For many small businesses setting aside time for employee training and development can be extremely difficult. It’s hard to justify the hours of productivity that will be lost in the effort to better train and equip employees, especially when many small businesses need every one of those hours just to meet payroll. For many small business owners it really comes down to, “Is employee training worth the investment?” If you step back and look at the bigger picture there may be more of a payoff for training than you initially realize.
Turnover – a recent study found that 40% of employees who received insufficient training for their position left the company within the first year. If an employee feels unable to properly do their job frustration and fear of being set-up to fail leaves them with no choice but to move on. While this may seem relatively minor – you’ve invested little in them at this point so it costs little to lose them – it’s costing you more than you know. First you’ve lost many months that could have been productive with that employee had they been trained initially. Second you’ve now got to spend time reviewing resumes and interviewing for their replacement. Finally your existing staff has to continue to pick up the slack for being down an employee which will wear on them and lower overall morale.
Taxes – some training expenses that promote continuing education are eligible for tax deduction. Self-employed business owners can also deduct costs associated with their job training including classes, textbooks, travel expenses and more. Of course you’ll want to confirm your specific situation with your tax professional prior to participation.
Productivity – a well-trained employee will be able to perform their job more efficiently and thus be more productive overall. Of course the more productive each employee is, the more profitable the business is. You can achieve more with fewer people if they’re all well trained and competent. Productivity also increases as these well-trained employees make fewer mistakes and require less supervision.
Employee Retention – many employees leave their current company because they’re looking for new opportunities to grow their skill set and develop more professionally. If your employees know that they have a path for growth by staying where they are they’re more likely to do so. Training programs can provide a map for employees to plot their development and look for new skills they would like to acquire. It lets them know that their job is not a dead end. In addition new employees will see this type of employee development plan as a benefit to joining your company. Many younger workers in particular are looking to join companies that will keep them challenged and constantly learning new skills. This can be a major selling point when trying to attract young talent.
While the cost may seem like a tough pill to swallow, in the end the payoff from investing in your employees both at the beginning of their time with you as well as throughout the years, can pay off in substantial ways. It’s worth the time and money to invest now and reap the rewards later.