In March, COVID-19 crashed the job market, killing over 700,000 jobs in the U.S. But amid the pandemic, many companies discovered that shifting to an e-commerce model will save their businesses. As a result, remote working a.k.a. work-from-home rose and become the “new normal.” Meetings that used to be held in office conference rooms are now conducted via Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet. Food, fashion, and novelty businesses focused on online ordering. And most notably, digital startups emerged.
If you’re one of the business owners who shifted to the e-commerce model, or the entrepreneurs who started an online business, maintaining a high revenue is your likely target. But there’s one more crucial investment you have to make regularly: Employee training.
Given that the job market is currently volatile, you can’t risk losing your competent employees. Many of them may be appreciating their paychecks that continued to arrive despite the crisis, but studies show that employees nowadays, especially millennials, treasure career development more than their salaries.
Therefore, retaining your employees boils down to an effective training program. Whether you’re an office-based company or a digital one, here are the ways to tell if your training program is working:
1. Your Employees Passed the Final Tests
They may claim that they were satisfied with the program and that they’ve learned a lot, but if they ended up failing the final tests, it means that their training had been ineffective. Failing the competency tests indicates that they are unlikely to apply what they’ve learned in real life.
On the other hand, passing the exams clearly means that your employees understood the program and have benefited from it. But still, you can’t take their good results for granted. Have them fill out a survey about the training program, so that you’d find out exactly what worked and what didn’t. That way, you can adjust your methods accordingly, and get even better results.
2. Your Employees’ Behavior Changed
The purpose of training isn’t just to reach quotas. It should improve your employees’ behavior on the job too, especially if they’re in sales. A customer service team, for instance, needs to respond to inquiries fast while maintaining a professional and cordial attitude. If they only respond but don’t sympathize with your customers, then their training definitely had a hole.
3. Productivity Rates are High
When your training program is effective, your employees will be clear about their areas of responsibility, master the skills required in their job, and will know how to perform their tasks correctly. In turn, their productivity will rise.
Moreover, an effective training program will foster collaborations within a team or in between teams. On the contrary, if productivity and collaborations are low, their training has flopped.
Digital adoption, an aspect of training programs, are also relevant in employee productivity. You have to maximize all your digital resources to make jobs faster and easier. However, digital tools can become a distraction; if you still rely on outdated software, manual operations, and slow internet, the digital adoption area of your training program may need improvement.
4. Employees are Encouraged to Stay
Today’s employees like to feel that their companies are investing in them. More than a generous salary, health benefits, and retirement benefits, they seek career growth opportunities. In fact, 61% of employees say that it is the most important factor.
To further prove that, the Edelman Trust Barometer found that 41% of employees would require a higher salary if their company doesn’t provide an effective training and development program, while 38% said it would be a deal-breaker.
Hence, even during these tough times, don’t forget that your employees are still desiring a career boost. Finances may be their current priority, but as the economy continues to recover, they’d start focusing on their career ladders again.
Reasons to Continually Train Your Employees
Training shouldn’t be a one-time investment. Just because it had been effective doesn’t mean that it should stop and that only new hires should be trained. Even with a pandemic, training can continue, in the form of a well-constructed virtual training program.
PwC’s latest survey found that 78% of CEOs believe that the trend toward remote working will continue after the pandemic. Therefore, there is barely any point in waiting to meet face-to-face again before retraining your employees. Besides, according to a study, virtual-trained managers are 275% more confident to act on what they’ve learned.
Your profits will flourish as well. The American Society for Training and Development found that companies with extensive training programs had a 24% higher profit margin. They also generated a 218% higher income for each employee.
Considering all of these, focus on your training programs to motivate your employees to stay, instead of just raising their salaries. While a pay boost will definitely increase their morale as well, nothing will make them feel more worthy and valued than career growth opportunities.