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A Beginner’s Guide to Employee Development

A Beginner’s Guide to Employee Development

Shippo Snippets

  • Although there’s no silver bullet in business, employee training and development could result in business profit and happier and more committed employees 
  • Employees who feel like they can’t develop at your company and fulfill their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave the company
  • Companies with extensive training programs earn 218% more income per employee than companies without
  • Customer support teams are working tirelessly in the new business environment created by COVID-19, and should be at the top of the list for consistent training and development

The Story

Say that there was a way to increase your business profit that would also result in happier and more committed employees. Would you consider it?

 Of course, you would. That’s a rare business win-win! 

Creating a direct link between business investment and revenue growth in a business isn’t easy. It’s hard to know where to spend, and where to hold back. And while there’s certainly no silver bullet to profit, employee training and development might be as close as business owners can get. Done right, a professional development program for employees could yield major results.

Working for a start-up or growing online business requires a great degree of finesse and intuitive thinking. There’s not always a playbook for every decision. But that doesn’t mean that employees should be left to figure it out all on their own. They need education and processes. 

Here’s a look at how an effective employee training program can benefit your employees and your company’s bottom line—and how to implement one.

Mutually Beneficial Training and Development

A properly trained employee will be better equipped to carry out a company’s vision and make decisions that move the company towards growing profit. 

There’s no shortage of reasons to consider an employee training program, ranging from the obvious to the less so. On the straightforward side, employees need to understand their job function and the requisite skills in order to do it well. 

They’ll also need to acquire new skills as the nature of the business—and their job functions and responsibilities—change. To treat training as a one-time event is to say that an employee’s job should not evolve. This is doing a major disservice to a rapidly changing online company.

Business expert and motivational speaker Zig Zigler puts it like this: “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.”

Training gives your employees the skills they need to work productively, make decisions quickly, and move throughout their days with confidence, and this is something they can carry with them throughout their careers. Who wants employees of any other kind?

And confidence at work goes deeper than you might think. When an employee clocks out for the day, they want to feel as though they’ve done well, and made a difference. Without proper training, they could become unhappy with their contributions or feel they’re unable to grow. In fact, an IBM study showed that “employees who feel like they can’t develop at your company and fulfill their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave the company.” To ignore employee development is to perpetuate stagnancy—or costly turnover—within your business.

Boost Your Bottom Line With Employee Training

Companies with extensive training programs earn 218% more income per employee than companies without, according to a study by the Association for Talent Development. Additionally, these companies have a 24% better profit margin than their peers who invest much less in employee development. (The study compares companies in the top quartile of employee development investment to those in the lowest quartile of employee development.)

Done right, proper training leads to a boost in productivity. Training also helps to limit costly waste and inefficiencies. Another study, by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, showed that investments in workforce education were more effective at increasing productivity than other investments, including investment in company equipment.

Starting a New Employee Training Program

The first step is to identify the areas where lapses in knowledge exist. (Note: this is super key.) No matter the size of your company, it would serve you well to take a calculated, unbiased inventory of work processes and systems. For example, upon auditing your departments, you find that your Design production department has little oversight, and is constantly running late (or at the very last minute) on the delivery of much-needed web assets. This could present an opportunity to develop and train a more-defined team lead, or bring in more support at the project-management end of things. You may find it possible to do this on your own, using surveys, data, and interviews. If you’re feeling stuck, it may help to bring in a consultant’s fresh set of eyes.

As you put together a plan, beware of training that misses the mark in the following ways: it doesn’t actively work towards a specific goal for the business, it trains for the wrong problem, or for a problem that training can’t fix. Think of it this way: don’t allow employee training to create the waste it was intended to fix. Spend as much or more time identifying areas of the business that can be improved as you do on the implementation of the training.

As you put educational material together, make sure to not lose sight of the objective of the training. Every element of training should ultimately serve that objective. It’s so easy to get distracted and to add additional insight, but keep your eyes on the prize. Education generally falls into one of three categories: knowledge, skills, or attitude. Training on each must serve the objective.

Some Areas of Focus

Running a business online is an exercise in changing protocol quickly. That’s even truer now, with the rapid upheaval to industries as brought on by COVID-19. Luckily, many online stores are uniquely positioned to thrive during this difficult time. But that certainly doesn’t mean that the landscape remains unchanged for online shops and businesses. Here are a couple of areas you’ll want to ensure have the training and tools they need for success. 

Customer Care

Though every business may want to focus on something different in terms of employee training and development, consider your customer support teams to be at the top of the list. As online shops navigate an influx of orders ( including those from customers that might be new to the experience of ordering products online), they are surely working tirelessly. It’s more important than ever to ensure they’ve got the skills necessary to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Having the right training and know-how squarely in place at the front lines will be extra-beneficial for your customers and your company’s reputation.

Operations

With the increased focus on e-commerce shopping (especially as of late), your merchandising, inventory, handling, and shipping teams should also obviously be of top priority. Ensuring that they’ve got the best tools for process and execution is key, so that you’ve got the right stock on hand to fulfill the needs of your customers, in a safe and timely manner.

Remote Employees

Whether they’re new to working from home due to the pandemic, or if they’re old pros, your remote employees’ mental health and ability to work in a productive manner matters more than ever. Helping your employees make the shift is sure to be a boon to the whole team. In this case, communication is key, and you’ll want to ensure that any remote training program you put forth leaves room for inquiries and follow-up sessions. 

Give your team the tools they need to work smarter, with Shippo. Shippo offers fast and convenient shipping solutions that’ll save your business time and money.

Amanda Holden is a personal finance writer, speaker, and educator. Through her business, Invested Development, she teaches young women (and anyone who has felt left out of these important conversations) about money and investing. She writes a blog called The Dumpster Dog Blog, which is scrappy and fun finance education for young women.

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