How often do you hear “our employees are our competitive advantage” from companies? Probably more times than you can count. Over and over again, companies reiterate this phrase to highlight the importance of their workers.
Acquiring top talent, and the associated new-hire training is a major expense for businesses. This is why many companies believe their competitive advantage lies within their team. So how do you separate companies who think their employees are their competitive advantage and companies whose employees actually are?
Companies who know their employees are their competitive advantage create a mutually-beneficial learning culture. By offering year-round programs for employees to attend, businesses lay the necessary groundwork for employee and business growth. They encourage participation through a variety of avenues, including making learning necessary for career advancement or offering a reward for participating in certain courses.
Here are a few examples of mutually-beneficial learning cultures:
Google offers a myriad of classes for their employees through their EDU program, including both tangible and intangible courses. Through their tangible-based classes, like coding classes, employees stay up to date with current technology and learn to leverage the information to improve their job efficiency. Google sees a direct benefit by creating a more knowledgeable team.
Their intangible courses, like leadership courses, are designed to enhance managerial skills and create stronger bonds between employees. This creates a pleasant work environment and gives employees more reasons to stay, thus reducing churn.
Attaining proper insurance licensing is both time-consuming and expensive. State Farm knows they need to motivate their employees to go through advanced licensing exams to keep up with their growth. To do this, they offer a few tiered reward systems. Employees can be rewarded through additional time-off and they even get an all-inclusive vacation if they pass a certain series of exams.
In return for their investment, State Farm ensures their staff has the necessary skills to maintain company growth, and the employees gain both knowledge and a more tangible reward.
Apple’s training is somewhat secretive. However, it is known that a lot of their courses are focused on empowering their employees. To do this, they show how Apple became Apple and how decisions were made with ease-of-use in mind. It may seem like this type of training wouldn’t result in a direct benefit for Apple, as they are taking employees away from valuable work time. Conversely, instilling the Apple methodology encourages innovation so that Apple can maintain their position as a leading company.
Nextiva has created numerous learning avenues for its staff to take advantage of. One that particularly stands out is their apprenticeship program. This program gives Nextiva employees the opportunity to enroll in a formal two-year program that provides on-the-job training. Upon completion, these employees receive a nationally-recognized certification.
Nextiva offers more than one continued learning opportunity for its employees. Their well-organized course offerings and skills-enhancing training are perfect examples of creating a mutually-beneficial program. These courses provide employees the opportunity to learn more about Nextiva’s vast product offering while improving their sales and customer service skills. Team members who participate in these receive certifications that move them forward in their career path. In return, Nextiva gets the benefit of having a highly-educated staff who are more knowledgeable about product offerings and are better trained to assist customers.
Companies, especially those in the technology sector, should adopt a culture focused on learning. Technology companies are constantly updating their products, which means there is a nonstop demand to motivate employees to learn and improve their skillset. By investing in current employees, companies can increase retention and create a more powerful workforce.