"The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them." — Zig Ziglar
Training and continuing education sound like noble ideals for your company. In a perfect world, all employees would spend a quarter of their time learning new concepts and techniques and, in general, sharpening their toolsets.
The reality of budgets, tremendously long to-do lists and the fear of watching training dollars walk right out the door when employees leave means that this type of continuing education isn't often a priority for many companies, particularly their IT departments.
This is the wrong way to look at it. Training and investing in your employees is more important than ever. Here's why.
Training bonds employees to your company. Training increases employee retention for several reasons.
— Employees experience a "sticky" feeling when a company invests in their success by shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars for training courses designed to improve their skillsets. They feel appreciated and heard, that their employer has (at least some of) their best interests at heart.
— Employees generally approach those training opportunities with their eventual application at their current job in mind. In other words, they look to training to help solve problems or resolve challenges they experience now. They're actively looking to resolve issues they face within your organization. While, of course, those skillsets and new learnings transfer with employees when they leave a job, brushing up a resume is often a lower tactical priority for an employed professional than is learning how to solve an existing problem for their current employer.
— Employees also tend to appreciate employers willing to invest in their skills and are less likely to leave because they feel undervalued and undertrained. They have less reason to seek out a new employer that does see the value in continuing the education of their staff.
Training increases the quality of your employees. Well-rounded employees who constantly develop and improve the breadth and depth of their skills will sow many benefits and harvests that you can reap later.
Consider virtualization. The cost savings and flexibility afforded by the virtualization wave have been numerous and considerable, but if your staff hadn't learned about hypervisors, administration, compatibility and the like, chances are you'd be spending a ton more on your hardware infrastructure than you need to.
Consider PowerShell. This administrative scripting language isn't easy to pick up, but the payoff is getting more done with less effort and less errors. If your staff knew PowerShell, would your organization benefit? Would your staff create more value if it was able to complete rote administration tasks in half the time (or less) because it knew how to script them?
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