Employee training and continuing education are great for employees and even better for your business. Training benefits your business and gives you a competitive advantage. Paying for something that benefits the company and employees just makes sense.
A little joke I find sadly amusing is of a CEO suggesting the company pay for employee training. The CFO says, “What if they get that training and then leave?” The CEO responds, “What if they don’t and they stay?” The most common worry is that employees will leave, taking that education and training investment with them. Worrying about this unfounded and puts you at a disadvantage.
Not many companies see the value in investing in continuing education and training. They opt for short term profit over long term gains. This actually results in a loss of productivity and lower skills among employees that hurt the organization over time. Employees will feel demoralized and will leave because they do not feel valued. You will end up losing employees with key skills you actually need because they were not given the opportunity to grow and expand their skills.
Treat Your Employees Well & Offer Training
If you are worried about employees leaving after you have trained them, you have other issues to deal with. Companies that treat employees well in the first place do not have this concern. Ask yourself, why would my employees want to leave after they just received training? Then address that issue! People do not leave companies that treat them well. Offer solid benefits and provide them with opportunities for growth. If anything, they actually feel loyalty and stay.
If this is still a concern, then the simple solution is to ask the employee to commit to a period of service in exchange for education compensation. This only applies to larger education expenses such as formal degrees or extensive training programs. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a commitment from your employee if you are investing in their education. You might attach some other conditions as well, such as passing grades, but do not go overboard. Asking for more than a year or two is not common, and really a year is a sufficient commitment.
Enhance the Value of the Employee Training
Treat short training courses and seminars differently. You should be offering those as a matter of course. A reasonable request is to ask employees to prepare a presentation of what they learned. They can even conduct a short training session for fellow coworkers. This has multiple benefits for the company and the employee. You get a trained employee. That benefits them and the organization. Other employees get exposure to the material. You can be certain that employee is focused on learning because they know they will have to present it—they will take the training seriously. Finally, presenting reinforces their learning, teaches them to give effective presentations, and improves their communication skills. That is a huge win for a organization and the employee.
Outcompete Your Competitors With Training
Employers often think they can simply go hire someone with the skills they need. Of course, the employment market is not that simple. You may need a current employee to have additional skills or simply not be able to find the right mix of skills in the market. Training and continuing education make sense and it is a great investment in your organization. It results in a much better, more talented workforce. Companies that invest in employee education and training stand to easily out compete their rivals.
Think of it this way: If you have an employee who wants to improve their skills, you should support that. Worry more about the employee not interested in improving their skills.