When Is It Right and When is It Wrong to Invest in Training?

“The two most important things in any company do not appear in its balance sheets: its people and its reputation.”

Henry Ford

There are a lot of considerations to make when deciding if and when to invest in employee training and development. The biggest question is usually: What will the return of investment be if training is offered and what will it be if training is not offered?

But there is another question that’s equally as important to ask when making this decision: Is training addressing a learning need within the company, or is it an attempt to solve a symptom of a deeper problem? Identifying root causes is as valuable as deciding whether or not training is the answer for which you are looking.

Risk versus Reward: What are the Benefits of purchasing training?
In most circumstances, employers who would like to offer or extend training to their employees are looking for several outcomes. The obvious ones include better performance, broader and deeper understanding of specific business, lower turnover rate, higher employee engagement and of course, an improved bottom line. What do all of these have in common, though, that makes training the answer? Well, for one thing, several of them have a strategic learning need—skills, concepts and culture can all be addressed with personalized a training program, either purchased or developed in coordination with Human Resource personnel. A lower turnover rate and an improved bottom line are direct effects of the other three and can therefore also be addressed with the right training scenario.

What’s the risk? Employees might leave after they have received training, that is a risk. Employees are more likely to stay, though, as a result of training that helps them improve their own performance and acts as a conduit of investment in them as human capitol. Feeling valued is motivational for employees to stay and learn. People want to do well at their jobs, and they want to prove themselves. The right training not only keeps them engaged, but gives both employer and employee visible, measurable results.

When employees make the decision to leave, it’s usually because of a toxic environment, bad management issues or other compensation issues. Those are the things that cannot be addressed by training.

Root Causes: Willingness to Identify and Address Them
When is training not the solution? This is a difficult question to answer. It calls for true introspection about whether the problems identified are in fact the actual problems, or whether they are symptoms of larger root causes that have gone ignored or unaddressed. If it’s the latter, then training will not be the correct solution.

Behaviors in employees, much like students in a school, are reflections of the leadership within the organization. Behaviors cannot really change without company leadership being honest about what is causing them. When there is commitment to make honest observations, accept responsibility and actively change the current conditions, only then will training yield desired results.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Henry Ford

Training will also be effective if the internal workings uphold the newly coveted attitude and actions. By taking a microscopic look at who, when, and where behaviors arise, then it is possible to introduce new and improved culture and expectations. How well does management communicate and make priorities known? Once those priorities are met, how those accomplishments are recognized and measured is essential to the equation. Training cannot be seen as a downward flow of change—it must be systemic in the way employers see the job and set expectation, as well as how the employee sees the job and strives to meet expectations.

Related Article: When Companies Should Invest in Training Their Employees — and When They Shouldn’t

Before the investment, an assessment of what really is the need will help formulate the solution.  Taking the time to completely understand the needs of both employees and the employers can lead to the right decision being made, and the right training being utilized to address these needs for latitudinal and longitudinal improvements.

At CuroGens Learning Academy, we strive to support businesses in the design and deployment of personalized training, created by and for your specific company needs. Contact us at learnmore@curogens.com to see a free product demo.