Investing in Employee Training – The Debate

There are two schools of thought when it comes to investing in the training and development of your employees. Some believe that after an employee receives training, they will move on to another company, taking your investment with them. Others believe that employees who receive training are more likely to stay and become more valuable employees.

The cost by itself can be steep, but then again, hiring trained employees can also be expensive.   Let’s face it, starting or growing a company requires an investment in capital. You invest in the tools and vehicles needed for growth, and as you grow, you invest in even more tools and vehicles. Unfortunately, none of these investments last forever.  When you do your taxes, your accountant will reduce your taxes by claiming depreciation on those tools and vehicles, but the reality of depreciation is that those investments will reduce in value over time until they need to be replaced.

Investing in training doesn’t depreciate.

In fact, when a motivated employee is trained in a new skill, they will continue to learn and grow with that new skill over time. That employee will tend to teach their skills to other employees. A rich diversification of training among your employees will add to the culture of your company.

Training employees positively impacts turnover.

So, what about the fear of employees leaving for greener pastures once they’ve been trained?  Studies have shown this is most often not the case. Employees that receive training tend to feel more appreciated and will usually stay much longer.

A famous experiment comparing work area lighting to productivity yielded unexpected results back in the late 1920s, early 1930s. Elton Mayo, working with employees at the Western Electric factory in Hawthorne Illinois, had the lighting for a group of employees increased.  As expected, the productivity for that group went up, attributing the increase in productivity to the change to brighter lights. They expected that dimming the lights would then decrease productivity but were surprised to find the opposite was true. Productivity improved even more than the previous test.  After studying the results, they concluded that the change in productivity wasn’t the result of the change in lighting level, but instead due to the employees’ belief that someone was concerned with their workplace conditions. This became known as the Hawthorne effect.

Invest in training and increase job satisfaction.

Most employees want to be good at what they do and all have a desire to stand out among their peers. Employees without sufficient training will become frustrated and dissatisfied and will usually leave after time. Employee turnover is expensive and it takes time for a new employee to get up to speed and become productive. The more you invest in them, the better they become at their jobs and the more likely they will be to remain with the company.

In good times, competition for good employees can be fierce. There are some who only seek the biggest paycheck but most just want to be happy with their job and feel successful. An employee will take less money to work in a shop with the opportunity for growth.  Not only will you retain your best employees, you’ll be able to attract better employees as you grow, once they learn of your training program.

About Allan Goodwin

Allan Goodwin has been with ConEst for 28 years (or since 1989). He started out as an estimator and was thrust into the role of technical support when ConEst was first conceived. Since then, Allan spent many years as the QA director, then product manager. Allan is now the Director of Product Development/QA, ensuring the products meet the needs of the users. Allan a licensed Master Electrician in the state of New Hampshire as well as a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and Finance. He also has an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Hesser College.