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There’s nothing more frustrating than a missing puzzle piece.

You spend hours assembling similar components, referring back to the original picture to make sure you’re on track. But before you can finish, you realize there is a gaping hole in the middle of your work. There’s not much you can do, and patching it up won’t fix the problem. Your work is done, but your puzzle is incomplete.

Completing a puzzle is a lot like going to work — smaller day-to-day tasks, training, and meaningful interactions are all essential when working towards big-picture goals like career advancement or a company’s strategy. So when one of those components falls short, it can negatively impact the rest of the experience, no matter how much effort is made elsewhere.

As one of the first experiences your employees will have at your company, training is an essential piece of the puzzle. Organizations that fail to adequately train their employees put those employees at a strategic disadvantage. Throwing your employees into the ring without any training at all is an obvious no — but ineffective or inadequate training can be just as harmful.

women bored at work during a poor employee training session

The State of Training Today

Despite best intentions, it turns out that only a small fraction of employers are getting training right. Nearly 59% of employees claim they had no workplace training and that most of their skills were self-taught. This can lead to major missteps related to company culture, performance expectations, and work habits formed over time.

Lack of adequate training also impacts employees’ perception of their company. 70% of employees would be somewhat likely to leave their current job to work for an organization that is known for actively investing in employee development and learning. Clearly, inadequate training can lead to an undertrained and underdeveloped workforce that could impact your bottom line, eat away at your company culture, and undermine the potential of your employees.

How Poor Employee Training Does More Harm Than Good

Poor training can negatively impact your employees in several different ways, and ultimately, engagement levels will drop if your employees feel like they’re not adequately prepared to do their jobs.

If your training content is poorly designed, isn’t visually engaging, or simply takes too much time to complete, employees will swiftly become disengaged. But even when companies want to invest in corporate training, their material is often forgettable because they haven’t put in the time or resources to create an adequate curriculum. That begs the question: why invest in training if your employees won’t retain the information in the first place?

As the workforce adapts to the new normal of the remote and hybrid workplace, a myriad of new processes, apps, tools, and technologies have popped up to support online collaboration. However, companies may be rolling these out faster than they can train and are vastly overestimating how much support and training they do offer. While these tools are intended to make life easier, poor training and constant changes can reduce productivity and create job fatigue among employees.

Furthermore, companies don’t always invest in ongoing learning and development beyond new hire training, which can stunt employees’ growth and contribute to a decline in loyalty to the company. Employees need access to resources and tools that contribute to their overall professional development. If they feel that their skills aren’t being developed and stuck in a dead-end job, they’re likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. Companies may not think to provide their employees with targeted continuing education resources, but regular assessments incorporating previously learned material can provide employees with helpful refreshers on their initial training.

Poor training also contributes to a poor understanding of company processes, which can lead to inefficiencies in the workplace. Employees who aren’t properly trained are likely to make mistakes and repeat processes because they haven’t retained the right information. This frustrating uphill battle can eat into employees’ hours for productive and creative work.

Finally, your customer service could suffer as a result of poor training. When employees feel confident in the responsibilities and processes of their roles, they’re much more likely to enjoy their jobs and provide top tier customer service that is consistent with your company’s goals.

Last Words

Employee training is an essential puzzle piece for any organization’s overarching goals. When training falls short, the resulting decline in employee engagement, loyalty, and confidence in skills can cause major problems to a company’s culture and success. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure the training you provide is ongoing, engaging, and impactful. A properly trained workforce not only leads to happy employees, but productive employees — as well as a strong company culture rooted in common understanding. Effective, high-quality training offers a significant return on investment towards your company’s and your employees’ long-term success.