When considering the necessary resources for business success, the main ideas that may come to mind are securing and retaining top talent, quality products and a solid and successful marketing plan. While those are necessary components for success, arguably the most important resource, and the one that is all too frequently overlooked, under-budgeted and neglected, is training and professional development of employees.
It should come as no surprise that employees are the greatest asset to an organization. The employees are the lifeline to an organization operating at optimal performance. Without properly trained employees, the other necessary resources cannot be fully utilized. This is the reason that training and professional development is the single, most important element to an organization’s success and should be considered the top priority when building and planning a platform for success within a business.
Some common consequences of an organization neglecting to properly train and develop employees include:
- Reduced Productivity – Knowledge is power! When employees are educated and trained, they are empowered to work with confidence and in turn, will work more proficiently, creatively and productively.
- Unsafe Working Environment – Without proper training, errors within the workplace drastically increase which can lead to lawsuits for the organization, employee and customer injuries, and The Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSHA) violations. An example of such a lawsuit, where an employee alleged unsafe working conditions and was in turn fired for the complaint, is as follows: Fired for reporting hazards, whistleblower wins $33K settlement in the following case as documented on the OSHA News Release – Region 5 from the U.S. Department of Labor –
- Perry Ridge Landfill and Panther City Hauling wrongfully terminate truck driver “A truck driver, who was fired the morning after he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging unsafe working conditions, will receive $33,000 under terms of a settlement agreement.” Also within the release, “No worker should need to ask repeatedly for adequate safety protection or face termination for reporting health and safety violations and exercising their whistleblower rights,” said Nick A. Walters, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago.
- Unhappy Employees – Without proper development and leader mentorship, employees can feel undervalued and replaceable. These negative emotions can quickly escalate to high-stress levels which can contribute to a hostile working environment. Toxic work environments often create opportunities for workplace bullying and sexual harassment. These serious offenses can lead to employee turnover and costly lawsuits for the organization. Just to get an idea of how costly, The Cutting Edge Recruiting Solutions blog post provided information which was obtained from the references found at the bottom of this article, and stated, “Employee lawsuits are expensive. An average out of court settlement is about $40,000. In addition, 10 percent of wrongful termination and discrimination cases result in a $1 million dollar settlement. The majority of cases, about 67 percent, are ruled in the plaintiff’s favor when taken to litigation.”
- Failure of an Organization to Thrive and Progress – When employees are consistently learning and growing through educational opportunities such as seminars and encouraged and incentivized to network within industry events, they are in a better position to stay abreast of quickly changing trends across industries. This essential training investment in employees will put an organization in an ideal position to remain competitive. Failure to invest in training can quickly diminish an organization’s relevance within the industry.
By investing in the training and development of the most valuable asset, the employees, an organization is essentially strengthening the health and well-being of the entire operation. The development of employees is literally the necessary foundation for all of the other important resources to be built upon.
To attempt incorporating the other components necessary for a thriving organization without investing in employee development is the equivalent of building a castle on sand. Without a strong and necessary foundation, all of the other efforts are futile and will crumble.
Therefore, an organization should absolutely avoid making the mistake of overlooking the most obvious and greatest Return on Investment (ROI), the development of employees.
To quote Anne M. Mulcahy, “Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.”
Libel & Slander
*Retaliation has become the #1 most frequently cited form of discrimination, edging out race discrimination. Enterprise Florida. Knowledge Center. Retrieved 7/31/12
Layers for Civil Justice, Civil Justice Reform Group and U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. Litigation Cost Survey of Major Companies. Retrieved 7/31/12 from http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/RulesAndPolicies/rules/Duke%20Materials/Library/Litigation%20Cost%20Survey%20of%20Major%20C