- Fast-growing companies were 80% more likely than slow-growing counterparts to make commercial progress through sales training programs, a study from McKinsey & Company found. McKinsey said nearly all sales organizations offer training, but much of it is ineffective, and leaders think of it as an expense rather than an investment.
- Effective training programs provide learning paths specific to individual jobs; rely on leaders for program management and trainee guidance; offer continual training; define results according to sales impact.
- Thriving sales organizations value certification programs, McKinsey said, recognizing certification as a distinguishing accomplishment within the company and tying rewards to its completion.
McKinsey's findings may encourage leaders of non-sales departments and organizations to evaluate the importance of training within their organizations. After all, McKinsey is not the first to observe the benefits of learning and development. In a recent interview with HR Dive, Walmart Director of HR Strategy and Innovation Ellie Bertani explained her philosophy on learning investment; "I believe business needs to stop looking at employees as a cost center and realize they are an investment," she said. "Training them is an investment that will pay dividends in the future."
As employers find room in their budgets for more spending on L&D initiatives, they reinforce the importance of training. Training costs may seem hefty, but the cost of not training workers could inflict a much higher cost. The skills gap is requiring many employers to upskill or reskill workers to develop the kind of labor force needed to get work done.
Digitization, too, is prompting employers to invest in training. Automation is ushering in as many or more jobs than it's replacing, research has shown, a phenomenon that's incentivizing HR professionals to make training a higher priority.