What Is Employee Development?: Training & Advancement

In 2017, U.S. companies spent $90.6 billion on employee development and training activities. The average worker received 47.6 hours of training, which is four hours more compared to the previous year.

Successful businesses worldwide acknowledge the importance of employee development. Amazon, Google, AT&T, Schneider Electric and other corporations all provide professional and career development training to empower their staff. This strategy can help you attract and retain top talent, improve work performance and give your business a competitive edge.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Employee development includes the different types of training programs and learning opportunities that help people develop their skills and advance in their careers.

Employee Development Meaning

There is no official employee development definition. In general, this term covers the different types of employee training and activities that contribute to professional growth.

AT&T, for example, has shaped more than 100,000 leaders through AT&T University, its development and training program. Employees who join Amazon undergo on-the-job training prior to hire. Seattle Genetics provides internal training, tuition reimbursement and access to seminars and workshops. Its employees also receive career counseling through a dedicated assistance program.

Investing in employee development is one of the best things you can do for your business. It can motivate and engage your team members, help you retain the right people and increase your profits. At the same time, it may reduce employee turnover and allow you to remain competitive. Employees who complete training and development programs will develop their skills, achieve better results and communicate more effectively.

The Importance of Employee Development

According to a 2018 report, 94 percent of employees would stay longer at a company that provides career development and training opportunities. More than half would take a course if their managers suggest they do so. Approximately 75 percent of workers are seeking opportunities to grow their careers. For 68 percent of employees, training and development in the workplace are paramount.

As a business owner, you can't and shouldn't overlook the importance of employee development. This process can help your staff members improve their technical and soft skills, become better leaders and achieve their career goals. In fact, 90 percent of executives believe that training programs would help close the skills gap in the U.S. workforce.

Learning and development programs empower your staff. They also result in greater engagement, which in turn leads to higher productivity and performance. Continuous training helps employees advance their knowledge and careers while driving growth and revenue for your business. Your team members will be better prepared for the modern workplace, gain insights about the latest industry trends and adapt to changing business structures more easily.

How to Promote Employee Development

From online courses and webinars to workshops, mentoring programs and career coaching, employee development can take many forms. Choosing one over another depends largely on your budget and business goals. Online training, for example, is often more flexible and involves lower costs than traditional training programs. According to Forbes, every dollar invested in e-learning yields a $30 increase in productivity.

Small businesses can create their own e-learning programs and provide in-house training. Another option is peer-to-peer coaching. The company's leaders and department managers can organize weekly or monthly training sessions in their areas of specialty. You can also encourage your employees to attend conferences, seminars and other industry-related events.

Depending on where your business is located, you may have access to government-sponsored workshops and training programs. The state of California, for instance, has its own employment development department, which serves job seekers, employees and business owners. If your budget allows for it, consider offering tuition reimbursement and personal development funds to your staff. You can also provide learning opportunities through skill assessment programs, internships, rotating work assignments and cross-departmental training.