Let’s face it — work isn’t exactly getting easier. The world’s only gotten more complicated and with the lines between life and work dissolving, employees need support. Since employee development and training affect everything from engagement to overall company success, if you haven’t already invested, you might be thinking about it.

While companies generally have good intentions, there are still five things they often get wrong when it comes to employee development and training. Are you making the same mistakes?

RELATED: The Difference Between Employee Training and Employee Development

1. There is No Employee Development or Training

The first major mistake is that a company simply doesn’t invest in development and training.

Instead, they might prioritize hiring and get caught in a constant search for the next unicorn, or they keep putting unattainable standards on their existing team and repeat a frustrating cycle of disappointment for everyone.

With employees reevaluating their values more than ever before, many aren’t afraid to leave roles that aren’t supporting their wellbeing or career development. Yet some companies simply can’t find a way to justify investing in them.

Wouldn’t it be easier to promote from within instead of constantly looking for new hires that have the exact experience you need? That would save the People team a lot of budget, time, and energy.

Think about how many times employees leave citing poor leadership as one of their main reasons for quitting. What could you have done to keep that top performer that just walked out the door?

2. Employee Development Isn’t Baked into the Company Culture

Starting an employee development program doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated, but it does take more effort than simply launching and “seeing what happens.”

Some companies imagine that just having an employee development program will be a magical cure to what might be a dysfunctional workplace sticking to the status quo. Asking your employees to develop themselves means that the workplace itself has to evolve and develop as well.

This means that there needs to be alignment between the values employees are developing and those in the workplace. For example, if employees are meant to have a growth mindset, that should mean that perceived “failure” can’t be ridiculed but seen as just another learning opportunity.

Another way that employee development needs to be baked into the company culture is actually giving people the time to spend on it.

If both individual contributors and people-managers are underwater with job-related tasks, they won’t have the time to devote to development. They’ll just resent the notion that they’re meant to do it.

Committing time as a company to employee development through regular, dedicated routines is the best way to see results.

3. There is No Strategy

Between learning management systems, leadership development platforms, and seminars, companies sometimes mistake them as a complete solution. In reality, they are only tools to help bring a strategy to life.

If there’s no strategy or if one person can only spend one day a month trying to make it all work, the effects on the workforce will be nonexistent.

Seeing the bigger picture and understanding what employee training and development is intended to accomplish will slowly define a framework. An effective strategy can include goals, stakeholder involvement, internal champions, reinforcement, and measurement.

We all know that just joining a gym isn’t going to get us healthy; we need to focus on our exercise regime, diet, rest, and mindset to make it all work. Make sure you also strategize around your company’s employee training and development programs.

4. Training and Development is Only Reserved for People-Managers

People-managers often earn more than individual contributors and frequently have more visibility in an organization, so it seems natural to double down on investing in them with additional training and development.

What many companies overlook is that by investing in their entire workforce — not just the current people-managers — they are helping to future-proof their organization.

With development and training, individual contributors will be more engaged and eventually transition seamlessly into other roles within the company. Additionally, when everyone receives training and development, a “common language” is formed — potentially toxic patterns can start to shift, and a company’s culture can evolve.

5. Employee Training and Development Only Focuses on Hard Skills

It’s certainly important to help employees gain skills to carry out the functions of their roles via software training or professional development meetings.

However, for true long-term success, it’s time to invest in employee development. By focusing more on the human skills needed to build a people-focused workplace — like communication, collaboration, feedback, and more — you’ll develop leaders who can carry your company forward.

Hard skills training is without a doubt important. But a lot of work — especially in hybrid or remote environments — depends on these human skills.

How often does someone speak to HR because their manager or colleague isn’t proficient with Excel? More issues arise around human-centered capabilities than hard technical skills.

That’s why developing your entire workforce on being more empathetic, mindful, and inclusive will ultimately help make your organization more successful.

Get Leadership Development Right

Getting employee training and development isn’t easy, especially with the realities of resourcing and budgeting. However, if your organization is ready to reap the benefits of developing human-centered leaders, Verb’s platform can help.

With a leadership development platform that is engaging, focused on real behavior change, and easily scalable, you can get it right.


Interested in seeing how Verb makes leadership development simple and effective? Get a short tour of the platform now.

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