We all know how quickly technology changes. As a result, workers in technical roles must learn constantly, lest their skills become obsolete. Employees are well aware of their training needs, and the difference between an average manager and a great leader is the ability to leverage this fact.
Knowing whether you’re offering training that meets your team’s needs is not always easy, so here are eight things your employees wish you knew about cloud and IT training.
The Impact of Training Is Bigger Than Profits
Time is money. It may be a cliché, but it’s true. The more work your team gets done in a given period of time, the more it will be able to contribute to your company’s success. But company success isn’t the only thing your team is concerned with.
Being able to complete work on time also means fewer late nights at the office. For employees with families and other obligations, this is just as important, if not more so, than the bottom line.
Better Skills Mean Lower Stress
For most skilled workers, especially those in technical roles, a job is far more than a paycheck. It’s a chance for them to live up to their potential and solve problems that are important to them. When your team doesn’t have the resources it needs to solve these problems, it can be a major source of stress and unhappiness.
No one wants to work in a role where every day is a struggle. When your team has the skills to solve the problems it is tasked with, you can expect the team members to have much lower stress levels. This reduced stress affects areas from performance and productivity all the way to employee retention.
Training Is an Investment, Not an Expense
In a recent survey from Global Knowledge, 39 percent of respondents said their organizations don’t allocate funds to training. We need to stop thinking about training as a black hole that eats up money, and instead, view training as an investment that pays dividends.
Companies are made up of people. When those people don’t have the skills they need, results will suffer. Conversely, companies that invest in training see measurable increases in market share, net profits and a number of other key metrics.
Online Training is a Viable Option
Historically, training has been expensive. Even if your organization is progressive enough to view cloud and IT training as an investment, you know the nature of an investment is that it requires money up front for a long-term payoff. This up-front cost can be mitigated, however, with e-learning and other online training methods.
Hiring an instructor for a few days of in-person training can cost you thousands of dollars, and this is before you even account for the productivity cost of taking employees away from their work. With online training options, however, you can save the cost of travel and materials, measure your team’s progress, and quantify the return on your investment. Over time, knowing your returns can make it much easier to allocate funding and maximize your results.
Highly Skilled Employees Require Less Management
We’ve all heard friends complain about a boss hovering over their shoulders or constantly checking their work. At times, we may have even been the ones making these complaints ourselves. Relationships between managers and their teams are built on trust.
Effective training allows you to measure exactly what your employees know and to predict how they’ll perform on the job. With that knowledge, you can know exactly what to expect from each team member without the need to constantly check in. No one likes a micromanager, and making sure that your employees have proper training can give you the confidence to keep from becoming one.
Certifications Aren’t Just for Job Performance
Many of your IT employees are probably involved in the technical community to some degree. Whether they maintain an open source project or help answer questions on social media, your developers and engineers contribute to more than just your organization.
Certifications help them build professional credibility in these circles. Sure, you know the strengths and skills of your team members, but others may want to see proof. When employees can establish themselves as thought leaders or evangelists outside of your company, it raises your value as well. The value of having a certified expert on staff truly can’t be understated.
There are also material benefits to you. Many providers, including Amazon and Microsoft, offer partnership programs. Having a set number of certified employees on staff can result in serious benefits for your company, such as discounts, better support and early access to new services.
Training Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore
No matter how engaging the instructor or the content is, on-site, in-person training often feels far too much like a lecture. While some people thrive in this kind of learning environment, it’s not for everyone.
A number of online training platforms try to solve this problem. By presenting information in bite-sized pieces and in a self-paced format, these platforms can help your team build its skills in more engaging ways. And your employees will notice. Even if it costs more, having them sit through a full day of slideshows may, at best, bore them, and at worst, make them feel as though you’re not making a serious investment in their careers.
A Good Training Program Can Help You Attract Talent
Much has been said about millennials in the workplace, but one undeniable fact is that they probably make up a large percentage of your team. In a recent study by PWC, 35 percent of millennials reported that they consider a comprehensive training program as the top benefit they look for when considering an employer.
Millennials are the focus of this study, but the idea applies to people of all ages. The opportunity to develop professionally is a benefit on par with retirement account matching or catered lunches, and if you want to attract top talent, you should make sure you have a training program in place.
Too often, managers think about cloud and IT training as a low-priority expense — something to be worked into the budget if there’s money left over. However, to succeed in the modern business landscape, training has to be more than an optional extra. Training is an investment, and the returns range from purely financial gains all the way to improvements in how you’re able to work with your team. An effective IT training program can affect your business in ways you may not expect. When you begin to think about training in these terms, your employees will thank you.
Christophe Limpalair is a Vice President at Cloud Assessments and host of the ScaleYourCode podcast. He has developed training courses for two of the three Amazon Web Services (AWS) Associate Certifications at Linux Academy. He has taught thousands of students how to make better use of the cloud.