Training and upskilling is (hopefully!) a routine part of your business. The purpose of training is to add value to your company through building both hard and soft skills of your employees. But have you ever considered how you can leverage this critical element of your business, not just to improve performance but to actually help your employees to be happier and more resilient?
This is a great way to make a difference to your employees if you don’t have an official ‘wellbeing’ budget. If you use your training budget cleverly and creatively you can kill two birds with one stone and the positive effects will compounded!
Focussing on skills is one of many different approaches you can take to improve the wellbeing of your employees. To learn more, you can download the free eBook ‘A practical guide to employee wellbeing’.
In this post I’ll share with you 4 ways to weave employee wellbeing into your existing training function. There are many benefits to improving employee wellbeing for example:
- Reduce sickness absence
- Improve engagement
- Reduce staff turnover
- Improve performance
- Improve innovation
Personal growth is an expression of identity and is inextricably linked to personal values and long term aspirations. If this natural human instinct is stifled or compromised, then wellbeing (emotional and by extension physical) is compromised too. It’s important to keep this person- centred value at the heart of your training and development strategy. People are not robots that can have new buttons or functions added to them to serve your organisation. Human beings, by nature, are internally driven to learn, learn and keep learning!
Here are 4 ways you can make sure the training you are providing is contributing to the wellbeing of your employees:
1. Identify which critical skills are lacking – Consider both hard and soft skills. Perhaps some employees might feel that they are expected to do their job without having the proper training and this can cause them stress, anxiety or cause them to become disengaged. As well as gaps in technical and operational training, things like poor communication, poor delegation and poor time management can all impact massively, not just on the person who is lacking those skills, but on everyone they interact with. Remember, these are not skills we are born with – therefore they are learned skills and so can be taught.
2. Treat wellbeing as a skill –We can learn the skills which enable us to look after ourselves and ensure our own emotional and physical wellbeing. We can learn to cope easily with stressful situations, see the positives in challenging situations, to not let other people’s problems drag us down or become calm and collected at will. Resilience training is modelled on people who have those skills and do it well. Good resilience training is designed in way which means that instant unconscious changes happen. It’s amazing what a difference a single day of training can make!
3. Incorporate as much self- selection and autonomy as practicably possible – How much of their own training do your employees get to choose themselves? Are they constrained by rules, red tape or KPIs and business aims? It’s essential to strike a balance here. It has to be the right training for the right person at the right time or it is ineffective and can even be harmful or demoralising.
4. Don’t put conditions on training – Some organisation impose financial penalties on employees who leave the organisation within a certain timescale of completing training. You don’t own your employees and their knowledge. It’s demoralising and tying people into a job they don’t want to be in can backfire. If your employees love their job, they won’t suddenly change their mind once they’ve been put through some useful training. In fact, if you’ve approached it right, then they will love their job even more. Plus the fact that their new employer is likely to cover the costs if they want to poach your employee that badly. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to implement that kind of system, you probably need to look at the underlying cause for people leaving so readily. Such conditions can seem to employees as though you are acting from a position of control and mistrust which can generate an equal and opposite reaction from them!
Improving employee wellbeing by focussing on skills is just one of many ways that you can make a real difference to your employees and reap all the associated business related benefits. If you would like some practical tips on how to create a watertight Employee Wellbeing Strategy, you can download the free eBook ‘A practical guide to employee wellbeing’.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you can use training and upskilling to help your employees become happier, healthier and more productive.
Saffron Grant specialises in improving business performance by improving employee wellbeing. She provides resilience training, executive coaching and can help you to create a watertight Employee Wellbeing Strategy for your organisation.
Saffron is the author of 'A Practical Guide to Employee Wellbeing - How to create your strategy' which can be accessed for free here. You can sign up here to have her weekly blog delivered to your inbox.