In survey after survey, opportunities for education and “upskilling” – whereby you enhance the skills of your existing workforce – are among the benefits that employees’ value most. But is providing this teaching good or bad for business?
Below, we explore the five top reasons you should invest in education for your employees.
1. It improves recruitment and retention: Depending on what expert group you turn to, providing education opportunities factors into a decision to stay at the company for as many as three-quarters of employees. Not only that but offering to educate your workforce can prove a key selling point when seeking to recruit new talent to your firm, especially if you have a large base of entry-level folks who are eager to learn on the job.
It drives engagement: They say idle hands are the devil’s playground, and when
it comes to employees, it rings true! Bored employees who are under-stimulated
in their role can quickly grow tired of their jobs and become negative – not
just about their duties, but about the company as a whole. However, if you
provide educational opportunities, you can upskill them and have them begin to
practice these new talents – through stretch roles or even a one-time project
assignment – in a low stress, low risk environment. As an employee, you feel
like your company is investing in you, which in turn breeds loyalty, while as
an employer, you are providing an opportunity for these employees to show off
newly acquired skills, highlight any gaps that they might have in their
knowledge, and, of course, keep the doldrums away.
Promote from within: If you take the time to upskill your workers and ingrain
in them a culture of learning, you’re effectively raising your next generation
of leaders. Your entry level workers – who have already demonstrated a
commitment to the company and are already a proven cultural fit – can take
courses and learning opportunities that best prepare them to move up in the
ranks. Not only that, but their previous experience at the company means that
they will likely hit the ground running and will be successful sooner than
their non-internal hire peers.
Tailor your teaching: While advanced degrees and specialty certificates are
always nice in so far as you would have a more educated workforce, the
credentials aren’t always relevant to your business. If you launch an internal
education program, you get to pick and choose the classes or programs that are
most relevant to your workers and to the success of your overall business. For
example, if you have someone on board who has already maxed out on technical
skill certificates, you can instead consider providing them with opportunities to
hone their leadership or project management skills.
5. Know better, do better: When you have smarter, more skilled workers among your ranks, you are able to perform better. Your workers have the skills and aptitude to perform their jobs at a higher level. Further, these skilled workers are better able to represent your business to the outside world – such as clients, job candidates, and even potential customers because they are able to perform their jobs more effectively and with bigger returns. The only caveat to such programs is that it does require an upfront investment on your part. How much you choose to allocate to your teaching and upskilling efforts is a personal decision that reflects not only what your company is able to provide for your employees, but what also makes sense in terms of what the employees actually need in order to gain additional skills, be successful in your company, and provide a good return on investment.