Is employee training a cost or an investment?

Maria Zahra's article on The Sunday Times of Malta

One of the ways in which companies are responding to increased business competition is by evaluating their employee turnover.

Employers are in fact questioning themselves what is coming at a higher cost: whether it is the employee turnover or employee investment. And most times, they are finding out it’s the former not the latter.

“We understand that investing in training in today’s economy is a challenge for many companies. However, companies cannot expect improved productivity if investment in their people is not on their agenda,” said Maria Zahra, HR consultant and trainer at Misco.

With an annual training rate of over 2,500 employees from around 300 organisations from the public and private sector in Malta, Misco understands how important it is for companies to view people training not as a cost but as an investment.

Training is an investment for two main reasons: it brings the best out of your people’s talents and, ultimately, helps you retain your staff. It’s a chain reaction.

Trained employees will be better equipped to perform their duties and they learn to develop a rounded set of skills which will help them contribute more to the organisation. They feel engaged and when they do, their employer believes in them and keeps investing in them. This sends a reassuring message to the employees that they are valued and when they feel valued, they become more committed, loyal and motivated.

It may take some time for companies to see a return on investment due to the fact that training not always deals with what is strictly practical and is not always directly applicable to the daily tasks of the employees.

This particularly applies to soft skills training, where the more employees are engaged and motivated, the more willing they will be to apply what they learn to their job.

It may take some time for companies to see a return on investment due to the fact that training not always deals with what is strictly practical

But the long-term gains make a big difference and we have seen it happen with many of the companies who train their employees with us.

Today, they view training as a proactive strategy which strengthens their productivity and helps them keep abreast with the constant changes in the external environment.

Ultimately, the more trained the employees are, the more valuable they are and this makes the company and its products and services even more valuable.

The i-gaming and IT development and software sectors have been showing a lot of proactivity to train their employees. Nonetheless, it is important that more companies come to terms with the reality that in today’s highly competitive sector, trained employees can turn out to be one of the most important assets.

Training is many times reserved for middle/supervisory management to top management and not so popular for lower levels. We feel that companies should be giving more importance to their front-line staff especially in aspects such as customer care which is not fully tapped into.

As the business world expands it is creating new positions which in turn require people to be constantly trained in these new responsibilities.

It is a developing sector for us too as this leads us to expand our expertise which is then passed on through our growing portfolio of training courses.

MISCO will be tackling this subject during an event on September 18 themed Training: Investment or Cost? It will be held at MISCO's Training & Development Centre in Mrieħel.

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The author is a HR consultant and trainer at MISCO.

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