In today’s fast-paced and constantly evolving business world, it is essential for organizations to have a strong focus on training and development. “Training culture” is an environment in which an organization prioritizes and values employee learning and development. It’s a culture that encourages continuous learning and provides opportunities for employees to improve their skills, knowledge, and abilities. Implementing a training culture starts with the leadership of the organization. The first step in the right direction is for leadership to adopt the belief that employees are their biggest advocate for the organizational brand and the best investment they can make.

According to a study published in Forbes, more than half of employees (56 percent) cite supportive management as one of the most critical factors for remaining at an organization. However, half of managers have yet to receive training at their current job in critical human skills, including creating a psychologically safe workplace, setting and tracking goals and conducting a fair and effective performance review.

What are the benefits of a training culture?

1. INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND PERFORMANCE. Employees who receive regular training and development opportunities tend to be more productive and perform better on the job. Creating clear benchmarks for performance helps employees to understand their strengths and focus areas, allowing leadership to coach upward. They are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to handle their work responsibilities effectively and efficiently.

2. EMPLOYEE RETENTION. Employees are more likely to stay with an organization that invests in their development. Encouraging and supporting upward mobility is crucial in employee satisfaction. Employees want to know that their organization is an advocate for internal promotions. Adopting a training culture will increase upward mobility and the sense of loyalty among employees, which can reduce turnover rates and increase your employee return on investment.

3. ATTRACTION OF TOP TALENT. A strong training culture can also attract top talent to an organization. Job seekers often look for employers who value employee development and offer opportunities for growth. “Word of mouth” is still one of the most influential ways to advertise and market your organization. If you have a training culture, you are increasing your employee brand in a positive manner. Employees will want to share their positive experience and continue to attract the right talent for your organization.

4. IMPROVED INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY. Employees who receive training and development opportunities are more likely to come up with innovative and creative solutions to problems. They are better equipped to handle challenges and can bring fresh ideas to the table. Effective training can be used to “up-skill” or “multi-skill” your employees. Up-skilling involves extending an employee’s knowledge of an existing skill, creating more expertise within a certain field or role. Multi-skilling is the process of training employees in new or related work areas to increase their usability within the organization. Employees with diverse skill sets can perform a variety of tasks and transition more easily into other roles within the organization, which will positively influence your ability in succession planning.

Here are 5 steps to creating a training culture:

1. SET CLEAR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES. Determine what skills and knowledge your employees need to succeed and create a plan to address these needs. Questions to ask while setting training goals and objectives include:

  • What are your training objectives?
  • Currently, what training resources are available at your organization?
  • What is the best user experience for your workplace?
  • What are your biggest training challenges or gaps?
  • What are ways you can collaborate to maximize training content and capabilities?
  • Do you have on-the-job training? Do you have a mentorship program?
  • Do you incorporate stretch assignments? If so, are they considered in the employees’ annual performance?

2. COMMUNICATE THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING. Make sure your employees understand why training is important and how it can benefit them and the organization. Communicating the value of training and development opportunities will ensure employees are aware of their training resources.

3. OFFER A VARIETY OF TRAINING OPTIONS. Different employees learn in different ways, so it’s important to offer a variety of training options. This could include classroom training, online courses, coaching and mentoring and on-the-job training, learning management systems and third-party learning platforms.

4. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FEEDBACK AND EVALUATION. It’s important to provide opportunities for both managers and employees to provide feedback on their performance. This can help recognize and reward strong performances (positive reinforcement), identify areas for improvement and ensure organizations are meeting the needs of employees.

5. MOST IMPORTANTLY, MAKE TRAINING A PART OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE. Training should be integrated into all aspects of the organization. This can include incorporating training into performance evaluations, offering incentives for employees who participate in training programs and making training a regular part of team meetings.

Creating a training culture is an essential part of any organization’s success. It can help improve productivity, retain top talent, attract new talent and drive innovation and creativity. By following these steps, organizations can create a culture that values and prioritizes employee development and growth — receiving the utmost return on employee investment.