Richard Marsh, head of employer responsiveness at the Learning and Skills Council: Training must be focused on business objectives

When times are tough, all companies have to take a close look at their employee reward packages. It is essential to gain the best possible outcome from your reward package in improving staff motivation and business performance. A strong emphasis on training that really delivers is a step in the right direction.

Potential employees generally seek out organisations that invest in training, and it should also enhance staff retention and motivation. Investing in training can also save you money. According to the National Audit Office, skills gaps can cost a 50- employee business up to £165,000. Using training budgets wisely will help reduce this financial burden and ensure a recognisable return on investment.

Once you decide to invest in training as a part of your reward package, you must make it work for you too. It has been proved that investment in training is more effective when companies first assess the skills needs of themselves and their staff. To be worthwhile, training must improve skills to help meet business objectives, yet a large part of training budgets is invested solely in course delivery without this particular focus. As a result, learners gain little from their training because it is too generic.

It is vital to invest in tailored training that meets business needs because it enables staff to apply their knowledge
practically in a workplace setting to enhance performance at an individual and company level. To ensure you are getting the best value for money, it is important to select a provider that you know delivers excellent training. An easy way to check this is to look for the Training Quality Standard.

Effective training also helps staff engage with their employer and its needs. It also helps employers show staff they are interested in their personal development – a key component of total reward. Where employers produce total reward statements setting out the value of each aspect of the reward package, they should not ignore training. The cost attached to training will not only increase the total value of the package, it will remind staffhow important they are to the organisation. Training is a key †component of a good reward package. It doesn’t just keep staff
happy, it ensures they have the right skills to support businesses through these difficult times.

Richard Marsh, head of employer responsiveness at the Learning and Skills Council