Training is something we all have to do. From the gym to meditation, we establish habits and train our bodies and our minds to bend to what we want and need them to do. As leaders in business, we train employees to follow policies and do what we want them to do.
We also offer them education in our industry. We do this through a variety of means. The rise of many courses and training programs through eLearning means employees can train anywhere, anytime, as long as they have a good internet connection. Typically, this is part of a software-based solution that manages online courses and tracks and evaluates employee progress.
This is an important part of developing your business which, when properly expressed, leads to increased employee retention. Offering educational and training opportunities enables employees to feel valued, engaged, and poised for advancement. Here are some ways that learning management systems contribute to employee retention.
Adding Meaning to the Job
No one wants to wake up every day and go to a job that has no significant meaning. The kicker is that this meaning does not have to mean a job matching an individual’s passions, or that is even their ideal job. The truth is that all jobs have purpose, and the ability to impact the world around you can come from any position.
The employee must understand the impact their job has, and the difference they make every day to the company, clients, customers, and those they work with. A training program that offers an opportunity to improve at the same time adds meaning.
Recall that one of the ways employees feel valued is because they understand the importance of what they do.
Career Paths for a Flat Organization
The problem with many startups or other small companies is that the management teams are small, and there are few opportunities for individuals to advance into those positions. Essentially, the structure of the company is pretty flat.
As Rand Fishkin states in his recent book, Lost and Founder, if management is the only career track in a company, everyone is screwed. There should be opportunities that don’t involve people management or supervision. This is where a learning management system and a training program comes in.
One of the incentives for an employee to complete training is advancement. This can come in the form of pay, office amenities, extra time off, or even a new job title. Many companies have explored this, and the most successful ones have career tracks within each job description, many of which have nothing to do with management.
At the same time, your company needs managers, and some of the most qualified applicants already work for you. Some took lower entry level positions to get their foot in the door, and others have educated themselves while working for you, and have a real desire and ability to manage others.
A learning management system with the right training programs included is a great way to train others towards leadership. The good news is there are already leadership training programs out there that are sure to align with your company values. You only have to add them to your training program; there is no need to create your own content.
Most employees want meaning, yes, but some are striving towards career success, and when those promotion opportunities become available, you want them to be prepared. The beauty of a software-based system is that the employee can engage with content anytime and anywhere and move through it at their own pace. This allows them to absorb and retain it, meaning you get better results.
A note here: don’t set unrealistic expectations. Your employees expect you to be ethical, so don’t promise positions that don’t exist and things you can’t deliver. Getting people prepared is one thing, but let them know if and when you expect opportunities to become available, and what their level of preparation means for their chances.
Better than the Competition
One of the weakest parts of many businesses and startups is training. Initial training is weak and often skimped on, as employers don’t know if an employee is going to stick with them or not. Rather than being geared toward retention, it is often geared toward weeding out candidates (something that should have been done during the interview process).
A good training program will set you apart from your competition, especially in the area of attracting and keeping talent. The less an employee feels like a number and the more valuable they perceive themselves to be to the organization, the less likely they are to leave even if they are offered higher pay.
You need to be training and retaining employees better than your competition. Not only will it make your company more stable, and the customer service experience more enjoyable, but it will also make you more profitable. The cost of recidivism is one of the greatest hidden expenses of running any company.
The Trust and Value Proposition
The final key is this: your employees must trust you as an employer, and they must see the value in what they do. This can be taught, reinforced, shared, and developed. You must think of it this way: every time an employee quits for what is effectively a lateral move, they are firing you as a boss. They are telling you that there is something wrong with your company and the way you are doing something.
This trust and value can be indentured by your training programs, one of the many methods of adding value and meaning to any position in your company.
Employee retention is a vital part of your business success, and it says a lot about your values and integrity. A learning management system is just part of an overall package, but deployed and managed with care, it can be one of the strongest contributors to your employees choosing to stay.
This content is sponsored by Suhail Ajamal.
Photo: Getty Images