more of their waking hours with colleagues than they do with their loved ones. With that in mind, it goes to reason that employees' wellbeing and comfort at work should be of paramount importance to most employers. Organizations expend significant resources and effort on finding the right person for a particular position, and who fit well within the organization, in order to maintain a healthy work culture.
According to Forbes magazine, a whopping 70% of American employees are actively disengaged at work. Keeping your employees happy is an important endeavor, and there are a number of strategies employers can consider to engender a high level of morale. Training and professional development is a surefire strategy to ensure your employees are happy, healthy, and excited to come into the office everyday.
Training is a wise investment, both as a strategy to improve employee morale and to sharpen your employee pool's skillset. Nonetheless, many companies fail to put in sufficient resources and effort to gain the full benefits of training.
Training Magazine's 2018 annual report indicates that the training landscape in 2018 was not being maximized to its full potential. Overall, companies' spending on training has decreased, along with a slight decrease in the average number of hours dedicated to employee training.
Small-sized companies actually reported the highest number of hours dedicated to training, at 61.2 hours per year. Although some companies reported an increase in training budgets, increases were a modest 16%. Year-over-year, reported decreases in training budgets are also higher.
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How Does Training Impact Morale?
Learning and development has a significant influence on the employees' lives, both professionally and personally. The following training areas can have a direct impact on employee morale:
Continued professional development
More often than not, a lack of professional development can result in stagnation. Most employees are ideally looking to develop within their roles, move onto a higher positions, change focus, exceed their goals, receive bigger bonuses, be recognized, stay abreast of industry developments, drive new important initiatives - the list goes on. Training and professional development are efficient strategies to help employees reach those goals, and improve your organization's performance simultaneously!
To maximize the potential benefits of training expenditures, make sure your training strategy is relevant and targeted to specific employee groups. Forbes also reports that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of recognition as the main reason for moving on. Giving employees the tools to develop in their position can lead to higher rates of success, more recognition for a job well done, and improve employee morale overall.
Occupational Health and Safety
Health and safety training is an essential tool to ensure employees adhere to the safety requirements of their work environments. Organizations are responsible for the wellbeing of their staff and their knowledge of the safety codes specific to their positions. Employees need to know how to protect themselves when carrying out their duties. They also need to know which safety protocols to follow in the event of an emergency or if an accident occurs.
Keeping your employees well-trained in health and safety will increase their feeling of security at work. With more in-depth knowledge of how to perform their duties safely, employees will feel at ease and morale can remain high.
Recognition & Titles
Many people, and indeed some cultures, place a significant amount of importance on titles. Titles can be a badge of honor and are an acknowledgement of the title holder's commitment and achievements.
A lot of time, effort and personal cost goes into achieving an academic or training goal. It could be construed as disrespectful not to acknowledge the achievement. In a globalized society with an increasingly diverse workforce, understanding cultural differences and recognizing employees' achievements are easy ways to show employees that their professional development is beneficial to all, and help inspire more quality and productive outputs.
It's human nature to want to become better at things. When we play sports, we practice and try to beat the other team. The workplace is no different. We learn from colleagues, take courses and practice to be better at what we do and to outperform competitors.
Companies with growing revenue are 3x as likely to report an increase in their L&D budgets. The relationship between training and productivity is not hard to extrapolate. More training leads to higher employee morale, which leads to higher productivity, increased outputs and increased revenue. Making the investment will pay off!
Loyalty and reduced turnover
Companies that take a proactive position on training endear themselves to their workforce. A learning culture will inject positivity and creativity into your organization from top to bottom. This reduces staff turnover and retains a critically skilled employee pool.
The Work Institute's 2017 Retention Report estimates that the cost of turnover is as high as 33% of an employee's annual salary. This translates into an average cost of $15,000 per employee. Making the investment upfront in training employees can translate to massive savings over the long term.
Whatever skills, achievements and qualifications an employee accrues will bolster their CV making them more employable in future. Knowing that their skills are relevant and transferable is a wonderful morale-booster.
53% of Americans are reportedly unhappy at work, and helping employees develop a wider range of skills can be an empowering experience that can engender even further loyalty to their organization. Their journey at work has tangible result.
It is safe to say that training plays a major role in how people feel about their jobs and their employers. It is also vitally important for training to be targeted to maximize both individual and organizational benefits.
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