The tech industry is evolving at a rapid rate, and keeping up with these changes is becoming increasingly difficult. As a result, ask any employee if some extra training and education on the job would be appreciated, and expect the answer to be ‘yes’. Employers can be hesitant to offer this, however, due to the effort and expenses needed to start such initiatives. Nevertheless, studies have demonstrated that the constant learning and development of employees are worth the investment, increasing employee satisfaction and retention, boosting profits and productivity, and improving brand image. In this over-saturated market of tech professionals who have their pick of the litter when it comes to tech jobs, fighting to keep your employees becomes inevitable.
Why employee training programs work
Google anything related to ‘training and development of employees’ and you’ll find that employee retention is the most obvious reason to provide such initiatives. Neglecting the desires of developers, system administrators, and other valuable (and highly sought-after) tech professionals lead to undesirable consequences: studies have found that 40% of those who don’t receive the necessary training leave their positions within their first year on the job.
What about more senior employees?
Within the tech industry, it seems like there is an endless supply of new frameworks, languages, and various other technologies that professionals like—and need—to keep up-to-date with. This emphasizes the necessity for training throughout an employee’s career. In a UK survey, roughly two-thirds of the workers expressed this desire for consistent development, regardless of their seniority level.
Understanding generational differences
Certainly, a supportive work environment for personal growth and training programs is a huge contributor to employer retention. This is especially important to Millenials (the generation born between 1981 and 1996); 87% of 400 employees indicated in a national survey that access to opportunities to grow and develop within their career is a large motivator to stay at their current workplace. While 70% of respondents cited this as a primary motivator, (including Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers), Millennials ranked this factor higher. This suggests the need for a company to be dynamic and flexible; evolving with its employees, as the older generations in the workforce make way for the younger professionals.
We can’t deny that the success of a company—whether in the tech industry or other sectors—is measured by profit and income. So how does employee development impact the overall financial success of a company besides employee satisfaction? The Association for Talent Development (ATD) found that businesses that offer comprehensive training programs had a 218% higher company income per employee, compared to companies without such programs. Overall profit margins also increased by 24% compared to those who invest less money and effort into training.
Furthermore, the level and frequency of training correlate with increasing productivity, as a result of higher skill levels. Plain-old skill development enables employees to become more efficient, confident, and up-to-date with the rate of technological change. The National Center on the Education Quality of the Workforce (EQW) found that a higher quality employee education increases overall productivity much more than any upgrade in the value of company benefits. This suggests that investing in employee development should supersede upgrading the tech you use at work.
To top it all off, increased employee engagement strengthens the emotional commitment to the company and the work, inspiring loyalty and a desire to help achieve the organization’s goals. Indeed, the difference in productivity and performance between engaged employees and those who aren’t is a whopping 202%.
Why do employees want it?
A recent survey by SurveyMonkey asked employees why they want additional training on the job. Here’s the breakdown:
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- 59% said it improves their overall job performance.
- 51% believed it gives them more self-confidence.
- 41% claimed it helps their time-management skills.
- 33% cited it as a factor in earning them a pay bump. (Gitlin, 2019)
These numbers are reflected in increased employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and retention when adequate opportunities for development are provided.
How is employee training achievable in the field of tech?
Promote Clear Communication between manager and employee
Employees need to be open and honest with their managers about their needs and aspirations. Managers appreciate feedback and will strive to keep employees productive and satisfied. These matters can be addressed at regular meetings. During these meetings, managers can highlight specific achievements and set clear expectations and deadlines to push an employee to accomplish over the next quarter. A structured plan and constant feedback give the employee a goal to achieve and the motivation to work hard. A little bit of praise can go a long way.
A good manager should also invest the time in finding out how their employees like to learn; some prefer on-location educational programs, others like to learn online at home, and some prefer videos over textbooks. SurveyMonkey’s survey found that 65% of employees prefer learning via videos, with second place (55%) being learning via lectures and presentations. It’s important to develop a comprehensive approach for each employee, treating them like a valued individual.
Introduce Mentorship programs
Employers can enrich in house training resources by implementing mentorship programs, encouraging employees to learn from each other. (Employers should also look at their employees as training resources, by implementing a mentorship program). A study found that 1 in 3 of America’s Fortune 500 companies don’t offer formal mentorship programs, while 75% of smaller companies do. Mentorship programs are a cheap and easy way to allow junior developers and IT professionals to grow in their roles and senior developers to keep up-to-date with the newest technologies. Take it from the tech giant, Google, who also runs employee-to-employee training.
Offer access to online education platforms
For a small investment, additional learning and training can come from external sources. A survey found that 34% of employees are already taking educational tech courses in their free time. Companies can express the importance of their employee’s growth and development by providing these courses for their employees complimentary during the working hours. There are numerous popular online course sites where companies can enroll their employees, such as Linda, Udacity, Udemy, and Coursera, just to name a few.
Embrace non-tech skills
While developers, system administrators, data analysts, UX Researchers and all professionals on the tech spectrum appreciate learning new technologies, it’s vital to nourish skills that are integral to working with others. Providing soft-skill training encourages employees to be confident in their leadership capabilities, prepares them for management tasks, and streamlines the global teamwork.
It’s time to promote employee training & development in modern companies
As we see, employee development and training is a vital aspect of a company’s life cycle – it is beneficial for both parties. While employees are assisted to reach their fullest potential, companies are also granted with increased employee retention and productivity.
What is your opinion? We’d love to hear your voice.