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Why training can drive your bottom line

  • Written by Richard McAllister, MD of Scalabl

Australia has a $35b learning problem and we’re all ‘too busy’ to fix it 

Declining participation in workplace learning programs is costing the Australian economy more than $35 billion a year because “we’re all too busy” trying to manage workloads and hit deadlines. 


Our accelerated work environment is driving lots of work in progress, multiple deadlines and overwhelming us. 


We’re seeing this in the workplace on a regular basis. People are unable to learn new skills for their job because they simply don’t have time and it’s a very common pain point.  


Also, at the end of a demanding workday, many people just don’t have the energy or mindset to take on extra learning and development. 


As a result, this ‘busy-ness’ means many people don’t have the time or mental capacity for learning and development and this is hurting both businesses and employees, and there is a cost involved. 


A study conducted by the Association for Talent Development found that companies who invested in formalised training experienced a 24 percent higher profit margin than those who did not. Training results improved productivity, employee engagement and retention. 


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian companies generated gross operating profits of $147.7 billion for the year to December 2022, so this “lack of learning” is potentially costing the economy $35.5 billion per year.  


Ultimately, investing in employee development is vital to success no matter the industry or company size. 


It drives the bottom line for businesses and it also provides a major benefit to employees who feel more engaged and empowered in the workplace. The people and companies that learn the fastest win in this amplified pace of change. 


Here are five key ways to improve learning and development in the workplace: 

  • Develop a plan when people are most receptive to a future state – This is often at the start of a new year, or a new role or project. Employees can leverage this mental space to get clarity on what they can learn to develop their skills. Learning can also be a mixture of formal training, podcasts, webinars, online master classes. 

  • Follow through - Ensure that any training and development is not just a one-off exercise and is applied in practice on a regular basis so that it is not simply forgotten within weeks. Regular leadership support check-ins can be established monthly and quarterly to show progress. 

  • Put your hand up - Employees need to have the confidence, or be given it, to outline what they believe will be beneficial, with the caveat that it produces tangible benefits to the business.  

  • Be disciplined – Stick with the learning and development programs and make sure they have a high priority attached. Create and set hours or days for learning and only break this if a critical or higher priority task arises.  

  • Encourage collaboration - Create opportunities for employees to learn from and with each other and create teams if they are learning similar skills. This could include team-based learning projects, peer-to-peer mentoring, or cross-functional training initiatives. 

It’s also important to remember that simply holding a one-off training session is pointless if there is no follow up application of that training.

 

Studies have shown that 80 percent of training is forgotten after one week so if you’re doing these one-off sessions, you’re basically paying for disengagement. 


This training and knowledge needs to be applied on a regular basis and in a practical way, otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money.


Organisations need to foster a culture of continued learning, encouraging small mistakes in order to keep getting better and pushing the boundaries.

 

The LinkedIn Learning Report found that 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Conversely, employees who feel their company doesn't invest in their learning and development are 12 times more likely to consider leaving their job. 


Employees also said the number one reason they held back from extra learning is because of a lack time. 


The updated 2023 Learning Report also found that 93 percent of companies are concerned about employee retention and the number one way they are dealing with this is through “providing learning opportunities”.  


What this all means is that people who aren’t learning will leave. Three of the top five factors that drive people to pursue new jobs reflect their desire to stretch, grow, and develop new skills.  


Investing in employee learning and development has become crucial for both retention and overall business performance.  


As training levels increase and improve, employees will become more engaged, feel better about their role and become more likely to stay.


They will also help drive quality, innovation and revenue for a business which is why this is a win-win situation. 


About Richard McAllister 


Richard is the Managing Director of Scalabl which specialises in modern ways of working for businesses and employees. He has more than 20 years' experience within technology, organisational change and scaling agility. He applies a fresh and energetic approach to solving complex business problems

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