Being productive in the workplace is an integral part of any business. At the end of every workday, employees should have produced and delivered quality outputs. That’s the foundation of how companies become successful. As a result, it makes sense that an organization would do everything in its power to help make employees more successful. One of those initiatives is providing high-quality employee training. That component of a productive workforce, however, is still not always fully embraced by today’s businesses.
A recent study from Brandon Hall Group found that while over 76% of business leaders would rate learning as highly important, only 45% rate their own organizations as being highly learning focused. What is going on today? Why is there such a profound disconnect? This post looks at some of the latest issues in the connection between employee productivity and employee job training.
Does Training Increase Productivity?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend 7.6 hours a day working when they are in the office and 5.8 hours working when they are working from home. But are those hours completely productive? That’s the question more companies are asking to ensure they meet their business goals. One way to keep employees productive, according to research, is to make sure they are well trained for their jobs.
Dozens of studies over the years have found a direct correlation between employee training and productivity. When employees know their jobs and their strengths are valued and supported, it creates a workplace culture that fosters high performance and greater productivity, according to Gallup. The study found that strengths-based organizations improve employee performance by 8% to 18%.
In fact, strengths-based leadership has been identified as a core element of fostering employee optimism, engagement, and project performance—all of which lead to significantly higher productivity.
Research: Investing in Training Improves Employee Productivity
Despite the research on the positive impact of training on employee output, many companies have been slow to fully invest in and embrace the potential of robust employee learning programs
eLearning Industry reported the following: “A study conducted by the American Society for Training & Development compared two corporate groups, where one company spent nearly three times as much as the other on organization training, and the results were startling. The group that invested more recorded a 57% increase in sales and a 37% rise in gross profit per employee. This clearly highlights the importance of investing in training and development to ensure high productivity and effective returns.”
Despite the proven advantages, not every company has fully embraced the power of employee training to boost productivity. According to Shift eLearning, “The problem is that many organizations see training as an expense and not as an investment. Untrained employees will inevitably lack the motivation and knowledge to use company resources properly, which will lead to waste, in a service industry. Lack of knowledge about procedures will affect customer interaction and retention. Because of this, your employees, your company, and your clients will all suffer.”
Research: Training Positively Impacts Employee Performance
Findings from two studies conducted by Brandon Hall Group clarify several aspects of the impact of employee training on productivity:
- Learning That Drives Performance: How Do We Supercharge Learning? found that, for many companies, there has been an increasing disconnect between learning and performance. For example:
- Only 54% believe that learning performance outcomes are tied directly to learning objectives
- Only 38% business objectives tied directly to talent development objectives
- Only 31% believe that talent development objectives tied directly to learning performance outcomes
To overcome this problem, Brandon Hall Group recommends that “companies should rethink the learning experience to ensure everything is focused on driving performance. Identifying and understanding intended performance outcomes puts learning in a position to create programs that deliver the intended results.”
- Upskilling and Reskilling: Delivering Personalized Learning at Scale found that only about 36% of companies believe they are prepared to develop employees to perform the skills they will need in the future. “Business is moving too fast and the workforce is too busy, distracted and dispersed for traditional training models to be completely effective.”
The contradictions is apparent in these two findings from this research:
- Over 76% of companies say business leaders would rate learning a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale of importance to the organization.
- However, only 45% of companies rate themselves a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale of how integral learning is to the organization’s culture.
Overcoming Remote Worker Learning Challenges
Training employees working from home presents an additional challenge for companies to deliver effective training programs, according to findings from a survey conducted by Brandon Hall Group called How Are You Adapting to Hybrid Work? About 50% of companies said that Learning & Development, including upskilling and reskilling, is one of their biggest challenges in the next six to 12 months.
“COVID-19 did not cause workforce problems, it merely magnified them,” per the Brandon Hall Group. All of the talent management, upskilling and reskilling, team development, and career development challenges that organizations face now have only “come to a sharper point because of the health crisis and the impact it had on the workforce and society.”
6 Ways to Improve Employee Productivity with Learning Programs
Employee training and job productivity go hand in hand. If companies appreciate the power of a highly productive staff, they should embrace the power of employee training.
Here are the leading six ways that training boosts employees’ job performance and productivity
- Inspires New Employees. How you on-board employees sets the tone for their long-term productivity. Training new employees gets them off on the right foot by giving them a good sense of the business and job expectations. For all employees, having a mastery of the knowledge and skills for their job increases their satisfaction and confidence and, as a result, productivity.
- Reinvigorates Old Skills. Ongoing employee training helps cultivate talent from within your business. By retraining employees on current skills, you can increase productivity by preventing small, basic mistakes. This can also breathe new life into old tasks. Plus, retraining current employees is less expensive than hiring new ones.
- Gives Employees New Skills. By teaching employees new skills, you can give them a new sense of a purpose. It also lets them know that the organization is willing and able to evolve — and even offer them advancement opportunities.
- Raises Confidence Levels. Learning and maintaining skills can boost employees’ confidence. With greater confidence, they’ll enjoy a greater sense of value and enthusiasm on the job. This often translates into increased productivity.
- Supports a Performance-Based Culture. This inspires and motivates employees by giving them attainable goals to reach on a regular basis. However, your culture should also have a clearly defined definition of success. When employees know what they are reaching for, they are able to achieve it in an optimal way.
- Boosts Employee Satisfaction. Satisfaction is essential for a productive workplace. Employees are satisfied when they’re given the skills and knowledge they need to perform their duties optimally. Training is an important step in providing the skills your employees need to perform their best.
Clearly, productivity is a vital goal in today’s business world. While there are many systems, processes, and motivational tactics employers can use to boost productivity, companies should remember the power of comprehensive, quality training to lay a foundation that supports the highest levels of workforce productivity every days.