The New England Patriots have won five NFL championships not just because of the long-standing leadership of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady but also because every player on the more than 50-man roster has a role and the expectation to perform that specific role at a high level.
Because of a strong investment in employee training and development by the Patriots, if Brady goes down — and he has, once by injury and another time by suspension — his backup is expected to be "the next man up" and perform without hesitation. Brady did so himself when starter Drew Bledsoe was sidelined with an injury in 2001. Is your organization like the Patriots? You undoubtedly have "star" employees, but do you also have others waiting in the wings who will be ready to help get your firm big wins when called upon?
Preparing Your Entire Roster
As a finance leader, you can help develop your organization's team much the way Belichick and other successful coaches have developed theirs. It might not seem apparent now, but any one of the employees who aren't working on high-profile projects could indeed have the skills and attitude necessary to shine and demonstrate that they, too, can come through in the clutch. They just need to be trained and nurtured to reach that level.
The ROI for such a commitment could reveal itself with high overall employee engagement and satisfaction that can be measured through annual reviews and internal surveys, increased interest in promotions and cross-functional jobs, decreased attrition and — ironically — a demand for more employee training and development.
Engaged Employees Don't Leave
Without a commitment to fully engage all employees, organizations can inadvertently send the message that not everyone is valued or needed. According to Gallup, 70 percent of employees are not engaged at work. Employees want to be challenged and have opportunities to demonstrate their worth. As shown in the ADP Research Institute® report, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace, employees believe work goes beyond pay and benefits. They also look for meaning in their jobs and want to do work that's important.
When employees believe they don't have a vital role, they'll likely consider leaving. Organizations can often spend more money to replace disengaged and dissatisfied employees than they will training and developing the employees they already have.
Develop Employees and Acquire More Talent
You should regularly talk to your employees to learn their training interests and how they want to develop their careers. Internal and external training sessions, mentoring, cross-training, job rotation and shadowing are ways to expose employees to new concepts and methods.
Training and development prepares employees not just for duties outside their job descriptions but it can also provide them with a more expansive view of how the organization runs. They'll better understand other department processes and hurdles, and such knowledge can improve how they approach their current roles. Management can also measure how employees are developing, and respond by giving them new responsibilities and considering them for promotions or other roles.
Investing in training and development also strengthens your talent acquisition efforts. Word may travel that your organization truly believes in teamwork and it may become a destination choice for prospective employees. After all, the Patriots' team culture is what attracts many NFL free agents to New England.
Since 2015, employers have invested more than $1,200 per employee on direct learning, according to The Association for Talent Development, and of course there are number of factors that will determine how much your organization can spend on employee training and development. But whatever the dollar figure you settle on, a commitment to employee enrichment by the finance leader and other executives can demonstrate that you want all employees to be capable of coming off the bench to lead a game-winning drive.
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