When you invest in your employees, they invest in your company.
This is easily seen in the form of a regular paycheck. Employers pay their employees a salary, and in turn, those employees come to their jobs and invest their time in the company. The money from their paycheck motivates employees to give their time to their job.
But how do employers go about encouraging an improvement in the quality of the work their employees are putting in?
Most companies have comprehensive training programs for employees. The important question is always which content should we transfer through training. A team needs ideas for how to improve; they need goals for how to better their work, and they need to believe their work has value. They need to believe their company values quality work and that it is part of something bigger. These are powerful motivations to improve performance and drive innovation. Too often big efforts in training and educating go to management skills and soft skills. We need to put the technical training that is relevant for the products and services we offer back into the front and center of our efforts.
During the last decades, finance and administration skills, MBAs, lawyers, etc. have taken the lead. In many university faculties dedicated to advanced engineering biology or natural science skills seem to be of much more interest to foreign students than for students in the USA or Western Europe. It is very difficult for a company to stay technically competitive if the management does not really have the technical skills to show a clear path to future product or service development.
By investing in employees’ education, employers are telling their employees that this is something valued by the company, that the quality of their performance matters. When an employer develops a reputation for promoting their employees and investing in their education, this gives employees goals to aim for and something to plan for in their future.
When it comes to employee retention, there are few things as powerful as this. Employee retention is a struggle for most companies, but when your employees can picture themselves ten years down the line being promoted from within, they have more reason to invest in their work. They want to see the company succeed, because they see themselves being a part of that future success.
Innovation will not come from an employee who plans to work at a company for one year before moving on to something greater. They are less likely to take a deeper look at how your company currently runs, picture its success ten years down the line, and care to find ways to innovate and make that success possible. The employee who has been invested in by their employer with skills relevant to the future development of the company, who wants to be part of that success, is going to take their education and use it to find innovations ways to make that success possible.