The importance of employee development

“People are our most valuable assets.” – Pretty much every company in the world.

“We have to train ALL our people!?!?” – Pretty much all the executives of those companies.

Developing people is one of our favorite topics, of course.

You can find a ton of books, articles, video, blogs, etc., about the need to develop employees. And the opening quote seems to have turned in to a platitude. Particularly because so few companies actually act on it.

Maybe that’s because it seems like a hard task. After all, “training” rarely works. As a matter of fact, it’s also the LEAST desirable form of learning for adult employees. So, there’s that.

Crazy? Deloitte did a study in 2014 that showed ONLY 37% of employees want to go through company training as their preferred form of learning. That’s dead last among the learning styles offered, and the only one below 50%.

Seems like company training should be put out to pasture in its current form.

What should we do instead? Well here’s what that survey said:

Survey results

What should we do instead?  Well here’s what that survey said:

Employee development survey

To develop your employees, it looks like the best path is to use a combination of the top 6 strategies they want to use to learn. Why only the top 6? Well, from our perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to implement a strategy that less than half of adults want to follow.

Combining strategies

How can you combine strategies? Here are a couple examples.

“Sharing knowledge with my team” and “Web search for resources” are pretty self-explanatory as far as combinations. Have one of the members of the team research a topic and teach it to the rest of the team. “While we teach, we learn” – Seneca, Roman Philosopher.

To make this even more powerful? Let the team decide what they want to learn that is relevant to their roles, a project they are working on, or a company problem they would like to solve. Then have a member do the research and train the rest of the team. In that case, you’ll get relevant and usable information at the right time and right place!

“Meet and talk with others” and “Professional networks” are another hand-in-glove pair. If I could do one thing over from my work career, it would be to foster and develop professional networks. That was something I just never did, but the amount of information I’ve learned from networks in my entrepreneurial career would have been POWERFUL if I had it when I was working.

You can see how to think about these strategies for learning in combination with one another. Using multiple strategies, letting the team decide what to learn, and letting them train each other when possible is the most leveraged way to develop your people and get an ROI right up front.

And if “training” isn’t getting you where you want to go, consider Group Activation. Well beyond training, this process gets the team up and moving forward with specific tasks to learn and share from the first day. If you want your employees to be more passionate, call us TODAY to learn about Group Activation. 608-441-5375.

If you need help – we’re here.


At ActionCOACH of Madison, LLC, we’ve licensed the premier activation program for employees in the entire world! If you want to benefit from more of your employees being passionately committed to your business, call us TODAY at 608-441-7862 and ask about Engage and Grow.