We take for granted that continued education for employees is good for everyone involved: the company, you the marketing manager, and the employee. But we'd nonetheless like to actually list some of these benefits, especially now that budgets are tight and continued education is usually one of the first line items to get cut from your cost-conscious CFO.
It's good for employee morale. Beyond obvious things like salary and vacation time, employees want to feel like they have a future at their respective company. They want to be told, "Do this and this and within 12 months you can get promoted to this position." HR folks call them career development plans and they're built on a transparency and continued education. On the other hand, if an employee does not receive training and their skills erode, they may be inclined to look for work elsewhere, and your HR friends will tell you, the process of interviewing, vetting, and hiring a candidate is far more expensive than providing continued education for employees who already work for you.
It can pay for itself. Employee training is, of course, an investment. Equip them with critical next-generation skills that they can put to use on the job and your firm will see tangible benefits. Just Google "next generation skills for marketers" and you'll see dozens of skills that will only grow in importance in upcoming years. In fact, we Googled that search term and came upon this article which listed "writing," "turning big data into big insights," and "adaptability to change" (which, technically speaking, isn't really a skill) as the three big marketing skills moving forward.
Let's take a closer look at the "writing" skill. Thankfully, inbound marketing doesn't stipulate that your marketing rep suddenly turns into a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Sure, if your rep is a financial services associate, "writing" can mean crafting an insightful 500-word post on tips for retirement savings. But it could also mean, depending on your industry, a short and effective Tweet. Our point is that certain elements of continued education for employees needn't be expensive or involve a one-week training seminar in Phoenix.
On the other hand, sometimes a more robust training module is needed. Let's say your team runs Salesforce. It's an intuitive platform, but its seeming simplicity also belies a great deal of complexity under the surface. In other words, an accomplished Salesforce Rock Star/Ninja/etc. can likely squeeze more efficiency and productivity out of it compared to a 22-year old novice.
It's usually cheaper than buying the skills. Marketing managers are continuously faced with the classic "build or buy" decision. Do we build these skills in-house or do we outsource it to a third party? Companies that do their research may find that building these skills in-house will save them money in the long run. After all, while inbound agencies can certainly deliver value, many agency sales reps often fail to mention the "soft" costs of doing business — things like project over-runs and what happens when, four months after project gets completed, a problem emerges that requires the agency's help.
What do you think? Does your team actively invest in continued education for employees? What types of programs have proven to be effective? What are "next-generation" skills are your marketers ramping up on?
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