So someone’s asked you, “Why is training important?”
Communicating the benefits of training employees to decision makers is a balancing act. You need to provide enough context to get buy-in, and you need to make your case in 100 words or less.
So what should you hone in on? How additional training will positively impact business goals—via increased expertise, knowledge sharing, skill development, productivity, and operational excellence. As a start. 🤓
Once you have their attention, it’s time to get more granular and make signing off on more training resources (or allocating time for learning) a no-brainer. To help you knock the conversation out of the park, we’ve gathered the top reasons why training is important for teams and included a few more tips for justifying training to budget holders.
1. Educates teams on how and when to use specific tools
Software and tools are designed to make people’s jobs easier. But they’re no good if 1) they aren’t being used, or 2) they aren’t being used in the right way.
Driving tool adoption is the first, more obvious hurdle (often tied to poor and/or nonexistent documentation and faulty knowledge sharing). One solution? A free Chrome extension that instantly turns what you know into step-by-step guidance—with no videos, meetings, or screen shares required.
Just turn on the extension, complete your process as usual, and let Tango do the rest. Each click auto-generates a step with text and visuals as you go, creating a beautiful, shareable, interactive walkthrough called a Tango.
Teaching people how to complete processes in their exact moment of need is 50% of the game. The other half? Training them to use the right tools, at the right time.
ICYMI: Different work modes require different tools. 💡
Zoom is great when your team wants to chat live and feel everyone’s energy, but tools designed for connection aren’t the answer when the goal is to stay in flow and get work done. When you’re in get sh*t done (GSD) mode and you want to enable people to learn on the job, you need another option.
2. Enables autonomous work to improve focus and enable operational excellence
You love your team. AND you know it isn’t practical to have people sitting over your shoulder (or pinging you with 1,000 questions) day after day.
Without proper training (and training resources) it’s tough to escape what can quickly turn into a vicious cycle of interruptions. What adds insult to injury? The search for answers and impromptu screen shares wastes time, disrupts focus, drains mental energy, takes people out of the flow of work, AND doesn’t always help people get unstuck in the long run.
There’s a better way for teams to learn while they work— asynchronously.
With tools like Tango, team members no longer need to search for answers or interrupt their peers, and organizations can create a culture of operational excellence that allows them to keep up with change and achieve business outcomes that weren’t possible before.
3. Reduces employee turnover and helps retain talent
Poor training can be a deal breaker for some team members.
Amazon and research firm Workplace Intelligence ran a survey on how employees feel about upskilling. 74%of Gen Z and Millennial employees said they’re likely to leave their jobs within the next year because of a lack of upskilling opportunities.
On the other hand, a study from the Society for HR Management found that more than three-quarters of employees surveyed are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training.
Tough to ignore those stats. 🤔
4. Faster time to ramp for new hires
It's possible to ramp up new hires quickly—but more training isn't necessarily the answer. 🙅
A recent survey from Paychex found that 52% of employees feel undertrained for their roles. However, 56% said they felt disoriented after their latest onboarding experience.
Clearly, we can (and should) do better. 😬
Instead of piling on more training, why not make your current new hire training programs more effective? As a first step, you could: Simplify a learning module by adding a shadow session to show concepts in action, add mini quizzes to make training more interactive, or revisit your training guides to avoid common dislikes.
Taking a “quality over quantity” approach to training documentation can also help you:
- Prevent information overload
- Increase knowledge retention
- Crowdsource pro tips from subject matter experts
- Minimize repetitive questions
- Empower new hires to hit the ground running
- Reduce avoidable mistakes
5. Closes knowledge and skill gaps
Training can help close the knowledge gaps that pop up in the wake of business change—whether a new process is being introduced or a long-time team member is moving on.
Think about the last round of questions you had to answer. Were 90% of those FAQs for the same tool, type of project, or general topic?
This is often a sign to revisit your team’s training resources. Your team may have repetitive questions if there’s no documentation available. Or, the guides you do have aren’t effective, for one reason or another.
Keeping your training resources up to date is one common challenge. Instead of gradually updating guides one by one, identify opportunities for your team to share what they know, while they work (and while taking some of the burden off your shoulders). Mentoring, cross-training, and providing proactive documentation are just a few of the ways your team can share their knowledge. Implementing a formal knowledge transfer pipeline can also help your team minimize knowledge debt.
6. Provides continued employee development opportunities and career pathing
Training isn’t only for getting people up to speed. It’s also for helping them get to the next level in their careers—ideally within your org. A study focusing on talent mobility found that 73% of surveyed employees were interested in learning about new roles inside their organizations.
Employee development opportunities:
- Give you a chance to develop future leaders
- Keep top performers engaged
- Lend themselves to upskilling and reskilling opportunities
- Allow your team to own new projects and increasingly impactful work
Strategically growing your team’s skills can also benefit them and the wider team. Upskilling helps your team learn the skills that they need to exceed expectations in their current role. For example, a customer success representative who is learning how to support enterprise-level clients.
You can also look into reskilling opportunities for teammates who are eager to grow into a different role. For example, you can train a graphic designer in copywriting and editing so they can move into a more general content marketing role.
7. Helps teams get unstuck fast when they start new projects, processes, and tools
There’s nothing more stressful than getting handed a project, a wordy how-to guide, and an accelerated timeline to figure it all out. 😵💫
Training your team before kicking off new projects gives them base knowledge. But you don’t need to have a crystal ball to create effective documentation that people will actually want to use. Tools like Tango deliver the right answers, at the right time, and in the right place so teams can apply expertise and operational knowledge in real-time, while they work.
8. Clarifies goals, expectations, and context
It’s one thing to teach processes. It’s another for your team to understand the “why” behind them and the surrounding context.
For example, more tedious tasks like data entry may feel a little like busy work. Explaining the purpose in your training materials can go a long way towards helping the team understand how this work impacts strategic goals and provides value to the business.
9. Boosts quality of work and the customer experience
At the risk of stating the obvious: When people are well-trained, they spend less time figuring out what to do and more time making an impact.
When efficiency and work quality rise, customers get to reap the benefits too. On the customer support front, customers can get their questions answered faster when teams are trained to handle a variety of scenarios. On the product side, customers can expect better service and fewer outages.
Fun fact: A PwC survey on customer experience found that 46% of consumers will jump ship if a company’s team isn’t knowledgeable. They also found that, even if customers love your brand, nearly two-thirds say they’d leave after multiple bad experiences. 👀
10. Boosts employee engagement, happiness, and confidence
You know what makes it hard for your team to find fulfillment at work? Spending 90% of their mental energy trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.
When you invest in training, you’re telling your team you value and support them. Training also helps increase confidence, which tends to have a ripple effect (in a good way).
The University of Phoenix 2023 Career Optimism Index® found that 68% of American workers looking for a job in the next six months would be more likely to stay if companies did more to upskill them.
11. Supports continuous teamwide learning and improvement
When continuous learning is a top priority, you and your team can easily spot growth opportunities. Approaching learning as an ongoing practice leads to more institutional knowledge, adds to your competitive advantage, and helps everyone keep up with rapid change.
In that same vein, processes and best practices are bound to change over time. To keep your documentation current and ensure your team is getting the freshest guidance, consider:
- Sourcing process improvements from the ground up
- Housing procedural knowledge (how to perform a process) with pro tips (insights curated from process experts to help everyone achieve mastery)
- Hosting regular retros to help people learn from each other’s experiences and perform at the highest level
This leads us to the last reason why training is important for teams.
12. Promotes a culture of knowledge sharing and documentation
For most companies, knowledge sharing tends to fall on a small group of people. Keeping documentation current, holding live trainings, and answering millions of questions throughout the day make it hard to keep key information up to date. It’s especially tough if you don’t have the tools in place to capture and share knowledge, quickly.
As a result, your team’s knowledge debt gets bigger and what should be an ongoing exchange of institutional knowledge slows to a crawl.
The more documentation you create, the more knowledge gets captured, shared, and discovered across your entire team. When documentation is easy to create and everyone is involved, knowledge sharing can become an ongoing practice, instead of a one-off project.
Purposes for training
Needless to say, “training” covers a lot of ground.
Understanding the different purposes will help you explain the value of different types of training—and zero in on what you need most.
Common types of training include:
- New hire training, to teach new teammates about their roles, your best practices, and your team’s policies and procedures.
- Manager training, to help managers prepare for new responsibilities when managing a team for the first time or when moving to a more senior position.
- Software training, to teach your team how to use (all!) the tools they need to do their jobs well.
- Cross-training, to teach people new skills for a different role, typically one that’s related to their current role.
- Safety training, to share safety protocols to avoid injuries or accidents on the job.
- Compliance training, to educate your team on laws and policies they need to follow that relate to their work.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion training, to help your team work better with others to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.
- Customer service training, to enable your team to help customers and handle various scenarios effectively.
How to justify the importance of training to decision makers
Raise your hand if you’re here because you need to underscore the importance of training to someone else. You’ve come to the right place!
On top of all the benefits shared above, we have a few additional tricks to help you convince decision makers that training goals are business goals.
- Leverage a free tool or trial to get stakeholders on board with a paid training product.
- Establish metrics that communicate the impact of your training and are most relevant to decision makers (time saved, employee satisfaction scores, etc.).
- Collect data and upward feedback that give context to the relevancy of your proposed training.
- Connect how training programs can solve (or prevent) long-term issues like talent shortages or budget cuts.
- Bring a clear budget plan, anticipated return on investment, and other financial information that can make or break your request.
- Compare new hire ramp time before you invest in training and after you invest in training.
- Highlight how much time the team wastes searching for answers and asking questions. Then, share an example of how your team can have more time for strategic work with the right training in place.
- Explain how you plan to scale training to grow with your team, adapt to changes, and capture your team’s growing library of institutional knowledge.
Why choosing the right type of training makes a difference
Not all training methods, resources, and tools are created equal. Some have a more immediate and lasting impact than others.
For example, just-in-time (JIT) learning opportunities help your team get the information they need without sitting through an hour-long training session, combing through a wordy wiki, or searching through a 10-minute video. JIT resources are great when people need answers, fast, and don’t want to interrupt their coworkers.
Microlearning can also help your team retain skills that take more time to teach. Instead of having your team sit through a series of e-learning modules, you can break topics up into bite-sized chunks. You can have them review some materials one day, check in later in the week, and build on those skills in the next session.
Training in context is also important. Applying information from an SOP is tough when you’re getting started on a new project. Annotated screenshots, live walkthroughs, and simplified instructions can go a long way toward helping people work toward autonomy—which is the end goal of all training.