Encouraging Employee Growth Through Uptraining, by Jori Hamilton
Did you know that 94% of employees would stay longer at a company if there were an investment in learning? And 76% of employees are looking for career growth opportunities — it’s a leading non-money motivator.
In today’s era of employee turnover and a constantly changing work environment, these are eye-opening statements. The return on investment for employee growth through training is very high.
But what kind of training should you do to maximize your investment? And how should you go about it? This article will help answer these questions and more.
Let’s dive in!
What is Uptraining?
More commonly called professional development or continuing education, uptraining focuses on helping employees gain new skills so that they can move forward in their careers.
There are so many skills that are important to career growth, including both soft and hard skills. Employees can learn and practice all of them, often in the course of their daily work.
Some of the things you may want to train employees in include:
- Social Media
- Design software such as InDesign or Adobe Suite
- Data management and analysis
- UI/UX design
Of course, this is an incomplete list. The right skills for your organization will depend on your business’ industry, target market, and each employee’s skills and goals.
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Deciding What to Offer
What types of classes should your business provide? How should they be delivered?
These are essential questions. The first step is to talk to your employees about what they’d like to learn and find out how those skills can benefit your business. You definitely don’t want to implement training without employee input. It would go over about as well as a pizza party to announce mandatory overtime!
Secondly, take a look at the skill gaps in your departments. For instance, if you have struggled to find data analysts, look at how you might provide that training in-house so that existing employees can move up.
Finally, look at how you can deliver education. Adults have various learning styles, and you may have people who are working remotely while others are in the office. Consider options such as online video, train-at-your-own-pace modules, and in-person classes.
Of course, some training options, such as getting an MBA, can make a big difference to someone’s career but may not be available on-site. You might want to offer tuition reimbursement for those who pursue formal training or education.
How to Encourage Uptraining
A lot of employees are excited about finding new opportunities and learning skills. However, not everyone will be eager to join in on the experience. What can you do to encourage your employees to take advantage of professional development and see it benefit their careers?
Help Employees Set Their Own Goals
Too often in our workplaces, goals are set by managers or department heads who are focused on production and efficiency rather than personal growth. Instead, you can help employees take ownership by involving them in a career-oriented goal-setting process.
Where do they see their career taking them? What’s the next position they want to apply for? Help them understand that when they get additional training, they can add that to the achievements on their resumes when applying for internal positions. It can make a big difference!
Encourage Internal Hiring
Suppose an employee works hard to gain the skills they need for a new position, only to see that position filled by someone from outside the organization. In that case, it can be demoralizing and may even contribute to them leaving the company.
To get the most out of your uptraining program, encourage all managers to put additional weight on applications from internal employees. Workers who are trying to better themselves and learn new skills should be rewarded, not passed over.
Create a Leadership Development Program
Often professional development is done on a person-by-person basis, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, creating a leadership program can help you group ambitious employees so that they can gain and practice expertise in everything from emotional intelligence to Excel.
A group like this can encourage each other and help each other grow professionally. The camaraderie can also boost morale and employee loyalty. Finally, you can create opportunities for this group to gain visibility through projects and presentations with upper management.
A leadership training program can become a hallmark of your workplace and help you attract and retain top talent for a long time to come!
Set Time Aside for Training
The only thing worse than creating a professional development program without talking to employees is building something everyone is excited about but has no time to do.
Ensure that every manager sets aside time for employees to do online training and pursue professional development. It can be a great activity for Wednesdays when the week seems never-ending or a lighter workload idea for Fridays.
However you structure it, make sure employees know that there is time to learn new skills, and they won’t be punished for pursuing growth. By setting up blocks of time twice a week or so, everyone will have an opportunity to move their career forward.
Are Your Employees Growing?
Just like in sports, if you can develop your talent in-house, it will cost less and benefit you more than spending a lot of money on a talented professional from outside the organization. The only way to do that is through a well-defined professional development program.
The vast majority of employees want to grow, learn new skills, and move up in their careers. All you need to do is meet that desire with a training program that makes sense for your organization.
The first step is to ask employees what they want to learn. Ready? Go for it!
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About the Author
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity and marketing strategies.
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