Maximize employee value

A culture of continuous training and the prosperity of organizations

It is clear that an effective leader of any organization has an enormous amount of power and influence over its corporate culture.  Among many other issues that must be addressed on a day-to-day basis, especially, there is a very delicate one that is of vital importance for the growth of the company. We refer to those decisions that must be made about the personnel and that determine which employees leave and who remain and grow.

It seems simple, but it is far from it. There are two forces that naturally collide with each other: on the one hand, the work teams may or may not encourage and motivate employees so that they can grow and advance in the company, that is, leadership oriented towards training; the less pending is the management, the middle managers and the training leader himself, the decisions about who stays and who leaves, have a high degree of randomness, because there is no training culture.

As it is often said colloquially: everything is asked of the employee, more effort, more commitment, etc., but what is given in return. The vast majority of organizations return the minimum. This is a great black hole that must be solved together: organizations, institutions, government, unions, etc.

We are not saying that implementing a culture of continuous learning is easy, because it has to be created, developed and maintained. Although every initiative that starts from an effective leader, even if it is in a small organization, that does not have all the resources, surely that support that starts from the direction that assumes a commitment, then it is possible to achieve the direct path to a learning culture and especially, breaking with this arbitrariness in decisions about whether more or less staff is required.

Why is there to invest in continuous learning?

There are several reasons why your company should focus on employee training and growth. The president and co-founder of WebFX, William Craig affirms that “that the reasons are centered in maximizing the value of the employees”.

And this position not only seems interesting to us to introduce into the doctrinal debate, but it is essential to clarify – it seems that not everyone is so clear – that the process of creating value in an organization is not that it cannot do without its employees. It is much more important than this: what you cannot believe is that the creation of value depends on marketing actions, product design, changes in production processes, incorporating new administrative protocols, each of these elements as a consequence of the technological innovation. But a basic piece of the puzzle is left: the human resource.

Without it there are neither changes in protocols, nor improvements in production processes, nor efficient adaptation to the NT’s, that is, without training and knowledge it is useless to incorporate strictly material resources as if they were capable of creating value.

With learning, employees can join new positions faster, which has a double effect: an internal economy is generated due to greater operational efficiency that until that moment, due to lack of training and education for a key position, operational inefficiencies were maintained that affected profitability; it is certain that those employees who are being trained can be promoted internally because they are being qualified very positively thanks to the knowledge and experience that they already had but that have improved, being able to make this process of internal economies and operational efficiency possible for the organization in a long way less time than you might think.

In the market and especially from the management of companies, in recent years we have always heard the expression “talent retention”. But it is not an issue that is resolved by saying “as a leader I make the decision to retain the best employees.”

This would be mere voluntarism, but from a zero value business management point of view. No one with talent remains in a certain position if they do not see the possibility of personal growth simultaneously with seeing the company’s plans clearly, if they consider that they are in the right direction.

We are in a digital society that also requires digital decisions, in accordance with the speed that actions require to be implemented in order to continue competing in the market. Hence, continuous learning is essential in any job in a company in 2021 that needs to continue to have a global productivity level, therefore, at the individual level of all cadres.

Without training, skills can stagnate throughout the year if not updated. What’s more, they can undergo changes in much shorter periods of time, because this does not depend on us, but on technology, which is making exponential leaps.

One of the reasons given by companies (a highly debatable question) is that employees do not have time to research their learning options or cannot reserve the hours necessary to learn and implement new skills. But since this is the case in the vast majority of companies, especially SMEs, the lack of time for learning has a direct consequence on the employee’s confidence in the organization.

Therefore, asking for a commitment without anything in return is opening the way for that talent to leave. Staff must believe that the company wants to invest (its corporate culture) in continuous learning so that they can build their careers, in line with the evolution of the company. And as continuous online training has increased substantially as a result of the pandemic, not only the most talented employees should be those who access webinars and other seminars and / or training courses, but all employees should be having the same opportunities if continuous learning is part of the corporate culture.

It opens up expectations for personal progress and they also see the same expectations for the future for the company. Success should not be individual but collective in the processes of new hires, if the organization has a corporate culture of continuous learning, they must not only be appropriate for the position and function to be filled, but they must also take into account (from middle management and management) that they are aligned with a growth mentality so that these new incorporations can continue learning how to be successful in their position, they can witness that they are experiencing an improvement every day in their tasks and responsibilities, therefore, they are decidedly incorporated by the will of both the employee and of the company within a process of value creation supported basically by the person.

Many of the quantitative methods applied for decades in organizations, for example, quality control, failed in their first years of application in terms of the returns that were required to the integration of this new system, not by the system per se , but because people did not have the level that they do today in terms of having to keep up to date with the latest in terms of knowledge updates in the entire field that encompass the responsibilities and functions of that job .

It is also true that fear of change is an element that makes employees resist training. Not everyone readily accepts change, most employees want to continue their previous ways of doing work because it is safer and more predictable.

When a person has a mentality that makes them open to change, it makes things easier, because they understand that improving the processes in which they intervene every day will end up benefiting both the company and their own career.

Antonio Alonso, president of the AEEN (Spanish Business School Association) and general secretary of EUPHE (European Union of Private Higher Education)