Articles by Smart Recruit Online

Here’s What Happens If You Neglect Employee Development

employee training

By Annie Button

Employees are the biggest asset you have in your organisation. So why is it that when businesses are trying to balance the books, employee development is often the first area to suffers cuts and a lack of investment?

Unfortunately, it’s a problem of perception in many businesses. The real question shouldn’t be what does the training and development of employees cost? But instead, what is the real cost when you don’t invest in your people?

In this article I’ll be looking at the value of employee development and what happens when you neglect it.

Why invest in employee development?

At a very basic level, the training and development of your employees is essential in order to equip them with the necessary skills to perform their jobs well. A well-trained employee is able to efficiently and effectively carry out what is asked of them in their role. Ripple effects include improved productivity, better customer service and an edge over your competitors.

The problem for most businesses in going beyond the essential training and development needs of employees is being able to prove a clear return on investment (ROI). Attempting to prove that a specific development initiative leads to financially measurable outcomes is difficult. Sadly, this is often the reason training and development needs, beyond the obvious, get shelved when there’s any form of financial squeeze.

In most cases this is a mistake that has long-term effects on the future of any business. Neglecting employee development has consequences.

The consequences of neglecting employee development

Attracting talent

Appealing to the millennial workforce and generation Z is crucial for business. By 2020 nearly half the working population will be composed of millennials.

Millennial professionals are getting choosy about who they work for and development and training opportunities form an important part of the type of business culture they want to work in. Businesses who ignore this fact, do so at their peril. Flexibility, diversity and inclusivity are some of the other cultural aspects of business that the millennial generation value.

Businesses neglecting training and development simply aren’t going to attract talent.



Employee retention

The Deloitte Millennial Survey which explored the views of 10,455 millennials and 1,844 generation Z respondents, found that young workers in general feel unprepared for the advancing Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0).

The Deloitte survey found that young workers, including Millennials, are looking to businesses to help them develop the necessary skills they believe will be important as jobs evolve.

According to Deloitte, millennials and generation Z employees are increasingly sceptical about the ethical behaviour of businesses (something that is important to them). As a result, forty-three percent of millennials and sixty-one per cent of generation Z employees said they expected to leave their current employer within 2 years. High staff turnover has significant cost implications in terms of recruiting and training new employees.

A study by IBM on The Value of Training found that employees who do not feel they can achieve their career goals at their current organisation are 12 times more likely to leave than employees who do feel they can achieve their career goals.




Without sufficient training and development employee productivity suffers. Elearning software provider Shift posed the question, ‘If you could change one thing about your company that would increase employee productivity by over 200%, would you do it?

According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that offer comprehensive training programmes have 218% higher income per employee and a 24 per cent higher profit margin than companies without formalised training.

All employees have weaknesses. Employee training and development creates opportunities to address weaknesses. When training is lacking, employee productivity is impacted by inefficiency.

Customer satisfaction

Consistency, efficiency and product knowledge all come from well-trained staff. Employees who aren’t being given training and development opportunities are unlikely to have the product or service knowledge required to deliver exceptional customer service. Answering queries and general communication skills can make all the difference to customer satisfaction, but staff do need training to achieve this.

Anand Srinivasan, member of Global online business community Customer Think, writes that employee training can be key to customer satisfaction. Response times to enquiries are critical. If employees are fully trained to answer queries, there’s more chance of satisfying the customer and sealing the deal. Poor communication can also lose you customers.


A learning culture creates a forum for innovation. Enabling staff to advance in their career creates team members who can lead, influence and mentor others. Employee development is a means of discovering new talents, maintaining engagement and encouraging the sharing of ideas. Disengaged employees and a lack of ideas will put you at a competitive disadvantage.

The evidence linking employee development with business success is clear. A failure to invest in your employees could end up costing you more.


About the author

‘Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, Recruitment and career development’.






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