Nearly half of the companies who invest in staff training end up saving money, according to a new report by Cranfield School of Management, on behalf of government body learndirect. On the flip-side, the Sector Skills Development Agency says companies that don’t bother with training at all are 2.5 times more likely to fail. So although it might be tempting to slash that training budget as the downturn starts to bite, it could turn out to be a big mistake.
In ‘Nurturing Talent’, which it describes as 'the first academic report to examine the impact of external recruitment versus developing internal talent’, Cranfield found that 44% of companies who invested in training saved money in the long run (through extra productivity or lower recruitment costs), 33% saw an improvement in staff motivation, and 52% enjoyed better retention. Indeed, 78% of employers felt skills development was more important to their company than recruitment. ‘Effective training can reduce staff turnover and absenteeism, improve motivation, increase productivity, help boost and improve customer satisfaction,’ says Sarah Jones, the boss of learndirect’s parent Ufi.
The bad news is that only about one in three UK firms actually have some kind of formal training policy. And it’s not hard to see why: many employers see training as time-consuming, difficult and expensive. However, learndirect is hoping to address this through its ‘Learning through Work’ scheme, which allows employees to come up with a tailored route towards a university-level qualification – but using the work they do on a day-to-day basis, rather than packing them off to a classroom for a fortnight.