Build Your Business:Training + development = rental center success

Training may sound expensive and time consuming, but turnover is even more devastating.

by Crystal Huang

Finding great talent is hard, but even more challenging is keeping the talent you have already in place. Unless you continually reinvest in employee development with successful training, they may leave and you will find yourself back at square one trying to find more talent.

Training and developing one’s employees will lead to greater success. However, it doesn’t seem that organizations are making much progress in this area. Even though statistics show that it is worth a company’s effort and resources to develop employees in order to retain them, there is still a gap. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at ways to implement training and development strategies for your employees so they achieve success in your company:

 Create individual plans
The first step in developing employees is to create a development plan. Sit down with the employee and discuss his or her interests and career goals. This will help identify the development activities that individual should be undertaking. Not everyone shares the same goals or perspective about what they want to achieve in his or her career.

The development plan should provide a roadmap for the employee that includes measurable goals and a realistic timeframe for achieving each goal. Taking time to discuss and add detail to the employee development plan or blueprint will increase the likelihood for a ROI for all involved. 

This idea of creating individual development plans works best with the idea of “pathways.” Pathways allow organizations to build the skills of current in-house employees. By reskilling and upskilling current talent, organizations remain relevant and foster an environment of continuous learning and development. By focusing on pathways, employees enable their own learning, know what goals they are working toward and how to reach them through customized career pathways. 

Implement tailored training 
By incorporating in-person and online resources, employees can gain a better understanding of the information during training and have a reference to turn to if issues arise in the future. A well-designed training program that maximizes learning before, during and after instruction translates into positive, lasting changes on the job. 

To have a training program that is easily implemented and flexible, people are turning to internet-based learning. This type of skill building is an increasingly attractive option that allows employees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Everyone learns at his or her own speed, but most companies don’t consider that when training them. Employees are often forced to rush through complicated topics and it  also denies employees the time to process what they’ve learned, which is an important part of learning.  

Platforms like ProSky’s Pathways make it easy for employees to reflect and share their input, learn at their own pace and stay motivated on their career path. This makes training more engaging and ensures each employee is processing what he or she is learning. This method puts employees in control of their own learning, allowing for differences in learning styles and encourages process ownership. 

Provide milestones 
It is essential to set quantitative metrics to help an employee understand where they need to be or what they can realistically achieve. As these performance metrics are met, the bar can be raised so the employee feels a continued sense of accomplishment. Measuring progress is necessary and it also helps drive accountability.

Provide opportunities outside of job function 
It’s common for organizations to be so compartmentalized that employees believe they can only operate within their individual departments. However, to truly develop an employee for a larger role in the company, employees need to understand how all aspects of the organization work. Providing opportunities outside of present functions acts as cross training that will increase employee awareness and knowledge and help them work more effectively with others. 

The additional responsibility will put them in new situations, add challenges, expand skill sets and encourage them to think on their feet, which will also improve their chances for success in any future roles. It also creates a sense of collaboration, investment and excitement in the workplace.

Many organizations are rigid in their organizational structure, which can make it challenging to implement cross-functional development and facilitate high-performance training. It’s up to leadership to bridge the gaps and utilize a system that encourages a fluid approach to learning and working. Today’s generation of workers are used to change and enjoy open work environments that let them explore.

Link to networks
Help employees access additional contacts that can help them grow. Introduce them to other professionals who can serve as mentors or coaches. Sign them up for professional industry associations, send them to training courses and workshops and create and attend networking events.

Getting them connected to a network offers a way to get additional support, advice and information on how to grow professionally and personally. It also gives the organization another ambassador for the business.

Be prepared to invest
From day one, an employee is an investment that the organization is making and from which it expects a return. To get the most out of employees requires making further investments along the way. Although many of the tactics on this list do not necessarily require dollars to implement, resources are still being used in the form of time and focus. 

Other employee development activities, including training, online learning programs and coaching are well-worth the money. Whatever the resource, this additional investment is necessary and valuable when it is thoughtfully aligned with the organization’s strategic goals and the individual development plans designed around key talent.

An employee will see the value of the development process when they see their current leadership continue to develop personally and professionally. Investing in your employees does not always mean monetary measures. By modeling this behavior, leaders build credibility and the trust necessary to encourage employees to participate in development-building activities. 

Investing shows employees that development is part of the organization’s culture and that they are an important investment for the future of the organization’s success. It sends the message that it’s important for and expected from everyone in the organization to be part of a continuous improvement process that nurtures from within.

These development tactics can be implemented within any size of organization and will work effectively to shape a company’s future leadership. With effective skills development strategies in place, you’ll be better able to meet a range of business challenges and generate the kind of performance that will carry your business (and employees) forward with confidence.

Crystal Huang is the co-founder and CEO of ProSky, a high-growth human resources software-as-a-service company that helps organizations innovatively evaluate candidates and develop employees through succession pathways. Learn more at

This article was originally published in the July-August issue of Pro Contractor Rentals magazine. All rights reserved.