Career development and training are often hailed as some of the most important factors in choosing a new job. In fact, a recent Gallup study found that 59% of millennials; 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of baby boomers say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. As the competition for top talent increases, many companies are looking at how to make training and professional development a definitive part of their company culture. Whether your budget for professional development is large or small, check out our top 10 list of techniques you can implement to bring training to the forefront, and win the war for top talent.
Comprehensive Initial Training
Nothing shows your commitment to professional development than initial, comprehensive training while onboarding a new employee. Impress your new hires from the start with an organized training schedule that covers everything about your company, industry and their primary job function.
Individual Development Training Plan
From the beginning, set out a training program specific to the employee’s needs that include webinars, offsite training, and on-the-job cross training. Personalize it to the employee, and allow them to be a part of the process.
In today’s online world, more and more training opportunities have gone digital. As convenient as that is, employees are looking for something different and tangible. Inviting a speaker to come to your place of business is a great experience for employees, and the cost can be much less than sending them all to conferences out of state.
Lunch & Learn
Like the onsite seminar, an office Lunch & Learn gives the opportunity for development without having to leave the office or even take time off from daily work. Your team can learn from each other; you can invite an outside speaker; or you can all take a webinar/class online together. It’s a chance for team bonding and learning that is quick, easy and convenient.
Join associations that make sense for your business, industry and job function and reap the rewards. With the membership fee, you’ll gain access to online learning opportunities and discounts on excursion learning opportunities for your team members.
While most employees want to work on professional development, many times deadlines, projects, and life can get in the way. Make their learning goals part of their overall yearly goals, preferably broken up per quarter to keep them top of mind and ensure that they are a top priority.
Online Learning Subscriptions
Sites like Lynda.com offer a vast library of training modules for a small monthly fee. Allowing your employees to have skills-based training at their disposal is an excellent way to show you are invested in their development while also giving them the tools they need to succeed.
Although an old concept, cross training across job functions has many benefits. It can be great for employees who want to expand their skills and also make a big difference for employees in your organization that may be looking to move on. They will be introduced to other departments and might just find a type of job right there within your organization that brings them more satisfaction.
Assign mentors to employees by offering a formal mentorship program. Mentorship will not only identify those in your organization who are looking for more leadership opportunities but will also give you a holistic view of their skills and abilities. Plus, mentorship helps employees feel more connected to leadership and engaged in the business.
Local Networking Groups
Finally, offering opportunities for good, old-fashioned networking shows your team that you want them on top of their game, and you aren’t threatened by their desire to improve themselves. Find in-person opportunities to network for your team (and foot the bill). Encourage and give time off for these activities, or better yet, sponsor one of your own.
Like anything else, training and professional development can become a key component of your company culture with a little planning and dedication. Is your company lacking in the training area? Every cause needs a champion. If your organization hasn’t made training a focused endeavor, consider working to implement it with your team, and then company-wide. The benefits you see will speak for themselves.