For one day last September, the Balance Point team strapped on our backpacks and went back to school.
The staff gathered in our large conference room for a day of employee development.
The agenda consisted of two complementary sessions. The objective for both was clear: to sharpen our interpersonal skills. As a company that prides itself on providing excellent customer service, taking time from our busy schedule to hone in our people skills was in our best interest. This skill is not only valuable when interacting with clients, but also when dealing with each other.
Did we achieve what we set out to accomplish? To measure the success of the program, we followed up with a survey to the attendees and asked for their honest and anonymous opinions. Almost everyone agreed that the time was well-spent.
The final question was an open-ended one that allowed for additional feedback. The responses we received articulate the very reasons why you should invest the time and resources to implement a day of development at your workplace:
“It was a great opportunity to come together as an organization and have some fun while learning.”
Giving employees the opportunity to collaborate to achieve a common goal boosts camaraderie and overall morale. According to Marilee B. Springer, author of The Leadership Brain for Dummies, “Working together and helping each other releases brain chemicals that enhance motivation, pleasure, and bonding. The brain strongly desires these feel-good chemicals, and so the team is intrinsically motivated.”
One of the sessions required that we team up with colleagues from different departments to address a real, on-the-job challenge. It was refreshing to step away from our desks and interact with each other in a way we wouldn’t normally during the work week. And we discovered that we had fun doing it thanks to all those feel-good brain chemicals.
“Sessions like these demonstrate how committed the company is to building a great culture!”
By providing your employees with training and development opportunities, it shows your dedication and support to the team. When you show employees how much they are valued, they are loyal to the company, and loyal employees are productive employees.
Employee development not only helps with retention (loyal employees stick around!), it improves your reputation and therefore helps with recruitment. When word gets around that you’re an employer who cares enough about its employees to provide training, it’s sure to attract new talent.
Additionally, programs like this help build good company culture, something that should be top of mind.
“We need to continue to place team and individual development as a priority.”
This one is not actually a reason, but good advice. When money is tight and funds are limited, one of the first initiatives to be cut is often employee development. Employee development should be made a priority if you wish to groom managers and promote from within. Remember, it’s more beneficial to train the employees you have than to hire new ones.
According to a Center for American Progress study, the cost to replace an employee is somewhere between 16-20% of that worker’s yearly salary. That means the cost to replace a $40K manager would $8,000. If the above benefits aren’t enough for you, this statistic alone should give you enough reason to consider implementing a day of development of your own.
Would we do it again?
The greatest testament to the success of the day were the responses we received to the question “what did you learn?” While the question was optional, almost everyone answered and had something insightful to share. Overall the experience was positive for the company and we will explore similar sessions in the future.