By now, we’ve probably all heard the classic HR executives’ exchange —
Colleague #1: “What if we pay to train our people and they leave?”
Colleague #2: “Right, but what if we DON’T train them and they NEVER leave?!?”
We can all agree that the latter scenario is worse.
We also know that good corporate training doesn’t come cheap. Of course, there are many ways to justify that employee training will pay itself back tenfold, generate huge ROI, and get your team humming along at a good, productive clip (but that is a blog post for another day).
Good training is also justifiable and necessary because it empowers employees. It helps grow your junior hires and makes your best team members even better. At work, anyone worth their salt wants to grow, learn, contribute and be better / do better at their job. Continuing education promotes growth and, as important, motivates.
In his New York Times Bestseller, Drive, Daniel H. Pink examines three key elements of motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose. In it, he discusses how the old-school material rewards system of the 20th century simply isn’t effective in 21st century business.
Traditional carrot-and-stick motivational methods paralyze workers, and stymie creativity and productivity. Instead, we want to be independent, not “managed”.
We want the training that allows us to master a subject matter and, potentially, to contribute to that subject’s growth. It is our nature to seek purpose, both professionally and personally.
Pink writes, “The secret to performance and satisfaction – at work, at school, and at home – is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things…” Quality training promotes the autonomy, mastery and purpose that Pink stresses are fundamental when motivating team members in modern business.
As workers, we need to be fairly compensated through salaries, commissions, bonuses, benefits packages, etc. To think anything else would be silly, but it doesn’t make those things our key motivational drivers.
Human Resources, Learning & Development and Training Managers know it too — offering continuing-education classes to employees gives them a chance to grow, makes them happy and want to stick around.