Employee EngagementLearning & Development

The Power of Training

Taking cues from leading talent grabbers.
By Vicki Fox David
How does a company like Google—the number one company on Fortune’s 2013 “100 Best Company to Work For” list—attract such high quality talent? Especially if the most recent Talent Shortage Survey by the Manpower Group reports that 49 percent of U.S. employers are unable to find the talent their organizations need, and 40 percent of those employers say candidates lack essential skills.

It could be the nap pods, or the on-site physicians, or perhaps the games and snacks. Google also fosters a learning environment and invests in the development of their employees with reimbursement programs for classes and tuition to simply help their people do their jobs better.

Earning recognition as a great place to work means that “you can attract and attain some amazing people…people who are exceptional and motivated, and who are driven beyond a good job and a paycheck,” said Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, in a 2011 CNN article. “You don’t need a lot of money to do what Google has done. If you give people freedom, they will amaze you.”

In a learning culture, the employer-employee dynamic is unique from cultures that don’t provide developmental opportunities. These organizations invest in the future of their employees, empowering them to advance within the company, and to develop personally. By doing this, a company is fostering trust and building a relationship of mutual commitment.

Facebook—recognized by Glassdoor as the number one place to work in 2013—is also focused on a learning environment. According to its website, “Informed people make better decisions and have a greater impact, which is why we work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information about the company as possible.”

A 2012 study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School found that although external hires are typically paid 18 to 20 percent more than internal employees for the same job, they get lower marks in performance reviews during their first two years. The study also found that outside hires were 61 percent more likely to be laid off or fired, and 21 percent more likely than internal hires in similar positions to leave a job on their own accord.

So by investing that 18 to 20 percent into training and development of internal employees, you’re likely to not only gain a more knowledgeable worker, but also a more loyal one.

Each year, CHG Healthcare Services, which took Fortune’s number three spot on the 2013 list, sets aside a dedicated budget for investing in ongoing training and development that supports the company’s strategic goals and ensures employees enjoy rewarding careers. They offer courses, resources, and support for professional and personal development, sales training, leadership development, team building, coaching resources, and technical training. According to the CHG website, “Even during the recent challenging economic times, we continued to invest in the growth and development of our people.”

In turn, an employee of a learning culture is likely to respond to the developmental opportunities a company provides in a variety of ways:

• Increased motivation

• Desire to succeed

• Invested interest in the success of the company and ownership of company-wide goals

• Become a proud spokesperson of the company

The cost of training has risen, and can be expensive for small and medium-sized businesses especially to provide for their employees. Fortunately, there are resources available so these businesses can provide quality business training at an affordable cost. Online education and performance solutions give managers, execs, and employees across the board access to world-class training and professional development tools to help create a learning environment and attract top talent.

Vicki Fox David is product manager of SmartTeam.

Tags: Engaged Workforce, HRO Today Global, Learning

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