The US is facing a shortage of educated and skilled labor.
Some think this shortage could have alarming consequences on America’s competitiveness in the global economy.
According to the Guide to Adult Education for Work, a large portion of the American workforce lacks basic skills and work competencies considered important in the workplace.
High school dropout rates are staggering – DoSomething.org reports that 1.3 million young adults drop out of high school every year.
In addition, around 12 million adults without high school degrees are currently a part of our labor force.
Sadly, these people make up our current and future workforce and are in serious need of proper specialized training.
Employers are burdened with these employees and use continuing education programs to help bridge the competency gap.
For instance, employees could earn a college degree through a formal program, or concentrate on their professional development by taking part in company-specific courses that are aimed to enrich their work experience.
Either way, a skilled labor force can be a competitive advantage.
4 Benefits Of Investing In A Continuing Education Program
1. Increased Productivity
Employees who are exposed to the newest technologies, business practices, and workflow trends can increase their productivity.
This happens when employees take classes, attend seminars or webinars, and bring the newly learned skills back to the workplace.
For example, if an administrative assistant is sent to a class on the newest version of Microsoft office, she will learn tricks and techniques that can help her perform tasks more quickly.
And, as an employee’s competencies increase, they are able to take on more tasks and responsibilities.
I’m sure I’m dating myself, but I remember the days when we typed with carbon paper and if you made a mistake you had to start over!
2. Employee Retention
The costs associated with losing an employee can be high. According to a SHRM report, employee departures cost a company time, money, and other resources.
Direct replacement costs can reach as high as 50%-60% of an employee’s annual salary, with total costs associated with turnover ranging from 90% to 200% of annual salary.
And, every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs an average of 6 to 9 months’ salary.
So for a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.
While it is important to consider the cost of losing a valuable employee, it is also important to remember that employees like working for an organization that offers continuing educational benefits.
Most people like having the opportunity to increase learning, add new skills, and develop professionally.
These all contribute to a high level of employee engagement – which ultimately impacts retention.
3. Employees Feel Valued
Employers win by having a skilled workforce but employees also win by the company investing in their skills.
I worked for an organization that would tell employees “we can’t guarantee your employment, but we can guarantee your employability”.
This philosophy gave employees comfort in knowing that they would have marketable skills should the need ever arise for them to change jobs.
This also communicated the value that the employer placed in its employees by investing in their professional development.
4. Improved Products and Services
Organizations rise and fall based on the competencies of their workforce.
We have all experienced the rude receptionist, the incompetent plumber, or the apathetic sales associate.
These poor customer experiences result in consumer defection – which results in declining sales, damaged credibility, and loss of market share.
A skilled labor force can perform tasks more quickly, more effectively, and with higher quality.
The perceived costs associated with a continuing education program concerns employers.
Particularly those who run small businesses.
While many business owners recognize that continuing education programs can be helpful, the thought of yet another operating expenditure often dissuades them from moving forward.
But, there are affordable ways to offer continuing education to your employees.
While one-day seminars and classes are a great way to keep employee skills high – they can be costly, particularly if you are sending a group of employees to training.
I have found that there are some online options that can be much less expensive yet very effective. There is one that I am familiar with and recommend you try.
Lorman Training Services
What I like about Lorman Training Services is that they offer many training options – live webinars, on-demand webinars and they can also customize training specific to your organization.
I like the flexibility of on-demand webinars because you can ask employees to take them at a time that is most convenient for them.
This is also an affordable solution – far less than sending employees to multiple off-site classes.
If this interests you, simply go to this link, and it will take you to their page where you can search for classes that might be relevant to your employees – you will also receive a 10% discount on any training package.
The benefits of an employer-sponsored education are obvious to the employee. They get to further their education without worrying about out-of-pocket tuition fees or other related expenses.
Employers who invest in their workforce introduce new skills to their employees and make their staff more productive, which ultimately improves quality, efficiency, and customer experience.
What percentage of your operating budget is devoted to training your workforce?