Bees are impressively organized creatures and American businesses should aspire to harness their organizational prowess. Bees are master architects, spatial communicators, and are freakishly strong.
But their true organizational secret?
Bees each perform specific tasks in order to complete a holistic mission, working and spending most of their lives completing that same task as part of a high functioning hive.
Can you imagine spending your entire professional life performing the exact same role? It might work for bees, but our employees’ happiness depends on advancement, opportunity, and education. It’s important to consider that most employees list advancement opportunities as one of their top priorities, and advancement begins with employee education.
However, we can still learn something from bees, as setting goals and defining roles can significantly improve your business’ efficiency. Bees might not engage in cross-training, networking conferences, or elective seminars - but there’s a clear mission-statement in place, and the entire team clearly understands their role.
So how can hiring managers effectively fill in their organization's gaps?
Every day businesses’ personnel needs change. Employers are doing their best to select talent that fits their business’ needs – but sometimes the landscape of the world around us changes faster than our employees can adapt. So as a business you can take one of two paths:
1) You can hire new talent that fits your specific needs. Sometimes this is necessary because of drastic changes in your business model or extremely rapid growth.
2) You can train your current employees to learn these new skills and give them the resources they need to acquire them.
There are certainly situations in which both of these options will make the most sense for your business, but organizations across the country are already investing heavily in education discovering the added benefits to retention and turnover rates. Investing in educational resources for current employees demonstrates to your workers that the company believes in their potential, and not merely their benefit to your checkbook. Employees who take advantage of education benefits have a turnover rate 50 percent lower than those who aren’t offered these opportunities.
Looking strictly at dollars and cents, it’s in an employer’s best interest to educate their current employees instead of looking outside the company. The average US company spent $1,208 on training for each employee in 2013.1 Compare that number to a new hire making a mere $8/hour, who costs a company an average of $3500 each year in acquisition costs.2 So you can imagine how expensive training top talent will be, not to mention keeping those individuals engaged once they arrive.
Employees are complex, so we should demonstrate our faith in them by giving them the tools to continue their education regardless of their position. Before looking for outside help to solve your company’s problems, consider that your leading lady or knight in shining armor may already exist in your company.
Tangibly, here are 3 ways to enhance employee education:
- Offer employees easy-to-use training quizzes for onboarding or new business practices that need to be better understood. In return, offer rewards for their efforts. This approach is not forceful and encourages the employee to self-initiate his or her education. This can be accomplished by implementing an online rewards and recognition program.
- Conferences, and Trade shows are amazing experiences that can have huge educational value. It’s important to choose the event carefully, make sure your employees come prepared, and have clear objectives for their trip. 3
- Reimburse employees for taking online or night classes. Do not hand your employees tuition up front, but offering reimbursement for relevant courses can be a great incentive that will benefit your employee and your company.
To continue this conversation contact firstname.lastname@example.org
 Laurie Miller Spending on Employee Training Remains a Priority https://www.td.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2014/11/2014-State-of-the-Industry-Report-Spending-on-Employee-Training-Remains-a-Priority
 Annie Mueller, Investopedia The Cost of Hiring a New Employee http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0711/the-cost-of-hiring-a-new-employee.aspx
 Kali Hawlk Make the Most of Your Money, Are Conferences Worth It
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