At a C-suite team meeting to discuss a new employee development program, the CFO turns to the CEO and asks: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?” To which the CEO quickly replies: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”
This CEO gets it. If you ever have any hesitation about spending time and money on an employee training program, ask yourself what will happen if you don’t train your employees? The effects are two-fold: First, the employees who are interested in professional development, aka the ones who are invested in their work and actually want to get better, leave. They’ll find a job at a different company, where there is more opportunity for growth. Second, the employees who stay become disengaged and consistently underperform. They don’t have the skills, nor the drive, necessary to be a top performer and so will be just fine with being just fine. Your company will consist of low performing employees who are only interested in skating by.
If, as a company, you’re not investing your time and energy into helping your people reach their full potential, why would they want to help the company reach its full potential? How can you expect your employees to get better at their jobs if you’re not helping them learn and grow?
Professional development and continuous learning should be a company standard. Make sure everyone knows it is a priority, for every role. Employees should be offered opportunities to hone and improve their skills on a regular basis. The skills most important to the employee’s role should be developed first and foremost, but, if the employee so chooses, they should also be able to develop skills outside of what their role requires. By offering these training programs, you demonstrate your willingness to invest in your employees on a personal level. Employees will feel empowered to improve themselves and their careers. They will be more engaged, productive and loyal because of it.